gazing towards

once again, gray kitty
meowling at us from his secret perch
up on the hill
while making his descent
towards us until he is purring
under our hands
bloodshed blurs the mind
amy says
at the head of the meeting table
having just come from killing chickens
to talking about covid policies and
meeting procedures

liana on the phone line
while i shimmer the glitter of mine
by tipping the phone up and down and up again
in the light
while we discuss legacies and
communities and
all the healing in the world
and cynthia tells me
that she can help
redirect my gaze
towards the future

and the roots

the hickory nuts (gathered and cracked by local amish folks)
that i toss into the shallow squirrel grave
in the back yard
under the maple because the squirrels love that maple
and the small handful of flowers (strawflowers and zinnias and
one that looks like rudbekia)
and the splash of water i offer too
to the disturbed earth
and to the squirrel spirit
shuttling through the ether

and the roots i slice through
to dig deeper

and the small piles of dark earth
on either side of the not-deep-enough hole

and the stiff furred body
i pick up with my hand
before lowering into the fresh dug dwelling
lisi the cat batting around the cherry tomatoes
that he picks up out of the colander
on the kitchen floor

theory of lunch

a’s theory of lunch jacob says
as we are all standing up and
shaking ourselves off and
finding/being/moving around in our bodies again
after a four-hour long meeting
with a candle in the middle
the two plates of cookies in the center of the circle
(one peanut butter and vegan, one chocolate chip)
that elena made and brought and that eventually
end up saving most of us
from the rumbling grumblings of
not having yet eaten lunch or a snack
no matter how messy
one success is hearing
this is the safest space that someone has experienced
while hashing out/addressing these topics
the sweep shapes i make
back and forth and back and forth across the sky studio floor
while moving the wide broom
over and over again
before collecting the dustdirtpile in the pan
the screech squeal of my new bike brakes
in the rain
and how good it feels, zipped up in rainpants and coat,
when that wet stuff of life lands
on my nose
my cheeks
my hands

the relief, the ease, the slow letting go
the uncrumpling, the outbreath
of landing at home after
24 hours of crisis (meetups and meetings and texts and phone calls
and another meeting and voicemails, including one all in a british accent
to which i responded in a british accent)

one of the most important things i’ve written in my life
i say of my eulogy for grandma siedlewski
(which i say in reference
to crafting the poem for stan
which i finish tonight
well past midnight)

almost glowing

in the dream, we goodbye kissed
but then i went off to do something
and when i returned, you had left –
easy for you to do while i was out –
but left as in gone as in
your life has better people in it doing greater things
and here i am just cleaning my room
the human voice song sounds
filling the lightspilled second story room
and for the last one
we sortof march
and get goofy
and what a great way
to meet a day

the cool sweat around my neck
where the kerchief is
after falling asleep on a blanket in the sun
in the backyard and waking up
a little while later
the umbra sky (copper on the  bottom
gradienting to cool blue on top)
punctuated with the rosegold glow
of a planet
against the dusk-dusted backdrop

the unexpected sweetpea flowers
bright pink
sprinkled and blooming
along the parking lot edge
where parking lot meets edge meets trail
that perimeters the human-made lake
that, tonight, some fisher folks float on
in their canoe/rowboat (can’t tell from this distance)
plus the goldenest goldenrod in this light
almost glowing


illuminating the small town unevennesses

this is gonna be really bad
juniper says about the hurricane
headed new orleans’s way
that she’s reading about on her phone
while the night crickets here in wisconsin chirp
and the last bubbles of her cherry fizzy water fizzle
in the maroon aluminum can

i point back and forth to my mom and dad
when my dad asks how old stan is
(stan whose liver and lungs and kidneys
aren’t functioning as well as they need to be,
stan who was airlifted to kansas city
to get the medical attention he needs,
stan who loves earthing
(his bare feet on the ground)
just as much as i do)

the larry light
(the flashlight with all the various features that larry gave juniper and i)
in my mom’s hand
illuminating the small town unevennesses
of the sidewalks
while we make our way
back from the cafe
through the park
and down the neighborhood streets
some of which are draped
in the sweet darkness of summer no-moon-yet night
the songs i send gigi’s way
via voice text
so that she can play them for herself
and for stan
and even though the recording is low grade
and i am far away
it still feels good to send the lilts and words
their way
i wish that i could show you
i wish that i could show you
whenever you are lonely or walking in the dark
i wish that i could show you
i wish that i could show you
the astonishing light of your being


lay back in the arms of love
lay back in the arms of love
lay back in the arms
you are safe from harm
lay back in the arms of love

puff stuff

the two vegan GF marshmallows from the blue bag
that i puff stuff into my mouth
before biking off to the faculty meeting
which i guess is some kind of lunch

the night cool air floating in open windows
underneath the cricket grasshopper katydid chorus
also floating in

the campfire smell
rising off of the bottom of the pot
while i heat up the once-campfire-cooked veggies
on the back burner of the stove
zipped up coat swishing
and cotton balloon pants ballooning
except for where they tuck into my boots
as i walk to dump and aerate the compost
it’s not that it’s cold out – quite the opposite actually –
it’s just that the mosquitos are ruthless

under the dance of falling stars

the bobbing and zipper-rattling
of the small fannypack
i run with while also carrying a water bottle in my hand
as i wind through town on a circuitous route
from home to community garden plot
where i spend the morning wrestling with tomatoes
and weeding and pulling out the once-robust cucumber plants
that cucumber beetles destroyed
spatulotic maniac
juniper says about me
and my tendencies with the navy blue spatula
that makes a POP! when one accidentally
pulls the blue spatula part off its silver handle
in the dark
near the gurgling of the creek
under the perseid showers
using odd objects as neck support
(full la croix cans, water bottle inside backpack, insufficient shoulders)
we laugh about me singing enya covers
during previews in the movie theater
and i invite luica to open for me
by doing a loreena mcKennitt cover set
which she says is cool
but also that she gets the feeling that it’s the kind of gig
that she actually has to pay to get into

and somehow we also arrive at the fact
that the perseid meteors are just flaming cat hair
from the little cat scrubbies (sorta like boot brushes, but for cats to rub against)
in the between-worlds

and also we joke about how one perseid
was going upstream – the opposite direction as most of the others –
and i call that meteor a salmon
and we end up freestyling
about salmon playing backgammon
and when they play organs, they play hammonds
and when they’re on the court, they’re slammin

and no
we weren’t on drugs
and yes
it does feel good
to have this little queer crew
and our howls of laughter
and the blankets we share
and all the general preposterousness that we perpetuate
under the dance of falling stars

dribble and pass

balancing barefoot
at the top of the 8′ ladder
to scoop the maple samaras
from the gutters
sometimes this involves a stick
and much digging
and sometimes being scratched
by pokey-sticky-outy screws
and sometimes juniper holding the ladder on the ground below
at the northeast corner of the house
where the land is most uneven
switch! i call out on the court
where juniper and i dribble and pass
switch meaning we have to move on to another of the four hoops
on the double courts outside the high school
from where we can see the edge of town
(corn on one side, sandstone bluff on the other)
and the pink swath of fabric called sunset
pulled across the sky
and the thin sliver of moon
to the west
alongside some planet

the sound of klldeer
as heard from the court in this dusk-ing
how i always talk about robins from my childhood
at the end of the day
but i forget about the killdeer – they were there too,
at the edges

juniper at my door
reporting the terrible scary news
of the ice cream monster that just came through
and finished all the ice cream

thank goodness for the squeakiness

thank goodness for the squeakiness of my bike brakes
alerting juniper (who bikes alongside / behind me)
to my quick screech-stop
when i see a critter emerging from the left side of the street
and it isn’t until ki is merely five feet from our bike tires
still scuttling across the road
that we see who ki is: a skunk
and to my surprise
we don’t get sprayed and ki continues on to the right side of the road
and then darts across the grass and sidewalk to a the corner
of a church building

the blackberry and chocolate ice cream
calling my name
in the co-op’s freezer aisle
well, if people already think we are weird
i say (about the scything, the imperfect lawn, the cat on a leash,
the two homos living together)
while we stand over the raised bed in the back yard
ripping brown packing paper to shreds
for one layer of our raised bed
rip rip rip rip rip rip rip
juniper asking the tomato plants to stop holding hands
as we wrestle their limbs back into their cages
in the church garden

where lightning touched down

6:30am the rain wakes me
so i can make the rounds and rank closed the windows
to keep the showers from landing inside the house
(which is called “marigold” amongst other things
lisi the cat and juniper the human
jumping in unison
at the gigantic thunder crack
which eventually is followed by emergency sirens
which we eventually find out were for a structure fire
on highway nn
where lightning touched down
the incredible indian feast
including tamarind chutney
and homemade mango lassi
and gf samosas
and eggplant
and saag paneer
that we sit down to
with fizzy drinks
to celebrate búho’s next rotation around the sun
digging in to the luica-made peach plum pear cake
for búho’s birthday
(joanna newsome song themed)
we laugh about the s.s. rumspringa
making its way up the ohio river
with the lactation stations all set and ready to collect
juniper in the short chair at the end of the table
at the end of the night
lost in uncontrollable laughter
about a pen15 tattoo joke
which mandy could definitely have dropped the mic after telling
though there was no mic to drop

and eventually
the reports of flooding in various towns/places
come in
and i measured two inches in our rain gauge