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.

seeing the edge of a shape

A calm I first knew 
in the warm sting
of Miami beaches
in the swell of
a wave was

enough to hold
my attention,
a relentless

Could I be free
from chains I was
born in like my
mother and hers

to allow them
to break away
even as they
and clank.

Because this place
can make a person
to feel or see
what is right
in front of them
when the image

by sad memory
or old pain
seems as real
as it gets-
so loud,
we remember
to survive

and we
try to carry with
love, without
being angry
and with all
the fragility
still, so

we will not become
the darkness,
we might become
the very thing
that keeps balance.

Some say
this world is soft to
lessen the blow,
and I feel the
partiality of it

I cannot
in hand hold
this beautiful place
the complicated petals
layer upon layer
like a chrysanthemum
without holding
the dark, as it is
between each
shining edge
a defined line

this petal and that petal.

And instead of running
from everything
like I did at first
like happiness
was a thing
ran into, suddenly
behind a door probably
someone else opened
waiting to be found,

one day, I began to see
in places that
cannot be touched
by perspective
too much like
on a snowy, narrow
pass in the Cascades
where my heart
could still
its panic:
in that moment
a rush of wind
is beautiful
because I live-

I knew to go
looking after
the waves.

And the vast words
held too long
unsure of how
to say them
having not defined
what was indefinable
could split ice
and rock
beneath the places
I kept running

and I would simply
for awhile.

It took some years
to become still enough
that my own shaking
could not unground
my thoughts/

and longer
for the hold
to take place
that is space kept
for knowing things
as they are
as much
as is possible
in any moment
without needing it
and with all
the uncertainty

where I could look
at what had happened,
these chaotic moments
and grief
that could crush
who I believed
myself to be,
to look back instead
with love for the sake
of love and gratitude

that I was myself
all along, especially
in the rainforest
walking, or with hands
digging into the ground
another living thing
having not much choice
in things, like lavender
with its sweetness
for no reason

to give it water
when it would not rain,
part of the learning.

Can you see
where the heart
will survive
by it’s aching,

running to be free
knowing what is
and isn’t worth
staying for,
is as basic as
need of air
if in a place
a person feels
their own thoughts
cannot be trusted

when it is mostly
the thoughts of others
like a sidewalk, broken
but you try to run
and trip.

But finally
to hold still
in the calm of
knowing the dark
as it is, dependent
upon that which grows
and thrives/ maybe
a glimpse
on a mountain pass
quiet enough defines
the edge
of your self

when it is difficult to see,
you have held it.

a cautionary tale – Zelda to F. Scott Fitzgerald from the hospital

Dear Scott, 

Remember how I told you,
“I am really only myself
when I’m somebody else whom I have endowed
with these wonderful qualities from my imagination?”

I’ve been thinking, all those pieces of me
are like pecans in a loaf of bread
baking in the oven and as it bakes,
those pecans get further

divided by space
and fluffy dough stuff/
think that’s why space
with all its soundless,
cold in-between
was something
I didn’t care for at first

but now I look up
and see myself
in the reach between stars
in the places of nothing:
a soundless place
I can speak and
hear it.

I am not silent in a clothes basket,
4 years old and thinking I am hidden-
no, I am un-shelving continents
with my dancing
with my love
having everything to say
and nothing worth saying,
according to myself.

When I went insane, love
I was caught up
being every version of me,
a puppeteer holding the strings
poised but unmoving
uncertain in where
this one goes or
that one came from/

‘they’ see
an effervescent, socialite
dancing on tables, and
I believe I’m showing daddy
I don’t need hard work
to build character,
that my beauty is enough
but, truth is
I was working hard,

I could live off the wistful smiles
on boys faces and be plump
as a jelly bean
stuck to their cheek,
that sweet aching
they don’t really like
but take all the same.

I was many versions of myself
scattered around a sun
and I could feel a warmth
but it was skin deep
and these parts of me searched

one tip-toeing on the event horizon
with a spoon in her mouth
flask of vodka on her hip
and another draped along Europa’s
smooth surface orbiting Jupiter,
her tidally locked, lover

(they say Europa spins faster than its orbit,
because the stuff inside is unbalanced, Scott).

Remember when I jumped in the fountain
in my red swimsuit? The space between stars.
Remember how our feet burned on white sands
bright as whiskey fire when we lived
at the end of everything

and the beginning of anything?
That burning was close as we could get
to finding the sun I speak of.

I was most beautiful
picking all the things I love
about people all the things
I love about living: laughter, dancing,
drinking- all the things that please me

scant almost too much
the way men turn me
like hands turn the pages
of a book

a blank page
opened in the night
and wanting to be
filled, or to know
finally, what do you find
between the stars
and the sun?
and was it enough.

On that beach we lived for awhile
where I should have felt some peace,
my hunger just became greater/

all those versions of me I created
and not one sun upon which to orbit
like the pecans in that loaf,
I am lost now

foot stuck in an air pocket
in that fluffy stuff and
100,000 versions
scattered across the universe-
the paths are all broken

or were they just
never charted.

Before you sent me away
sometimes I would think of baby birds
when hungry, but I wouldn’t know
I was hungry or
I’d think of a zipper over the mouth
of little girls and all the stories
that could be told

watching our daughter reading
under the oak tree
and didn’t know
there was a sadness,

I just kept dancing
hours upon hours
so I could be as
worthy as you were
to be alive.

And, when I said to you,
‘People look like ants in a bottle’
I was just afraid I was the same as them,
these people that looked like strangers
walking in circles and
that I was a stranger, too

all of us like ants
marching in straight lines,
protecting the queen, carrying
bits of leaf back to our anthills, so

I needed to love you first
and live incidentally
and that’s really
the story,

don’t you think?

Now, all these grown men
try to fix what’s gone wrong
with shots that make me shake
with violence,
and my mind is hoarfrost clinging
to bare branches,

my self, a ghostly butterfly
too insubstantial
to rest on the flowers/

I wish
I’d stayed with the girl
in the clothes basket. She
liked to talk about happy elves
in a make-believe place
everyone told her she needed
to leave behind, but she

is real, can follow the path
from her smile to
the stories creating
who she will be
when she is stronger
if she trusts
she is strong

and not a woman
who needs you.

I am the empty cup
with no handle,
the handle is somewhere?
it was your hand on my stomach
as you slept maybe
I am a little girl you told
could only bloom when
you were sleeping
so you could be

F. Scott Fitzgerald
without inconvenience.

No one could have survived us, Scott,
but everyone really did love me,
didn’t they? All of my
stars and the space
between them,
if I could choose again
to chart the paths
with someone by my side:

you, my family, this world
or even my own heart
if I would stop and
feel this hunger.

in caves

grow | beneath
cliffs, a din heard
in the mouth
small sound

roots deep,
stems bracing 
waves that crash
high like a hand
held to the face
with eyes closed
pauses all
of it

some will arrive
by wandering
but it is dark
and so much 
to wander
freely or 
to stay.

We see only
their crowns
as they breach
the unseen,
their beginning
is close, just
a step
into a place
the sun holds
without ever saying,

we could know them:
their bright faces
petals a happy 
yellow and lovely,
framed in what some
would say is joy 
but they are shaking 
their heads slowly 
no, yet again
with each rising
and setting, 

they follow from
the place they
would leave
if only these
deep roots
inch by inch
would pull

Did you know 
stems grow in
the night to
the west so
the head can 
sway to the east
at sunrise. The
stem guides

like stars in the
night, desert sky
are persistent
or pollen on
a honeybee
is small 
easy to miss
but irrefutable/

are guided far 
round cold corners
wide, clementine
eye, happy and 
content/ how
the heart
keeps the mind 
stays the heart
to keep on

and the sound 
in this hidden place,
brushing upon
damp walls: the
wind at the end 
of its journey
over wave
and accidentally
in this hollow
is song like 
woman who
whispers, do not
let me break,
please but
same way,
rounds corners
and rejoins
the sky-

you may slide  
cliffside into 
deep ocean,
not seeing
it is a cliff
where waves
will slam 
the mark of
this place,

and will swim
near a place
dry but dark
and cold
when no one
is around
to see you.

Wild sunflower
grow, long 
leave, I  
would say
this old cave- 
Eye following
the sun even
as it sets with
you, no madness
or sad keeping
of memory but
growing round 
cold walls into
the quiet beauty
one day, of 
knowing nothing
of the previously known.

paper crane prayer

Blooming in dark alleys
these bullets called innocence:
children who discover the world
sting my eyes

these bullets called innocence
pepper on the page
sting my eyes
and they are wet

like my father’s 
when reading, The Little Prince
and they are wet
between the pages

when reading, The Little Prince
and I am riddled with responsibility
between the pages 
a crumpled paper crane, a bookmark 

and I am riddled with responsibility
leaning between pages now a pause
a crumpled paper crane, a bookmark
this tired from saving the world

leaning between pages now a pause
thinking what kind of story is as good as:
this tired from saving the world
and knowing/ the beauty of night jasmine

thinking what kind of story is as good as:
children who discover the world
not knowing the beauty is them,
blooming in dark alleys.