your heart is not home

you didn’t know you could be lovesick
for a place, two years on
and no cobble-walking, tender for streets

even crosswalk signals; so when your mind sits light
on the task in hand, stitching waves
on ocean waves or maybe curled winter winds

you’re startled to see just that turn
of the Holzweg, the shop with wine-glass
windows, outdoor stacks of rugs

was it the sudden sun-glint on your cheek?
all your pieces wrapped in a rush
still swathed in paper, waiting

Returned from Overseas

What do you say to the earnest smiles
the hearty aren’t-you-glad-to-be-backs?
It was no exile from the first day you knew
you didn’t need to pretend to belong

You thought your skin must be stamped with it
a continent of rivers so swelling your breath
that you’d be forgiven the slow answer but
can’t they see you have no word for home?


Inspired by a new call for submissions at Silver Birch Press.

Der Urselbach

The forest path leads slantwise to the mill
through ancient pines thin-clinging to the hill,
and once a village throve here by the stream
that turned the wheel; thus for a time life teemed
with shouts and laughter, work and loves—now still.

Those lives long gone, what purpose did they fill?
Their words are lost, just tracings of their skills
remain. So life will pass for me, a dream
of forest path slow-winding past the mill

where water, just like time, unhindered spills.
Yet past its spilling, hear a distant trill
of bird, or dog-bark. See the sun’s late gleam
as beauty; worry less on how things seem
or what they mean. Another breath: distill
this forest path far-winding past the mill.


A rondeau for Yeah Write’s May poetry slam. 

Dear Oberursel

April, I remember nearly time
for roadside stands, Spargel
Erdbeeren, the apple orchard leafing

bees stirred, wildflower dreaming
beneath the Taunus, bicycle flood
forest brookside trail unfrozen

muddy with dog bark and bird call
cars parked anyhow
along the garden-plot fence

and the Kirche hill windy, chill
blue sky above, red-roofed lanes below—
forsythia, crabapple budding

just like here, daffodils golden
singing, but how different
to feel a thousand years, more

with my fingers and at my feet
and how could that not make me
your devoted and ever-longing


For NaPoWriMo Day 3, a fan-letter poem to the town where we lived while in Germany.

Scarf Daughter

black and white:
I made it
you wear it


I don’t know how to feel only
the hands keep working
you hate the cold
we text about weather
the sun slowly moves now
across an ocean
we keep the same hours


we stood on that castle hill
sheep scattered below
dog racing slant impossible
angles everything else
insignificantly small


from the earth this chain
of lands, hands, shearers
spinners, makers
green grazing
storm sky
wear that distant sun-root
with your attitude


love is not in the saying
and not in the doing
then where? the heart only
a physical thing
blood beating regardless


it’s called infinity
but of course
there is beginning and end
seamed together
with trust it won’t unravel


To find the poet’s place, exit
concrete boulevard, travel mind-
star miles to a green hill overhanging
ocean (or a lake or merely more fields
of sheep and yesterday’s sum of time—
summer mist-cold and sheltered
by silence, silvered neighbors just there
if you need them, trees turned
by storm-wind, insect hum high
brook-chatter, the night-limned runner
far ahead, speeding path
to stone-walled moss-field
guarding or mourning
or both)
hide hollow below castle walls
note-soaring above modern city:
this mix of yes and no
push and pull and aching
the shadow of tomorrow
spilled in water
on upturned palms, pleading

Hildegard’s Way

Marked by

light, shades, colors

death: fiery lightning flowed

and glowed, gift of vision leaping



The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 21 was an erasure poem. I “erased” around these words from a booklet called Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard, which I picked up last weekend while hiking the “Rüdesheimer Hildegardweg.” 

End of the European Adventure

Café umbrellas blooming (sunny days);

the gabled houses leaning eave to eave;

these lofty steeples watching maze-like ways

and cobbled fountain squares—how can I leave?

The castles standing lonely, hillsides strewn

with sheep; the mountains’ shawls of mist and snow;

the rustic doorways framing stars and moon

and shadowed cypress, olive groves below;

medieval city walls and Roman baths

in crumbled ruins; art and music born

and raised sublime; the bird- and brook-sung paths

through ancient forests—oh! for these I’ll mourn,

for now it’s time to turn and time to pack.

(I’ll nurture dreams for joyful journey back.)