suppose a life of acquiescence
makes its own chemical reaction
burning sulfur, acid,
oxidizing iron, the heart
that is not a stone
also subject to erosion

to want to obey
when the teacher says be yourself
who is that? a vessel
with fired-on satin-smooth glaze
or one of common clay that must chip and leak
all kinds of noise and emotion?

building the rest of the world

ripples, or a Zen rock garden
the atom at the center

because we began
in the same star, light-

years ago, falling
(sometimes fall still)

but these rooms of reality
small (rocks, again)

catch us, safe
when we want to float free

Inspired by passages from Alan Lightman’s book Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, pp. 53 and 55.


watching the neighbors

dreaming crabapple, pomegranate-bright
paired cardinals, redbud, tulips bobbing
in tattered sunlight—I see people—
outside!—discussing the trim of a tree


how nothing in pendant birch-pods
questing tendril peas nor even flight of bees
suggests an asteroid skimming past
only five times farther than the moon


…but it happened…asteroid info here.


life is the network

it began with the rabbit
or with cutting down the shrub
roots bound in clay earthworms somehow
nourishing leafbud wet-scent soil
or with the motionless toad or
single butterfly plum-blossom hunting

with seedling kale chewed to the nub!
hyacinths’ sloped shoulders concentrating
rain-perfume or it began with
dog quivering the sudden storm
muscles smooth-bunched mud-grass torn
with instinct the terror scream

and now the rabbit
smaller than my two palms together
unforgiven for greengarden theft yet how
our hearts all race to collision
fruitless attempts to separate
life-sharp soft spring air


Title inspired by this article from NPR.


in the spirit of exploration

1. infinity has an edge
like this ring, now
pinged lunar surface
to be worn smooth again

2. every day you go out, come back
changed, convinced of nothing
left to explore in the messy joins
of the universe

3. if anything proved the vision
within bounds
don’t say it was
just a mistake

At the library this morning, I picked up a new book called Explorers’ Sketchbooks, by Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert. The introduction mentioned both the New Horizons photos of Pluto and Scott in the Antarctic…


Ordinary Things

Just another mother waiting
in the orthodontist’s waiting
room reading a book about time
travel wondering should I go
forward or back? What to do
again and again or skip right over
and what if I cleared the cache
relying on insipid chatter?
(how I remember
standing just there
and saying just that
some proof if you want


Nothing too deep today–though I am reading James Gleick’s Time Travel: A History.

Star Daughter

How the myth begins
as always, with this need to explain
the emptiness, the ache
these voices lost in the void

As always, with this need to explain
beginning, middle, end
these voices lost in the void
blossom sun-bright, then falling

Beginning, middle, end
the path labyrinthine in darkness
(blossom sun-bright, then falling)
glass-chime worlds grinding

The path labyrinthine in darkness
though the cave echoes with stardust
glass-chime worlds grinding
the spheres’ music to silence

Though the cave echoes with stardust
with emptiness and ache
the spheres’ music is silent:
how the myth begins

We want to be left alone

studying the starlight—
in our search for habitable worlds
we don’t yet know the mass
or what they’re made of.

In our search for habitable worlds,
compelling clouds may be
what they’re made of;
or a small, dark circle on reddish ball.

Compelling clouds may be
practically in our backyard
with a small, dark circle on reddish ball
(the dimming sun).

Practically in our backyard,
fixed in the sky,
the dimming sun
shows a transiting planet.

Fixed on the sky,
we don’t yet know: this mass
shows a transiting planet
studying our starlight.


A pantoum of found phrases from this article on the discovery of “3 strange worlds” and this article about today’s transit of Mercury. Yeah Write’s weekly prompt is “We want to be left alone.”