We glide through water dark and smooth as green moiré.
Outside our hotel barge cathedral trees outline a river boulevard,
their limbs an arching symmetry of obeisance.
Like fallen clouds, puffs of sheep drift by in distant fields.
Drowsing horses dip and lift their heads, swish their tails
through the coppery shimmer of light on their flanks.
In hazy hills, a chateau’s turrets float in lovely cliché. Below its walls
the land unscrolls, diagrammed by looping rows of green on brown.
The earth-sky union promises bottled legends of rubies and golds.
And thus transported, we succumb to perfect ease
as villages send out their siren calls: how simple life could be –
tending vines, baking bread, raising goats for fragrant cheese!
Measured merely by our meals and languid passage through the locks,
time’s sliding slows our hearts – Odysseans, drunk on bliss
and on the fond belief that we could never tire of this.
from Through a Distant Lens: Travel Poems, Write Wing Publishing, 2014
You stood in the light, your hair wet
with snow, filling my doorway with tweed
We lit the red-scented candles you brought
and long long after dinner, we lay in their glow.
I remember the chafe of your shirt on my skin,
the wordless grayness of dawn.
The candles burned and then
there was only the cold.
from Pillars of Salt, Finishing Line Press, 2015
February, dirty dishwater month
of unreliable math – fewer days
but somehow totaling more hours
of relentless gray – month of discontent
when discount stores throw churlish light
on streets gritted with recycled snow,
while the countryside sighs, longs to heave
its pale bulbs and seeds from sodden graves,
month when hearts arrowed with hope lie
abject as inner city dogs on their icy chains,
the month when we whine and stalk illusion,
wrestle it to the ground to see it bleed.
back seats of hot cars
and hotter nights
at the drive-in smoking
drinking her steady’s
wishing she could like it
the Peace Corps had been her plan, but
grown-ups told her she needed to grow up first –
she could see they thought her too naïve
for reality’s raw edges –
they couldn’t see how
she was already doing woman’s work
in her dirty little corner of the world
from Untamed Ink (now Lindenwood Review)
as I gazed at the moon high and cold
he materialized out of the stars:
tall silhouette of a stranger, lounging
there on my fire escape stairs
from inside I watched
and pretended to be
to him watching me
then because he was wearing no boots
I invited him in for a drink and a smoke
(he tipped his hat, said
no thanks, but go right ahead)
I thought him strong
while he thought me bold, I could tell,
for indulging alone
in time we collected the shimmering quiet
warmed our feet by it; then too soon
he adjusted his hat and was gone
measuring the stars with his stride
while I watched the moon
cold and high
from my room
from Mid Rivers Review
late autumn afternoon
still warm, but rain imminent
November barely held at bay
by bright ochres against a smoky sky
landscape backlit with a muted glow
like candlelight behind a blanket, yet
a palpable clarity sharper than a pruning blade
as October gracefully concedes –
a woman of a certain age
carefully choosing her colors
ever mindful of
the turning page from
from Mid Rivers Review
Late into the Louisiana night, her eyes witched
by white lines and reflectors, in the breathing dark
she thinks perhaps she’ll wake him,
suggest they rest awhile.
Overhead the trees have arched their long unnatural arms;
their limbs drip silvery moss, reach across to others of their kind.
She wonders whether up ahead, just beyond the headlights’ reach,
the lines that mark the roadside’s edge converge, suspects that
on each side there’s a dropping away where nothing begins again,
and she’s dead certain that the great black Escher-serpent
bends itself back –
but there’s no stopping now. Knowing how he feels about delays,
she blinks, refocuses, grips the wheel.