filling the book

with what I don’t know about
trees, their loves and losses
intimacies with beetle and worm
higher math. how to curtsey in

and bow out, gracefully
to say no and graciously
yes, these distances between
and how to bridge them. why

a lover fades before your eyes
or changes, or you change. how
to get up every day, new
in the eyes of dog or child

to prevent disappointment.
why words come thick
(fast in your youth, in dreams)
then vanish like the bees

though all the scented flowers
lead like a jeweled trail
to or from your heart—
and all the silent waiting

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Texas history

there we sat, in air-conditioned classroom, crammed
into desks into rows; this tennis coach-teacher insistent
if not passionate about a dusty battle for glory fort, right
there still, in our hometown. living easy and far from that
rough bloody battle. except. we knew movie heroics,
lines in the sand. we knew how to wave a flag,
cheer the team, fear the other. still do

I recently ran across a contest prompt on the theme of San Antonio history, which sent me right back to 7th grade and the Alamo.

this softness

I want to proclaim it
to the man leaning and yapping
at the department store clerk
to the sheath-dressed woman
high heeled, on the phone
choosing bagged lettuce

I want to turn it inside out
spread it like dandelions
or honey or something
in a cooler hue, a green
slow rain, complete release
from striving

Reading Hafiz, “When the Meadows on the Body Turn Gray,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

contemplation 6

to hang up my hang-ups
my why-am-i-heres, not-good-enoughs,
not-determined-enoughs and why
would the world need more dreamers

we talk and you keep asking, but
could you get a job with that? how
many ways to sell my heart, make it more
marketable? i’m hanging up your doubts

alongside mine and hope
i will be less inclined to explode
if i pin on this belief: here is also a way
of being content

Inspired by Hafiz, “A Coat Rack,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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contemplation 4

I am famous in these distractible parts
for half-sentences and thoughts un-done.
Listen: It is only a skipping ahead

past the boredom of a thing
once seen. The bloom is off, color fading
by the time it reaches your lips

Inspired by Hafiz, “Every City Is a Dulcimer,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
“If I ever don’t complete a sentence…”

contemplation 3

and had my soul chosen another body—
say, some minor medieval queen
who could hide volumes of overindulgence

beneath the armor of silky wool gown
or high headdress, who could stand
in stone tower, warm enough, overlooking sun-
swept river strewn pink with bloom

without sneezing at birch pollen—
it could therefore have fresh cherries
to tongue’s and heart’s content

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A fluffy little fantasy inspired by recently discovered allergies plus Hafiz, “Maybe One Like a Water Buffalo,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

“Your soul could have chosen a different kind
of body…”

may pond, 2&3

17 may

which will I remember for you—
grass-grown gravel track away
from constant surge and pass of cars
in bright sunshine; eight ducklings
tumbling in still water beneath the bank;
willow’s huge grateful shade; one tractor
loud-plowing this last possible acre
among apartments, hospital, shopping mall

*

18 may

all ducklings aground
in hidden huddled shelter;
gust-ruffled water

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