the big group of big birds,
(tails the color of layered truffles, necks like a black and white knit scarf,
red eye-masked and curvy necked)
milling about in green acres road as i drive off
(evil car machine i referred to my vehicle the other day
but its true name is gray poupon)
into the gray-morninged day
towards a circle of students in a white room with a wood floor
planning for a week in the woods
how they skitter to scatter (the wild turkeys, not the students)
even though i drive smooth and slow
so as not to startle

from stalk to stalk

a picture from minneapolis
of 3 inches of snow on a backporch railing
while here, we still have green
for a cat to snack on
for my spirit to feast on
as a backdrop for the nuthatches, the chickadees, the juncos
zipping and zapping from stalk to stalk,
seed to seed, feeder to feeder
in preparation

in the way one would slit the throat of a deer

content warning: physical violence in a dream

in the dream
someone (a man) almost offs me
but doesn’t
(in waking life, i can’t recall what exactly it was i had survived at that point)
so there i was, glistening yellow organs oozing out of my neck
like this particular smashed frog on the road i have passed many times recently
another man, aware of the situation
fixes to finish me off,
not out of violence or anger,
but in the same way one would slit the throat of a deer
still alive but in terrible shape
that they had just hit on the highway
he instructs me to zip my hoodie zipper up all the way
(this zipper zips the hood fully closed)
and hold my arms up for some reason
and he goes at my throat with a sword
(don’t ask me how i can see this
if i’m zipped up into my hoodie –
i guess this was one of those dreams where i’m looking down on me
like an omniscient god)
thunk, thunk, thunk
and i stand there waiting how i wait for any medical procedure:
nearly holding my breath and staring off into a non-point in space
until it is over
and the man puts the sword down and admits
that it’s not sharp enough/isn’t going to work
and i realize i need to go pee
so i stand up to walk to the bathroom
and immediately collapse to the floor,
blood drooling out my nose and mouth
the men laughing at me
but somehow i manage to make my way to the bathroom
where i sit on the edge of the tub and pee
because for whatever reason there is no toilet available
and only then, while i’m perched on the edge of the tub
does my mind say wait! no! i’m going to fight for this –
i’m going to make it – i’m going to try to live!
and i see someone else talking or texting
on their blackberry – keys illuminated in the dark
and i tell them to call 911
and i wake
to an exacerbation of my everyday neck/shoulder pain
a searing alongside the back/side
from ear to shoulder
this time with a sore ear tingling back to life
(was probably sleeping on it folded over)
this very real neck pain, the thing that probably informed the dream,
and the dream, the thing that probably startled/disturbed me to waking up

sucking the marrow

suck out the marrow of life i said last night
when weighing whether or not to go walk under
the year’s most amazing moon
in the 60something degree air (mild after the nights in the 30s and 40s)
so we put our boots on
and leash up the cat
and walk under the gold orange glow,
and pantomimescrub that moon magic
into our cheeks, our arms, our hands

sunset and a small box of grief

the great orange peach orb
bigger than a barn, a field, a water tower
hovering over horizon
while something softly breaks open in me –
a small box of grief i tucked onto a forgotten shelf
in a never-opened closet
a stirring of sadness
about the half-year it’s been (life in a pandemic)
or about the almost-four-years it’s been
(life in another pandemic, the name of the disease:
or about the length of my own lifetime
in which the number of languages
of animals
of bodies of water
that have died out
are too many to keep count of

like firework watchers

leaning against the wall as we speak
we are not holding it up
but we do the work of such an awkward task
trying to talk about gender

the bacio gelato (chocolate with hazelnuts)
slowly melting in a little cup in my hand
as i sidewalk slowly in the afternoon
the crunch of leaves under my boot-clad feet
how the bight-so-bright-brightest red maple leaf
on my way makes me ooooh and ahhh
like firework watchers laid back on summer blankets
laid over the green green grasses of july

the stars are back

one of those days when, no matter which direction you bike,
it’s against the wind
i say about the bike ride into town
which also involved a lot of traffic
which meant a lot of concentration

the stars are back i say
about teh recent skies whose sun and stars have been obsucred
by the hazes drifting 1,000+ miles from the west coast fires to here

wildfires there/here

the orange square of light
that the not-setting sun leaves
through the bathroom window
on the shower wall
this is what fires in the west
looks like in the midwest
we may not be breathing smoke
but still, the spirits of trees i whose bark i’ve pressed my own face to,
spirits of animals whose paths i have surely crossed
swirling in our rural wisconsin air