30 days. I undertake
to unmake the world
stitch it up in new patterns
modern, sleek, formal, antique.
You ask for a frock, a cloak
give me time to refine—
but I’m sewing in the dark
one stitch forward, two ripped out—
I have only this shapeless shroud
a cloud of blank(et), pilled-up
full of holes

Having fun with this prompt from Quickly.

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.

For next year’s garden

bring me canna lilies
red and gold, leaves bold
unfurling palm-like, shading
striped, streaked, splotched
great reedy canes
buds ruffled, spiraling
throats blushed
to bring bees, birds, bats
and if we can’t live on
through frost and dark
we’ll make paper, dye, beads
and music from the seeds

Playing with this prompt from Margo Roby: Wordgathering, also inspired by a gift of canna lily rhizomes from my son’s horticulture class.

Strangely Beautiful Spiders

Every morning, one or two—
true, how what distantly frightens
rightens on closer view

in morning dew-light glowing
growing in grace as you
do your own talent-work
I stole the title from Jane Dougherty’s blog post, and though we have had numbers of spiders coming inside lately, this is probably not really about spiders.

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.)

Dear Ed.,

I sit and write; I offer up my heart

though dozen other tasks more pressing loom.

My critic has it easy for her part

(I see her shadow growing in the gloom)—

She’ll say, this stuff won’t stand to any scans

of meter, subject, beauty, or of rhyme.

You fool! You know that e’en your so-called fans

will just suppose you didn’t take the time

to polish, think or work to hone your craft.

She’ll say, my child, you’re nothing but a hack,

this taking up the challenge, simply daft.

(She knows just where my soul is holed and black.)

And so, dear editor, confirm this fear:

Send your love note; I will wait (cringing) here.


Yeah Write’s February poetry slam is all about sonnets. Need I say, I do not feel comfortable with this form?

Number Three

Delivering laundry, I pause at the door

of your room, survey this soft stuff of life:

a week’s worth of clothes on the floor,

dresser candy-littered with hairbands,

loom bracelets, a jewelry stand.

Your shelves full with trip souvenirs,

cute animal books, silk-flower fairies

forlorn in fine dust. On your desk,

a sheet of paper covered in schoolgirl’s best

writing: lyrics of a boy-band song. Against the wall,

the fashion doll, wigless, in her Barbie-house bed;

her friends in a box (farewells left unsaid?).

I glance up at the skylight, festooned with scarves

and framed by December frost. I sigh for all

that is gained and lost in a year’s time.

You haven’t asked for toys this Christmas.


Inspired by Red Wolf Poems’ We Wordle 32. With the words fly, dust, song, puff, toy, frost, soft, fairies, lost, life, door, the poem pretty well wrote itself.