These boxes where we keep old bits of self
old cassettes in their cases, gathering dust
re-taped and hauled from house to house

The wild songs we packed down and forgot
and the instruments unplayed, unstrung
these boxes where we keep old bits of self

Corners crushed, cardboard crumbling—
but we stack and shove and shrug at the piles
re-taped and hauled from house to house

Are they dreams we can’t let go, so
pack them on ship and train and truck
these boxes where we keep old bits of self?

And if we opened them, would we know
how they rot or worm or lose all sense
re-taped and hauled from house to house?

We are not finished. Let’s make some room.
Let’s burn and scatter the ashes of youth
these boxes where we keep old bits of self
re-taped and hauled from house to house

A phrase from Quickly that caught my attention: “boxes where I keep.” 

A Dark and Starshine Night

(for my daughter over the ocean)

It is a time of year to be born. Hearts
creaking open to hear narratives of joy,
mangers setting up in churches
across nations, and we who bring you
into the world are unready, stunned.
In the long nights every swaying step
a learning and we never know
if we’re getting it right. In all lives
we have a stake; but for any ache,
frustration, disappointment, fear
we have no remedy but love.
Nudge those heart-doors a bit further;
let the light spill on frost-hard ground.
Is it now the time and place to leave you
to this shadowed earth, this home
for those in need?

Inspired by:
1. My daughter’s birthday
2. PAD Chapbook Challenge Day 28
3. This article about a baby abandoned in a church nativity scene.

Almost Winter Dreams

not the cat, not
the glasses, only
my heart begging
another whiff of roses
crushed untasted
unsung under

broken night
flight of forgotten words
birds faltering, slow
freighted with fear
here comes their cry
why do I wake
ache for dreams unspoken
broken night

Playing with two prompts today. First part inspired by Quickly, second part inspired by Jane’s circular poetry.


What town is this we travel to?
And what will we eat,
how will we live?
Is it even the same sky?

And what will we eat
If we don’t know the words?
Is it even the same sky
touching trees, endless deep?

If we don’t know the words
how will we sing our dreams
touching trees, endless deep?
Will our neighbors speak us welcome?

How will we sing our dreams
in this language hard and new?
Will our neighbors speak us welcome
and can we understand?

In this language hard and new
how will we live
and can we understand
what town this is we travel to?

Day 25 prompt for PAD Chapbook Challenge is “echo poem.” 

Sorry Words

What good are they, these fractured things?
Can they be strung on gold wire, made into rings?
They are not silk or wool to be grown, spun, dyed
nor stitched into robes—though of course I’ve tried—
they are stretched and torn, so washed and worn
that light shines right through.

They can be stacked like bricks, but hold no weight.
If forged like steel, they’d make an unhinged gate.
They croak, stutter, screech: no blackbird song—
no practical good, though I’ve loved them so long.
So, drop them in a jar. Save them like seed.
In 800 years, may they bloom at your need.

Day 23 prompt for the PAD Chapbook Challenge was an apology poem. Also, I read a story of 800-year-old seeds that grew into squash, and it has been rattling around in my head.


A long year of watching
strife. (Earth, ocean, sun
sky, the very air above
suffers.) So this means—?
Come. Could we love?
Breathe peace song
in every language?

I was feeling pretty blank this morning, so I pulled out my mystical Magnetic Poetry set. Here’s what I found in the words. PAD Chapbook Challenge Day 18 prompt is “an idea poem.”