my skin singing

the warm cold warm cold warm
of the watering wand i hold in my hand
refreshing the roses and lilacs
as the water moves through the orange hose
whose length was coiled on the ground,
the coil half in the shade and half in the sun

the crunch crunch crunching
that draws my attention
during a lull in the nearby highway traffic
and there on the path, four feet from me:
a turtle, mud-wet and walking
across the scatter of fallen maple leaves
stinking of sweat
at the end of the workday
which got up to 86 degrees,
i dunk my body
into the clear and cool cool creek
moving from west to east
my skin singing

sometimes i don’t want to fight

how my co-worker looks simultaneously
like he just got punched and
like he is about to punch
upon hearing that every he has worked,
he has earned two dollars less
than another co-worker

it’s supposed to be about 10 degrees colder
this time of year
the man buying two dianthus says
while wiping the sweat
off his forehead
as today’s temperature climbs
towards its high
of 85
how sometimes i don’t want to fight
like today
when i hopped off the bike
near the bottom of the hill
before it was getting difficult
(tho it already felt like effort)
because i couldn’t conceive
of beginning to give it more
the grey kitty cry
that sounds
not quite desperate
and not quite pleading
but loud then squeaky
and persistent
as if to say
where were you all day
where were you?

in the inky sky

parsley sprigs
plucked and chopped on the cutting board
while two halves of the small garden eggplant
get soft and dark in the heat
of the toaster set to  broil
indigenous activists
showing up to shut the climate summit down
we are the water
we are the air
if they are dying
we are dying
let us be keepers of the earth like we once were
put us back in charge
to set it right

moves something
in me

the kind of cloud/light play in the inky sky
that shows up in scary movies that take place
on friday the 13th or halloween night
only this moon is just a sickle shape
blasting its brightness into patches
of cloud – clear – cloud
moving across it

two owls calling
into the tree shadows and sharp stars:
who cooks for you and
back forth back forth

sometimes overlapping

the clearest illustration of time

it’s your canary bruin says
learning what the sensations are,
what the body is telling me
before it is telling me too much
lou the 8 year old i just met

pointing to every flower in the front patch and calling each one by its name
and sometimes variety
and with such enthusiasm
i can’t help but not be like
let’s look at flower seeds i saved
and you tell me which ones you want
i can’t help but say do you want this spider plant,
this butterfly bush,
this portulaca

me right there in the tire parking lot
writing the single-most largest check i’ve ever written
and the hatchback, sometimes called clyde,
maybe called lula
who surprisingly fits clyde the glitterhorse (bike) inside
coming home with me and even though
there is a squeak and a rattle,
it fits right

why don’t people worship the sun jennifer asks/says
from the sunset spot we’ve found
right where the busy highway
intersects with J
as the great orange pink thing lowers itself
a trackable movement –
the clearest illustration of time
because they prefer to worship patriarchy,
capitalism, violence
i say

and how maybe it feels a little too punk
but also true
the row of sorghum
its seed heads near red
growing in the amish roadside garden
and the feeling – maybe it’s relief
at being able to glimpse what i have always glimpsed
every fall for the past four years –
those talk stalks
standing like corn
their redbrown seedheads
moving in the wind

this haunt of living

something haunting about this first run
post-mollie tibbets news
(a young woman running in small town/rural iowa,
killed and her body dumped in a corn field)
as i run past my own local cornfields
i still feel safe out here
but still, this haunt of living
in a female body

i nod to the corn fields
rippling and wind-whispering
as if to say
this one’s for you, mollie
while practicing the habit

of mapping out escape routes
and wondering about copycats
as another runner jogging along another cornfield on another gravel road
where cars slow,
so much traffic this sunday

sweating in the post-rain sun and wanting to know why it hasn’t yet changed
as mentioned in an article in runner’s world
from teaching women to run safer
(in groups, not at night, not with earphones in)
to teaching men not to assault us

thinking maybe i should write a mock article
featuring something along the lines of:
1. if you see someone running
and minding their own business
who happens to have breasts
and is dressed in athletic clothing
(which allows a body to move,
and also happens to be tight)
do not assault them
with your words
with your car
with your hands
with your horn

do not yell out at them
do not chase or pursue them
do not slap them on the ass or any other place
do not kill her via multiple sharp force injuries
or blunt force injuries
or any force or injury of any sort
2. if you find yourself running after a woman who is running –
someone you’ve never met –
with a weapon in your hand: stop drop and roll:
stop running
drop your weapon
and roll your ass outta there
3. if you see a woman running
and you feel the urge to follow her in your car,
park your car
get out
and walk it off in the opposite direction –
and if you happen to encounter a different woman running on the way
remember, still, that you are walking it off.
4. if a woman running not with a group
while listening to music in her headphones
at dusk
and you are a man or men,
this woman is not an invitation of any kind
except for the invitation
for you (and your crew) to practice
not raping
not assaulting
not murdering
not beating the shit out of
not dumping a body in a cornfield
not threatening the safety of
not using your weight or muscle to overpower

and if this woman doesn’t kick the shit out of you
for living a lifetime
in a body haunted by those who live lifetimes in haunting bodies (you),
for being steeped in endless true stories
that, by the details of them, seem to suggest
women (and other minority genders) are to be owned and killed and manipulated and boundary-crossed and dignity-stripped and rendered into nothing but hot meat,
yes, if this woman has found a channel
for her rage
(such as running
as far and back as her strong, determined body takes her
as if she is allowed to do so
without facing a consequence
of male dominance)
rather than murdering it out on you, beating it out on you, raping it out on you,
take it as an example
of not assaulting,
not raping,
not murdering,
not beating the shit out of,
not dumping a body in a cornfield,
not threatening the safety of,
not using one’s weight/muscle to overpower
in case you are confused
about what an example of those things might look like

5. if you are still confused
remember this basic principle:
you control your own body, not others’

6. if you are still confused
think of it this way:
women are human, just like you
they are not property,
they are not objects,
they are not your toy or thing to manipulate

7. if you are still confused,
this might help:
draw an imaginary box around you
now draw an imaginary box around any woman
if you get so close to a woman that your imaginary boxes are touching, step back
if you reach through the line of your imaginary box and through the line of a woman’s imaginary box, draw your arm or hand back into your own box
often, when a woman says NO, she is reminding you that she has the right to be in her box without anyone else stepping, reaching, murdering through or into that box

8. if the confusion persists,
see if there are any available spots in a local self-offense* class near you
(*based on the idea of redirecting the conversation from
“here’s how women and other minority genders can run safer to:
here’s how men can stop assaulting women and trans people”)

9. if you still don’t understand,
the best thing might be
to transition out of this world
and arrange to be reincarnated
as a woman or trans person
in your next life –
that should solve any confusion or misunderstanding you might be having


to hold on, to wait

the rust/gold petals of the sunflower
in the bouquet i brought the neighbors
highlighted by the morning light
falling in through the window in their trailer
as seen from the window in this trailer

the great cloud parade
that jennifer and i watch
from a blanket laid out in front of the trailer
(on the not-quite-a-lawn, but perhaps a patch of lawn)
how they move quick across the blue blue sky
while the low bright sun makes them almost-rainbow
and how the vapor swirls and shifts –
clouds tearing and re-forming and tumbling
over themselves
the sweet and brown
ground cherry syrup still warm
just decanted from stove top pot to mason jar
which we spoon into
and spill over waffles

the patch of porch sun in which i arrange myself
and the small cutting board and knife,
and the dehydrator trays and
and the bowl of sungold select
cherry tomatoes grown from kim’s saved seeds
the hand knitted potholders

we fold and arrange into tirangular hats
and wear and laugh
and how jennifer says that this goes under the category of
things grown adults without a TV do
calling out to the golding/orangeing/pinking sun to hold on, to wait
as we pedal highway J curving
lined by cornfields
so that we might catch it
sliding down into the horizon
from the lookout spot destination
where J intersects with 27/82

this is worship

the loud kitchen music we walk through
(entering in the back door)
to get to the counter to order
gluten free hot dogs and vegetarian burgers
where quieter music plays
this is worship i think
this is sacred about the sunset
that we pause at the crest of the great incline
on the bike ride home from town to watch
(orangepink orb dipping into horizon and then
in a blink, gone)