of a coyotewolf

in the dream:
a glimpse of a coyotewolf
rounding a corner through the bushes

a building on the farm, one room
but with an upstairs
that i forgot was there and members
from a different community taking it
over for a meeting/retreat

an offer of deviled eggs from
a pile in the bowl before they’re taken
to the meeting

some train ticket debacle
(two mornings in a row
not up early enough and
not having packed my bags)
and then i’m pointing out the wild
statice explaining to whoever it is
with me: that flower that grows
already dried
onion slices thin and jittering
on the oiled surface of a teflon pan
several edges brown
it’s the time of no time
michaeal says in between
laundry orientations and
christmas day (which is what he calls
violetta’s computer arriving in the mail)
nobody loves us regina jokes
about the empty mailbox
gopher or prairie dog he says
about my description of the skull
i found in the back field
three months here he says
to regina and violetta and i
you leave changed/a different person
(‘thank goodness’ i joke)
some people change the way
they eat while they’re here
some people change what they’re making
some people reroute the course
they thought they’d be returning to
several thunder rumbles
in the darkening sky though they sound
like they come from
the mountain (north) itself
heavy and resonant




from the water world:

A Kurdish woman runs away from a water cannon near the Syrian border after Turkish authorities temporarily closed the border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province. – voice of america, day in photos


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in the neighborhood






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this is the thriving

woman with red-framed glasses
sorting through the summer squash
(green) while i select medium-sized
gold-skinned potatoes
(some rough, some smooth)
a 2-dollar cookie
(chocolate chips, sesame seeds, sunflowers, honey)
from the farmhouse cafe stand
wrapped in white paper
i’m called poet here
as if i actually am one
(the affirmation
grad school never gave me)
today is the farmers market i say
i was there early, both delighted
and balking at the concept of paying
for vegetables that i had nothing to do
with growing
sweat sheen on calves
where one was crossed over the other
in backyard plastic chair high mountain
desert sun perch
terry tempest williams’s
refuge (which i like and don’t like
but am determined to finish)
in my hands
google ‘siberian elm’ nancy raeburn’s
words in the casita #3 journal
they are all around you
4:44 pm sound:
wind whooshing through cottonwoods
(leaves and branches) that line the lane
dogs barking to the east
windchimes chiming from front porch post
a sneeze through an open window
and the high-pitch motor hum-whine
of a neighbor firming up the
advanced-air mattress bed
are you ok!? mara asks me (sounding severely concerned)
after i say how i needed to heal from grad school
which makes me double over and slap my thigh
with laughter and say yes, yes i am ok
this is the healing after the healing
this is the thriving
when she links trauma and grad school
i know i’m in the right conversation
in terms of conceptualism, she says,
i think through doing and making, not the other way around
it took years (after grad school) to be ok with/
allow myself that
where’s your first home i ask
the woman sitting next to me in the
taos community auditorium
after she tells me her second home
is in taos
northern new mexico’s
cultural trifecta
as named in the casita #3 journal
and reinforced in the documentary on the land:
pueblo indians, hispanos and anglos
(names used and claimed
by all three groups)
i listen/read/watch/learn
at the intro to the documentary
multiple speakers of various racial/ethnic backgrounds
take a moment to
honor the earth and
recognize the spirits of our ancestors –
understanding that they are never that far away
wherein the former taos police chief
names compassion as the most important thing
he learned from his father
it only takes five generations
of not speaking the language
to kill the culture says jonathan
warm day coming

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the names of things growing

the way the water brings us together:
violetta and i at the well spigot
with our plastic pitchers
while the water main in town
is restored to an unbroken condition
it’s interesting that in your first week there
(with the intent to write about water)
that that’s happening she says
(‘that’ being the trickle out of our pipes
last night and an even smaller trickle this morning
which eventually became air)
leon joseph littlebird he says my name
when i ask what name he/his group performs under
red and deep green beads around his
wrist and neck
he has a name for the spiral (which i forget)
says how it’s a navajo symbol for
mother earth’s navel
a reminder of the place we all come from
do you know what kind of trees
these are i ask i need to know the names
of the things growing around me
elm, he points out the small leaves
cottonwood, he points out the bare tops
faded honeybee buzzing around
my limbs, my face – lands
on my hat, my skirt, the inside of my bare elbow
where it walks in circles, perhaps attempting
to draw pollen from my skin
a word for what happens when all the
mountains come into view up against
the sky/clouds doing their desert/sunset thing
not quite a punch nor a ripping
but something like the big mountain itself
taking up residence inside my ribcage
small skull bleach white
found (looked down) in a field of
clover-like brush
cupped in palm
two long front teeth that
remind me of a beaver’s
but i’m guessing is prairie dog
large holes for eyes and
the thin fine squiggle
where the bone grew together
darien’s approach to chai recipe
(which employs the word vessel)
on the tiled counter
while the simmering spices
(cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, clove)
infuse the air
steam rising from
red mug on coffee table
living room light low
desk cleared
kitchen cleaned
hildegard von bingen’s sounds
(via the anonymous four)
lifting up and out into the room
this skin carrying sun-soaked heat
into the cool edge of night


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where’d you get your stars

5:38am wakeup
to a sky pricked by stars so silver
i cannot go back to sleep

in the dream
i held the buck’s head in my palm
while he licked foodsnack from the fingers of my other hand
the rest of the pack off in the field
and when the hunter comes near
i call out stay away
which he disobeys and
i tell the buck to go
give him a full body shove and he ambles
not understanding/registering the
endangerment of his situation
i shove and shout and tug his tail
and hit the ground
cover my ears
as the hunter fires
behind me

i wake thinking
of the apprentice of bones
steaming miso sips from a mug in back yard
attempting to identify what looks
like a form of clover covering the ground
sun on arms
visor casting shade on my face
as the dry warm wind sweeps through morning
how perfect it is
that casita #3 dangles windchimes
from its front awning
all of which reminds me of kate
in whose honor i hang
the glass-etched prism
in east facing window

you’ve been a great room-mate
susan esther says
with quotes around room-mate
since we are in a library and not a house
but we’ve shared this space for
an hour and a half
her flipping through the newspaper
me plodding through email catchup
her occasionally asking what time it is
and straining to hear my answer
magnificent sun-wind combo
rippling plum-colored skirt and
skiffing across skin
getting to know this town
by tromping my booted feet
all over it
where’d you get your stars
asks the man who i just hello’ed and who hello’ed back
as he’s taking out the trash asks
i don’t remember twin beds
being so small regina says
stirring honey into her berry tea
we concur that the mfa programs
were good/useful/productive
and destroyed something

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that’s north

not much in the way of sidewalks i
told the shuttle driver on our ride in yesterday
and today, gravel underfoot, my by-foot route confirms
is there a name for this forgetfulness
the not-thinking (forwardmoving automatic)
followed by the glance up
followed by the struckness
of seeing mountains
rising up and around
choking through the exhaust
of the main (only) strip
when i discover kit carson park
knowing i will return here
and the cemetery further up the road
warm good mornings
on the sometimes nonexistent sidewalk
and every other kindness
of strangers seeming to
extend an arm open before them
as a way of saying
you are on your way
(the desert mountain magic
has already begun)
new-to-me bird perched
on telephone wire
long coal-black tail
bright white belly
(some white in the wings when they unfold)
i walk slow close to its perch
to look as much as i can before
the creatures hop-swoops down
(update: black billed magpie)
i love your name i say to violetta
as i shake her hand
in the office where she’s
trying to recover her laptop
left in the warsaw airport
sad dog
on the shortest chain
near the end of the driveway
looks/sniffs but doesn’t even bother
to bark while i walk past
pause to pluck
desert asters
thinnest petals colored lavender
i realized it’s not that i came back (to taos) to live
michael says over a cup of green tea
sitting in front of the picture window
in helene’s house
i came back to die
(as in: a place for the body/soul to rest)
i was trying to tell which directions
the mountains are in
(to set my internal compass) i say
but i realized they’re all around me
they’re embracing you he says
the big mountain – that’s north
i’m so lucky i say
nibbling on a 6-sided tortilla chip
layered with aryuvedic spread
that is a burst of a million flavors
(and i swear i taste orange peel and
ginger in there)
to be here
warm bowl of dinner
(rice and sauteed veggies with
tahini lemon sauce)
cupped in my hand i imagine
circling around the butcher block
can see faces in the golding light

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the change swarming

cars of all colors and conditions
piled three high
a wall that bends around a corner
syracuse, colorado
moving into the light/light moving into the day
revealing a shift
cornfields giving way to
something that looks/feels
scrubby desert brush
a few stray tumbleweeds
sage and straw-gold colors
locusty trees
and cows that have more of a
beef than dairy sense about them
a two mile dam
and the john martin reservoir
that stretches out behind it
conductor calls our attention
out the right hand side of the train
says the reservoir is very low
partially due to the kansas vs. colorado
water rights dispute that kansas won
demure sue calls me
says her son runs 13 miles as a warm up some days
says it might behoove you to
appeal to a higher power
(regardless of what or who that is to you)
at this juncture
how wonderful, how amazing she says
about the journey/residency
it’s going to change the course of your life
it may not be choice a or b
it may be c, d or e she says
or a mix of all i reply
what about not going back she says
you have no return ticket
last nights falafel wrap half
for this mornings breakfast
and just like the kirksville pizza
it tastes better the next day
sue, whose sister is
dying of cancer one seat over from me
and margaret whose sister is the
full-time caretaker of a bed-ridden husband
just down the aisle
i think of the grief
this train carries
the change
swarming all our lives
sandia mountains
(thought to be named for the watermelon
because of their reddish color at sunset
coupled with a thin zone of green conifers
[the 'rind'] near the top)
growing along much of the route:
jerusalem artichoke
velvet leaf
desert asters
woman in the seat behind me calls out
when she sees them
you’ve got good eyes i say
mother nature at its best she says
i don’t remember her name
but i think it involved an H
we trade places we’ve been and
places we are headed
she knows sorghum because
her dad is kenyan
see you later i say
boarding the shuttle
something in her like
a shared language
hand-painted sign for
the veteran’s farmers project
to my right as the shuttle
pulls out of the train station
not bad, albuquerque, not bad
paused in the sage-brush flats
we drop off roy, fellow shuttle passenger
whose wife is a kick-ass nurse
and who he himself
worked with the houston port authority
mostly oil and steel he says
when i ask what the bulk of materials is
that came through the port
roy who bought my coconut water
at the gas-stop (buffalo thunder)
how i want to stay there for a while
in that gravel driveway
sucking up the sage smell
and taking in the purpling sunset view

there is no zoning here
that’s why you have a mcdonald’s
in the middle of the historic district
says the shuttle driver who only
identifies himself as mr. happy
as we approach town
on highway 68, the low road

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