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continuous balm (101)

“but little thought”

—W. Wordsworth

today as I drive past sorghum fields

on my way to work I recall

a train in the Netherlands

decades ago moving through tulip fields

long strides of red and yellow

that stepped toward the horizon

(December 8, 2020)

how much self-denigration must occur (96)

if i gnaw out my fragile heart

canines slavering through flesh

the way wolves trapped

will desperately gnaw off 

a leg to escape the hunter

will I be free with only a blood 

limped trace dropped like roses

through freshly fallen snow

to mark my passage like stale crumbs

scattered across the frozen forest floor

a vaguely cogent sentence fragment

to parse a meaning into salvation

will I see in time the breach

open wide enough to squeeze

rock against chest between

tightly held breaths balanced

on a desperate fear that I have

lost the best bits of myself

(December 1, 2020)

an assumed direction (93)

this labyrinth has no end

no center in which to be eaten

no twine to trace an origin


just a blind turn toward hope

a quick glance back toward despair


one cannot be lost without direction

yet our angled descent is certain


I can see the sun before it sets

listen to the fuss of squirrel and jay

or be consumed in worry’s fire


there is no clear path to happiness

we are always here

(November 5, 2020) 

No Answers (85)

As the old world swirls

in laconic siroccos of doubt

flinging sand adroitly

into a warm Mediterranean air

how do I stand still with silence

aware only of this moment’s breath

how do i ignore the nattering pedants

who brandish their wet cliches

like limp wands twined from roses

as petulant proof of their originality

how do i negotiate the spaces

i must traverse without

slagging off chunks of flesh

until the sinews abandon my bones

(October 26, 2020) 

the rime grows thick (83)

you walk home

it’s late 

the snow falls

as thick as your dreams

when suddenly you think

you’re lost and the wood

nearby is strangely

far from home


the bright lights flash

patterns on the snow

like christmas lights

in the village square


the sheriff interrupts you

to say no that yes it is

a normal amount of blood

for a woman that size


you laugh at the absurdity

of dying so close to your home

what was the point of leaving

when you had nowhere to go

(October 12, 2020)