Smile like a torn sail, 
bravado can be a
current before ever

just brave,

children hesitate or
tremble, my

own hands, too.

A father’s photograph
on the shelf,
my mother’s plane
she made her symbol, too

though he was first the pilot-

I can hold
without a sound.

I listen to music
when I’m afraid,
place headphones over
what I held onto

of things known before
I became this version
of me, to calm

the old panic
that doesn’t come
too often anymore.

It’s not that I don’t
know how bad it could be,
only that the fear

doesn’t matter, only
joy at the end,
love and

what remains of
your self that fear
would try to


The fragile cord
hand over hand

that holds me to grief

I say, ‘quiet’
as it tries to

same way the ocean
waves lull into peace
or acceptance, I
tap out


And have so little tolerance
for any pretense,
though I care

a person hurts
maybe because pretense
and lies take energy.

Same old gravity
I’ve always been,
even when John left

because the world was too
hard for him, or my friend
dragged me down the stairs
that night after slipping

something in my drink,
and much later

pounding my feet against
a bathroom door to
keep it closed,

same old gravity
of knowing

what shouldn’t be known,

and I am lighter
than seems right
because of it.

I remember how my mom
was beautiful, but I knew
her haunted words-

she gave me a script
I’ve spent half a lifetime


So let the night be night

slow down and watch
the hummingbirds’
quick hover

their lovely,
brief life,

the dog’s paw casually
upon my knee as
she sleeps means

I am her safety, now,
how I needed for so long;

I want to not be the one
left behind, but I really
think it’s just the way

of life,

and when I ran before,
I became abstract/

blurred around the
edges until

I could stop to build
what was needed of myself,

I think it was necessary,
because where I started
wanted to stay an
endless night

and I had so little
to stand on.

Hand that touches petals that
could be violent, hand
that holds instead-

my love will never involve
death of self for me
to stay,


I hold the truths that
seemed more complicated
than they are

where I had to keep
some truths separate
from others like,

a person can have goodness
and be terrible, and
I may love them
though they’re too hurt
to not hurt others:

if looking hard enough
even the people we call evil
or just say, have done
terrible things

have good qualities,

but it doesn’t mean
they are redeemable,

it doesn’t mean you
should not protect
your self as if

you were told
your life meant less
than their own

from too young an age
to know the truth
without pain,

we are encouraged to forgive
before we understand what it means
from people who don't know forgiveness

and we skip over the fact
that love of self comes first,
acknowledging pain comes first.

After mom is gone, I can love
the best parts of her
and the best of

all she gave me

and hold her truth
for her, hold her leaving
before she left even
and unanswerable
her need to run far
and run often

to persist/ I
hold her

I think I’m a little proud
of my softness after
it all, of my anger

that bakes beneath
and makes me
quietly relentless
in things

and glad to have been
the daughter of a
philosopher of sorts

and lucky,
I had him, too
along with the quickness
she gave me, and her
heart like a butterfly,

never needing
any one thing

so I could become all the ways
needed to survive, or at least
to know what I needed to do
before I could know them
reading all the words

that came before me

like what the Stoics strived for
and the very old living in
the cave of a mountain

but my own way
and most definitely not,

I could never just trust
what someone said

and asked endless
questions, which
I guess is what happens

when the reality you grow in
is unreliable, and you learn
to trust out of loyalty alone
is dangerous.

The old thoughts
like jagged rocks
tumbling year
over year


as much as a tumbling
stone can become
until ready to sit

at the water’s edge to
let the waves do
the rest

is more than enough-
to see then a torn sail
like the possibility it is,

incredibly beautiful

and questions ever simpler
than they could be before,
like is a boat on the ocean
ever truly lost.

tread the line

a prayer,

this fog before
the dawn, crunchy
leaves so light
on the old elm

ignites wildfire
in the blue hour

dry | scattered
who couldn't
let go

and awakened
full but still thirsty
before the sun

could release
the moon's edge.

Like a river

effortlessly, truth
takes many turns

and hand-over-hand in
darkness, thoughts:
soot and smoke
on the water,

pray a choice
of stillness

And of freedom, a
life not owned
by shadow,

instead like all things
shocked must do

as all living is shocked

until nothing of old
leaves any ember
that may spark/

even hope
and the cruelty
or the way

can be a rebellion

when loved have gone-
pray any fire,
a peacemaker

if the rebellion
must go on.

And for the wailing cat
hungry mouth
and mangy

too messy
to grow love
or to have a
warm hand

upon it,
pray, too;

for daisy chains,
crowns on would-be
princesses and princes,
for baby frogs in pencil
cases, and lizards
clamped on

the children's play
is survival

and to smile at the abyss

at its ferocity, then
because we are fierce,
the same.

But, pray especially
for paper dolls

torn with rough edges,

the square pegs
in round holes

that they know
who they are
and are curious

of what they are not-

a rain held as it grows
having been brave
to accept their

and that of others/
knowing need.

Pray for the thirst
the blue hour

every line of every
hill, clear as the
moon’s edge

when the sun so close
will soon arrive
or soon go,

a time to shake free.


like this-
barely shadows
thin clouds across
the sun

in a palm

and a brew
of lightning on
night sky
or love in sudden
tense regard,
bright and bitter

in the doorway
waiting to go
or leave

is how I remember.

Ghost in the door,
palm with its
a mouth
too tight-

all a storm
dark and a little
in its making
along the Atlantic.

And this,
the reason
to go when I ran,
yellow could be
like dahlias
and black just
professional attire/

not reminders
to re-mind again
that the cracked
walk, the fractured
frown following –
a memory of

of grief and

now held
in the bones that
must be un-done
and how tiring.

Could sing
unkempt and
broken vowels
like the hair that
wasn’t combed and
spoke instead
that the heart
is red, and bloody
but so quietly

and of fiery dreams
set ablaze
to burn hotter
than the very thing
that could have
taken them away
if not taken in a hand/
the broken relics
to find.

In the night
a coyote runs
along a river
telling the pack
how he runs

and I run with him
for awhile

every belief
left unchallenged
the held heart
shrieking to
be free,

to love.

Gray cloud,
same old, same
old ghost in
the palm,
in the fading lines
of barely there

a bright moon,
maybe a white moth
on the tufted ear
of an owl.