by bark, by leaf

wet ingredients in one stainless steel bowl
(honey, maple, oil, vanilla, apple sauce)
dry ingredients in the other
(oats, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, salt, wheat bran)
and then i massage in the peanut butter
(due to forgetting to add it to the wet before whisking and mixing)
alaska in winter playing low on the stereo

small jar of olives rachel brought back from morocco
shining on the picnic table set out in the sun
on one of the last nice days

rachel, mica, tony and i
tromping across the damp but not too wet field
to visit the fallen red oak
(that mica chainsawed some rounds off of the other day)
that landed (unusually) away from the creek

rachel and tony identify
by bark
by leaf
various varieties of tree

red oaks:(the ones whose leafs with pointy bristles)
shingle oak
pin oak
white oaks

bitternut hickory
shagbark hickory
shellbarck hickory



and an ash


we pass around a tiny bunch of tiny (wild) grapes
the burst of sweetness from such a small thing
the burst of purple between my fingers
between my teeth


we could make/sell corn puffs
brand-named “dick’s”
tony suggests at the wheel of the red toyota truck

and thanks to pop culture
all the advertising has already been done for us
i chime in
ten of us
chase a frisbee up and down the field
until the sun spills red
along the horizon


administering medicine to granola the cat
(a capsule opened up
powder shaken onto wet cat food)
in the leftover light after  sunset
the silence of this time of day
stunning and still


mica lounging across from me on the couch matching the one i’m perched at
tells me about red oak decline
which sounds slower
but just as sad as
all the stumps left in the wakeof dutch elm disease


turning up frozen

one morning egg awaiting me
in one of the egg divots in the fridge door
shell sharpied with a message from the chickens themselves
in mica’s handwriting
thanking me for saving them from the racoons last night
on the eve of blazing stars


against my desire
but towards healthier, less tangled hair
i clip two inches off


chop wood, carry water i think
(recalling a saying someone shared yesterday)
while stocking the back mudroom with split wood

to pass cinder blocks
we form a chain
me in truckbed
mica on the ground
and laird ferrying in between


turning up frozen ground with the digging fork in the carrot beds
though the temperature is somewhere in the upper 30s, lower 40s,
the soil is still solid and flecked with frost/ice


in the sun of the south yard
while the puppy and cricket
play tug-of-war wiht a blue braid of rope
i point up and watch mica’s eyes follow
to the bald eagle flying from east to west
directly overhead


blank spiral-bound sketchbook
splayed open on living room table
while i pencil-and-ink
leafless trees
a small figure looking up
month and days of the week
into the december calendar page


mica forks an f-shape
into the vegetarian calzones
before sliding them onto a tray
and into the oven


jacob offers wine
and i take a splash in my glass
pinot grigio
light, almost sparkling, appley sweet


this is the best apple pie i’ve ever eaten
i tell june and mean it
while scooping on home-made whipped cream

to catch its glimmering

day of four birds:
1. blue feathers
and white
trapped in the privy
flying from screen door from screen door
until i hold one open
for it to fly out

2. unknown colors but
flapping about in the greenhouse
and finding its own way out
through the flue

3. the white head and tail
of an eagle flying north and west
seen out the kitchen sink window

4. mica identifies the type of bird – cedar waxwing
hanging out in swarms
in our cedar and plum and other backyard trees
on a page in the bird identification book
titled crested and berry-eating


(how i stopped the other day
in the back yard
just to look up to watch them
how i stop again today
this time knowing their name)


the bright orange of
peeled and cubed then steamed until soft then
sent for a spin in the food processor


smell of sweet pumpkin bread
rising out of the oven


rationing the box of pecans
at the kitchen table
each bag zipped and labeled
with one of the twelve months
plus two bonus bags)


mica in her dressup hat
and me in my city boots
laughing at the almost metallic (and saturated in hue) pink cloud
how it’s up there declaring
lookatme!!!! i’m pink!!!!!!!!!!!


tony’s baked roots (with soy sauce and a bit of mustard powder) and lentil loaf (home-canned ketchup baked in on top)
during which we laugh about
goats arranged/placed in trees
in morroco
by men who began to understand the tourists had a thing for snapping photos of goats in trees


nightwalk from bear and alyssa’s place
(along gravel road/path)
mica points out the cookie dog constellationbut just before we get there
rachel points out a comet/shooting star in the sky
one so big that it allowed rachel to pause to consider if she was seeing what she really thought she was seeing
and then declare something about it
and only after all that do i finally look up
still to catch its glimmering tail
arcing into the west
and then again
as we near the parking lot
another glimmer/blaze before us
arcing towards earth but blazing up before it could ever land


it is difficult to tell if the world has always been this way
(and important to understand that regardless of how i think the world is now or then,
the information i gather about the world is limited, especially when  i am dependent on the media for this information
[especially when the media chooses which stories to cover
and which to overlook])
but somehow i imagine it hasn’t
and i think of these times
as the crest of a wave
and every time the people take the streets
my spirit is taking with them

Tunisian protesters clash with police following a demonstration against the country’s ruling Islamist Ennahda party in Siliana, northwest of Tunis. A general strike was called to protest against poverty and lack of development. – voice of america, day in photos

A student throws a rock toward riot policemen during a protest outside the National Autonomous University of Honduras in Tegucigalpa. Clashes erupted between student demonstrators and police in the Honduran capital after conservative ruling party candidate, Juan Hernandez, was declared the winner of the country’s tightly-contested presidential elections.
– voice of america, day in photos

Protestors in Kyiv’s European Square demand that the Ukrainian government sign a trade deal with the European Union –
voice of america, day in photos

A Palestinian demonstrator throws a petrol bomb towards Israeli border guards in the West Bank city of Hebron during a demonstration. Israeli security forces killed three Palestinian militants after attempting to arrest them near the West Bank city of Hebron, the Shin Bet internal security service and army said.
– voice of america, day in photos

on the scale of griefs

heading to new orleans for a month or two stint
a friend and i in the car
upon arrival
we park and climb the stairs to meet with the apartment keyholder
and as we walk back down to the car
we find the trailer attached to it
(strangley plastic and in sortof a crescent moon shape)
unlatched and empty
and somehow at another stop in the city
it happens again
(how does emptiness become robbed and more empty?)
so that when we meet up with a few dear friends
all i can do is wail, my head in art’s lap (hi art!)
(my lifetime of journals! my clothes!)
through the deep gutwrench
the desolation
the taken-apart-ness
the how-do-i-form-my-arms-around-the-ache-of-emptiness sobs

in the dreams there is a registering of the scale of
the grief/losses of katrina survivors
and the grief/losses of me/my empty trailer
(in other words, a kind of awareness of the location
in which this losing happened
and the tinyness of my grief
on the scale of griefs)

in waking life, i wonder if it has anything to do with coming across this photo the other day of a man crying while he flips through a family photo album he found in the rubble of his old house after the 2008 sichuan earthquake:


unnamed phenomena: a word for the particular kind of loss
(an ache for the irreplaceable)
of absolutely everything
what it does to the psyche
to point to where a home once stood
(physical buildings as houses of memories)

instead of proposed morning walk
(despite the wind)
we talk about dreams and sleep cycles
under warm warm covers

tony flips the chocolate chip pancakes
while rachel pours the ethiopian tea
steaming sweet and spicy

scraping frost off windshield and rear window
while zipped into drab winter coat
unlocking stored memories of midwest winters
(scrape sounds plus
drape of drab winter coat
while breath hangs in air)


turkey vultures or are they eagles or both?
(wingspan = at least three feet
speckled underside of the larger ones)
lifting and falling in the wind
outside loft window


kiss the rainforest for me! i write
in black ink on a white postcard
stamped and headed westward

because the flatness will change the way the taste
i joke at the stove
while trish lifts the trays of monster cookies
out of the oven


their absence is probably larger
i say in the backseat while unspooling a small story about
the one human in my life i am on (infinite) no-contact terms with
than the presences of previous lovers with whom i’ve kept the communication lines open


the irony of the footpath sign
that we have to make sure not to trip over
in the dark

guiding alyssa past
with my elbow
under a moon-less night

to fly

ceramic pitcher
(white with blue flecks)
of apple cider
warmed on the woodstove


one of the best things about acroyoga
is that you get to ask people
if they want to fly
(or you get to say
yes, i want to fly)

how sometimes it takes
being manipulated/flown/contacted
by other peoples bodies
to understand my own

in this case
an awareness of the skeleton inside me
something about smallness
as i am bucket-scooped
to the ground

the look of confusion emory gives me
when i ask if i can borrow his book
diary of a worm
for my sleepover

alyson and i laughing
at the red crepe paper streamer
between us as we talk
cake and cookies on one table
cheese, carrots, rolls, meat, crackers on the other


i wrapped one of your soap bundles in fabric
and sent it off in a package today i tell eli
while carrot-crunching near the bay-ish window

jagged and yellow emory says from his booster seat
looks like lightning
about the way the sun
in its almost setting
breaks underneath
the low layer of cloud

for the feasting:
split pea soup
massaged kale salad
beer bread
plus rounds and rounds of laughter
brought on by visions of radical ballerinas
(influenced by the radical cheerleaders)
and a slide show of  nip slips


winter sky rachel says
under the dark and sparkling expanse


waterless water story or
a memory of water or
what comes in with the water but doesn’t go back out

Typhoon survivors walk past ships washed ashore in Tacloban

Survivors walk past ships washed ashore by Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, the deadliest natural disaster in the country’s history, and one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded. – bbc, day in photos

seeing ice hockey in our future

how last night i came in
smelling like campfire
after feeding the stove in the greenhouse
while the outdoor temperature dropped down to 10
and how, as i walked across the frosted ground to do so
that sepia moon lifted itself up out of the horizon
and rose


emory selects diary of a worm
to read at the table
while i finish the five-grain cereal
in my metal bowl


we walk down to the frozen-over pond
(which sounds almost like the electricity of a cable car
rolling past and sparking overhead
as emory stomps around the edges)
seeing ice hockey in our future


all these things happening at once:
i cuisinart the pumpkin
as emory measures three cups
of fresh-ground flour
smoke from the kitchen woodstove
rising out the chimney
and floating past the window
smell of cinnamon/nutmeg/cardamom
fills the kitchen
just as the b52s rock lobster does too


feeding the stove
til the wood inside crackles and pops
and the metal of the stovepipe clicks
as its atoms move faster
with the rising heat


in response to the looking at borders are made of
(not the materials they are built from – but the anguish, the grief, the resilience
that comes out of
the legally condoned cleaving of family, friendships, loverships etc. )
m.g. says
there is so much sorrow everywhere. I mean, not only suffering,
but cruelty. I can be amazed that people are so often so good, and
brave in their expression of goodness

and all of that makes me think ofthe men who were arrested
for doing this in saudi arabia:


while the body of water is not named, this is still about water:


Oil fences to control leaked oil are seen after an explosion at a Sinopec Corp oil pipeline in Huangdao, Qingdao, Shandong Province. Crude pipelines have been shut-off in the eastern Chinese oil hub of Qingdao pending safety checks a day after a leak triggered a huge explosion that killed 47 people, a refinery official and state media said. – voice of america, day in photos


8:30 am
18 degrees reads the
outdoor thermometer
at 11:00, it’s up to 22

i christen the coveralls
with a walk down the kale beds
considering the harm i might be inflicting on the plants
while breaking off their icicle-stalk stems

the drill doing the thing that it’s not supposed to do
(rat-a-tat make-you-wince sound of metal stripping metal)
while we balance on rickety ladders
or straddle the raised beds
reaching overhead
to attach the extra layer of plastic
to greenhouse rafters


three goldfish
rescued from the rain-catchment barrels
slowswimming in the bottle of a 2 gallon bucket
(in an inch or two of water
below two or three inches of ice)


these are the kinds of things i think about
when i think about borders
i tell mica at the kitchen table
in response to story of
someone not being able to visit/access her seriously ill sister
for eleven months before and during the wait
for the green card application to go through
(which can take however long the government wants to take)


not wilson
maybe jake, maybe hank
mica name-questions in her maroon hoodie
the peppery puppy in her lap


dinner-making playlist:
sinead o’connor (lion and the cobra)
regina spektor
the pretenders


slicing sweet potatoes and
skimming the root cellar shelves (like one might skim titles in a library) for dinner:spanish rice soup with cheese on top
sweet potato fries
the last of the collards/kale for a while
plus (extra bonus) ‘nacho’ kale chips


floral, joe describes
the smell of rotting / moldy sweet potatoes


the way i melt into the heat
of bathwater
even when it is a tiny tub
just for my feet
scrubbed clean with cinnamon soap
follwed later by a few bars in front of the stove
of bon jovi’s dead or alive


nourishment in the form of this jewel
sent of/from the water world:


A group of Israeli women illegally brought some of their Palestinian counterparts from the southern part of the West Bank into Israel for a day of fun. Most of the Palestinian women had never seen the ocean before, because they live in a part of the West Bank that is landlocked. They risked criminal prosecution by taking a swim, as did the dozen Israeli women who took them to the beach. And that, in fact, was part of the point: to protest what they and their hosts consider unjust laws. – new york times