bucket of husks

in the dream tyler lifts the plastic
cab cap (semi-truck sized) up onto
the pickup truck rack
efforting but succeeding

in another dream mom
takes all the paintings she made/gifted me
down from my walls and sets them out
with the trash in a stubborn
you-can’t-have-it-anymore move
accompanied by a refusal to talk to me
and a leaving in a huff
and i have a feeling it has something to do
with the kid in the rooms
whose walls are now bare
(the kid who never appears in the dream
but whose presence is present
meaning i am a parent)
later we (mom and i) bump carts
in the grocery store and maybe
there is some softness there
it is also slightly wintry
and an r.v. is involved

wooden serving bowl stacked with
pancakey sweetness (joseph-made)
plate-covered on butcher block
complemented by a dollop of
apricot jam

scuffle-hoeing sparse carrots
in south garden beds dry as dust
the sheen of sweat on baigz’s face
the crumple overwhelm and exhuastion
in trish’s posture


you are showing up she says
you are right where you need to be
you are putting the work in
now put that scorpion tail/tale away

peeling papery sheaths from
all roundnesses/sizes and shades
(ranging from eggplant-purple to green
to yellow-white) of 5-gallon-bucketfulls
of tomatillos and arranging them
on butcher block in rows according to size
the kind of art installation i can get behind

trish and baigz spidering in the hammock
peeling papery layers (that pile on bellies)
from shiny-smooth garlic cloves
you peel i peel we peel i sing-say
dumping a bucket of
husks (tomatillo) into compost pile

two tablespoons of oil laird says
medium-high heat
similar sizes at once
sizzling to yellowness and squishy
cast iron by cast iron this
is how we roast batches of tomatillow

mica in hammock-swing over dinner
imitating (with face and voice) the
hum-buzz-whine of our most
unfavorite window-vicinity dweller
the bush katydid
reminds me of a car alarm i respond

sky hazed by west coast on fire
sun an orangepink orb
still slung high an hour or so
before horizoning

up and down: being sparkly and making
jokes and
crying into my dinner i say

more stable and i’m getting my nightdreams back


emory and i in sun/glasses
wearing our tshirts featuring animals in sun/glasses
holding our stuffed animals wearing sun/glasses posing
for the propped up camera
in an off-season xmas card featuring cardinals i write:
for being one of the forces

carrying me and my heart
through this current
transition of breaking open/breaking through
i thank you

sprinkling spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom)
into almond butter cookie dough
after mixing in oat flour
i roll the mix
into small spheres and
crosshatch with thin-tined fork

welcome homo sign
with scribbly heart
and arrows indicating
almond spice and
cocoa almond spice
cookies cooling on wire racks

nina and i cruising into
hazey sun we talk refugees in the
21st century how it is
that we can yoga and pond dip
while bodies of washed up migrant refugees
gather on italian shores
kids too
i want to write but don’t want to turn
content into more content i say and she
shares about her friend who volunteers
providing childcare and leading yoga
with the women at refugee camps scattered
outside of berlin

sunscreen scent rising off
trish’s skin while we perch
couch-side where we are regaled
with tales of a sassafrass chicago grandma

it’s the word cheese that makes me laugh
and then sledge says
there’s an entire book about

how cheese came into being
which makes me keep laughing

for which i am grateful

a lot of times
when money comes
into your life it can
wreck everything around
you she says
even though i’m a double taurus
which means i’m stubborn and
can’t stand change i appreciate
who you were, who you are
and who you will become
you say sometime after i try
to give language to the unmappableness
of the land canyoning around you

i ride through

in the dream i am
competing in the water and
simultaneously the coach
something about silver bracelets and
ice cream dripping out the bottom
of a soggy cone right there poolside
(and the reason i know i am the coach
is because someone sitting behind the judges table
calls me so)
at some other point i am maybe
in LA
what i gave up: (to be completed)
what i gained: the long-awaited return of sleepdreams

mica and i pedaling
side by side on county highway
how she moves over for me after
the car behind us passes
we’ve been talking about how
the rainlessness makes the gravel roads
so dusty she asks if we’ve turned on
the irrigation in south garden
plume of smoke spotted
in the southeast
to the rhythmsound of
grassblades against shoes and calves


fingers to neck
on slick-sheen of sweat
after uncountable laps
(enough to fill 25 minutes)
around the frisbee field

sun patch opens up on
gravel road above creek
dusty light, almost pink-gold
i ride through

two scratchy-legged
wild haired
dirty-skinned kiddos
plunked on front porch dog cushion
each with a kitten in their lap

unnamed phenomena: the taking of a picture
or the mental noting of something with the intent of
sharing later with person x
only you’ve dislodged the bridge
that connects you to person x
so the photo or mental note
cannot be sent out on its course
instead, it is relegated to someplace purgatoryish
stored in some betweenland or nothingplace
and something like a ghost
or a haunt is what the span of time is between
the can’t wait to send this sparklyness
and the realization about how that
exchange is no longer yours to access

bb-sized bubbles rising in
glass half gallon
as it fills with
filtered raingathered water

agitated and bummersville reported before
run and bike
feelin alright reported
after run and bike
the magic of motion and our bodies in it i say

somehow sunset that seemed eternally at
8:30pm is now at 7:45

as she emeralds

morning cynthia jokes is this the women’s
yoga retreat headquarters while we both approach
the whitehouse with mats under our arms

ian at butcher block pours
gen mai cha into a tall shotglass
and says now it’s mochi time
(talks about how the bitter
of the brings out the sweet
of the glutenous rice with black sesame)
just before she heads out on the
40 mile ride home i appreciate marie’s
consistent quality of presence
open always i say the shine of tears in her eyes

cynthia giving pointers on the
right-angleness of
forearms-to-biceps for a
farewell/so-long tripod headstand
in the sideyard

hummingbird hovering several feet away i freeze
mid-broccoli harvest sending hellos and love
to kate on wings as she emeralds
up and away
(followed later by a similar visit
outside the bike shed where i
patch a flat)

another kind of pride/satisfaction:
somewhere along the line i learned
how to splice wires together which means
i just went in there and fixed that little
bike computer i once got for free meaning
it will once again track miles but not tell me
what time it is because the small button on the
back no longer works


dear fran, dr. mutulu shakur writes
your heart is as big as the missouri sky
at the bottom of a typed/copied letter to
family and friends which includes news
of being considered for release
onto federal parole
i look forward to being reunited with you all
outside of these walls

avoiding the charred/blackened parts
mica and i pick at kettle corn failure part one
while nina lifts stirs the gigantic pot of
tomatoes on the karma kitchen stove

tufts of feathers (black)
accompanied by a chicken head attached
all the way to the neck
littered along the back edge
of the greenhouse/compost pile area

hearts/arms to sky

in the dream, m-lo and i are
dinnering with my parents
and s/he refers across the table to me as sweetheart
which s/he follows up by asking
can i call you sweetheart?
(a term we never used)
and i say oh hell no joking

but really not caring
all of which is a gesture/suggestion
that six years later
we finally made it
through all the bullshit
long morning light
casting shadows of all seven of us
(marie, nina, cynthia, annie, liat, emory and me)
lined up on the cistern and lifting our
hearts/arms to sky
somewhat synchronized

cynthia standing along my mat
guides me through my
first forearm backbend
perhaps a mixture of pride
and satisfaction is what to call it
(it = weighing out our harvest
[orange of carrots, dusty of potatoes,
husked wonder that is tomatillo, etc.]
and portioning into CSA boxes)

when nina asks i say
this one’s for my watch and this one
is for a little vibrator we laugh

like a cat on a hot tin roof
cyn says while marie and i
work our way with drills
across the tin roof we are
drilling down to the purlins
with roofing screws

we move methodically up and over


box of potatoes, carrots and the smallest
array of eggplant perched/balanced on my head
as we walk the path to laura’s from which mica
points out the scarecrow in the corn patch in the distance
scene enough to stop and take it in
decisions that i think
will make me feel good/better but instead
only make me feel horrible i say followed by
could be all those heavy(ish) boxes i just carried

but i feel light (for the first in a while) i say
while we circle and snack on apples and popcorn under
the swirl of ceiling fans

sun bigger than sun redder-oranger
than the burn of lava and neon
as it lowers itself
flanked by cloud bouquet in the west as seen
from the back of a rusted toyota truck
hurtling down a county highway
all while a powder moon (swollen)
traces its own arc westward
put a lid on it joe says
about the tallow candle left aglow on
butcher block so
i can see the slice of bread i
spread butter and liliquoi jelly on

of all the fire

you look tougher than when you
showed up this morning june jokes
about my bloody nosebridge point of 
frisbee-to-face contact
first in the pond
whose waters are cool enough to elicit
a yowl and how my body
cutting through it feels like
all the clear-watered rock-bottom pacific northwest rivers
i’ve ever called home
panic is an indicator (canary in a coalmine)
that there’s something to attend to he says
if your first move is attention to yourself
then your ability to show up for others is
going to blow your mind
wherein marie demonstrates a pop-up
on the porch floor and we can see
the ocean around her

ashby’s paws stepping along my back
and sleepsprawling on my arm
in the orchard where i blanket lounge
in state of emotional spentness/exhaustion
post-lunch and pre-afternoon build (rafters day two)

singing/harmonizing along to
gillian welch (sometimes a voice [mine] with
so much vibrato it sounds
and sometimes feels like crying)
while i shred/chop cabbage, carrots and beets for the salad
and saute onions, garlic, spices, potatos, cabbage, green beans, summer squash and tomatoes into masala
sound of hammering drilling and sawing
in the not so distant side yard

laughing up a list
with annie, ty, and ian
of made up names for the discount foods store
whose actual name (hitchin’ post) i can’t remember:
snack shack
treat street
lasso and luna bars
granola gondola
munchie mansion

snack saloon

bursts of uproarious laughter
rising from screened-in front porch
the word loophole over heard multiple times
(presumably in reference to
ways to work around vows
of celibacy) heard from my
hammock-drape where ashby curls on
my chest and the filling-up moon casts its veil
on my bare limbs
i say it’s been getting cooler
it could be you say because of
all the fire
and best human she says

and the ache/weight of
staring down the same vision
through our very different ways of getting there
(and the ouch of this very particular heart curse
that i haven’t figured out how to navigate with grace)


are willing to tough it out she says
may your sky
i say be a million glimmerings

hijacked by us
she says/observes
which is a great way of saying it though
i might rephrase it: hijacked by you
from the water world:

A boy cools off under a waterfall in Kabul, Afghanistan.  – voice of america, day in photos

i built this body memory

cynthia sporting the burger & fries leggings
for cistern-top group morning yoga sesh
with kittens we
backbend before leaning in

marie’s mom’s home-made liliquoi jelly
in a half pint glowing gold
on butcher block
heaven i say sampling it on sandhill bread

mallet and chisel back in hand
how it feels good to return to
familiar work and how it
hurts to think about
how i carried you in me
when i built this body memory
as opposed to the hollows of now
the yowlp of an alarmed/injured chicken
in jack’s (jack russel terrier) jowls

all 5 of us (cynthia, nina, tyler, marie and me)
lined up along the top plate
(held up by some height-enhancing implements
such as ladders, stools/upside down buckets on tables,
temporary scaffolding a la two ladders and a plank)
chiseling in where the rafters will lay
strong sun and strong wind
on our skin

astounded she says i am the first
(of all bodies she’s ever worked on)
with no lower-back knots
right, i say, because i’m too busy
making the upper-back knots
really good
to receive such attention/care

i say/think about tasha
kneading out my knots

cheering and yelling from above as
the rush of two trains (each on opposite tracks
in opposite directions) occurring simultaneously
roar past

train drill wherein all eight of us
practice flopping to the ground (bridge)
as fast as we can in order to
conduct our experiment test to find out
whether the conductors always sound the whistle
under this bridge or if they only do it when us humans
are leaning out over it waving
hah mih nih nah neeee ayyyy eee ayyy
(aaaaaay doombah, eeee ayyy dumbah)
piled up in truck back we sing/howl out
to moon glow (approaching full)
cast across sky and through
tree canopy
rolling hills rise/falling below us

talented i say about dagny
just like this kiddo i tap the shoulder of emory
who asks if he can curl into me
shortsleeved cold in cooling moving air
we share our warm

how we snack-frenzy storm the
whitehouse kitchen (granola bars,
biscuits, liliquois jelly, pretzels,

from the water world:

A migrant quenches his thirst after disembarking from the Irish Navy vessel LE Niamh at the Messina harbor in Sicily, Italy. – voice of america, day in photos

passing around the glittery shoes

in the dream
i arrive early to
tuesday and a few others in
indoor pool/hot tub glow
setting up for a
dance party/art event and then
she’s co-counseling me on the phone
during a super rough support-needed time
and when her turn to be counseled comes around
i have to herd the playground kids
for an earthquake drill only
maybe it’s not even a drill
but the real thing and i point to the hills
let the others know we’re headed that way

kitten party on and around
unfurled cistern-perched yoga mat
while i do 100 bicycles
hold plank
until it’s as if all the stretching
was what pulled the cloud curtain
off the sky

cynthia-made sequinned mask
passed on (gifted) with accompanying stories
while omelet cooks
i peer out through the hand-cut eyeholes
as if everything that exists
was cracking in half i say
about last night’s loudest-i’ve-ever-heard
three-part thunderclap that was way less like a clap
and more like a detonation

lowering chomped collard seedlings
into hoophouse bed’s reverse nests
followed by a decent dose
of fish water
strawberry chocolate cynthia says
thought of you
more silence i self- prescribe
best attempt i can think of to
short circuit old/new hurt

didn’t catch a single fish except one
emory says in an animated
report-back from the ozarks and illinois
have a cookie he gestures to
the bag on the benchtable

frankie’s got good
dance party outfits emory calls out
under the karma ceiling fan swirling star
while mica cues up the
4-song dance party playlist

i emerge in black selkie onesie
sequin short shorts
tiger stripe cap
sequin kerchief and sequin arm band


to sly and the family stone
beastie boys
tears for fears
and lorde
we jump sashay moonwalk shimmy
passing around the glittery shoes


under gray-sky-clearing
mica’s day off we
(mica, nina, me)
cistern-top yoga
surrounded by sunflower sway
as long as the battery lasts
and then some

fabius riverside sandy beach lunch perch
where we  pluck inadvertently minty dried apples
(dried apples stored in jar that once stored mint)
from pint size mason jar and talk about
whether our parents would be
fun people to hang out and smoke pot with

nina, mica and i
laughing and rambunctiously singing
uphill and down as we pedal
through our fumblings of old german
(the song about how the rain is coming
and the farmer has to get everything
[corn harvest?] under shelter)

breaking away hurtling
ahead hoping
the length of train will still
be stretching itself out under me
when i arrive at bridge overlook

nina and i inspect wraparound bruise
starting on the underside of
second toe but also sortof starting
on topside site of cleating

a round of exquisite knucks
resulting in the following
sharpie’d mysteries revealed:
slug gold
burn flow
time tuna
fire blob
ogre chad
best flew
cats tart

does it have a fruiting body mica asks
in the first round of
the smurfing game
(in which one person leaves the room
and the remaining people decide what
smurfing means
and when the person who left returns
they can ask as many questions as they need
to arrive at the correct answer [for instance:
is smurfing something people do? do all people
smurf? when do people smurf?])

first drops on the edge of the distant storm
and the drops after that
and the drops after that
landing on skin of limbs and face
me star-splayed back-laid
on cistern under patchy and sometimes lightning sky

echoing everywhere i say
pants or not pants the
disembodied voice gurgling up
(along w/ m.i.a.’s bad girls loops)
while sleep tosses its life ring around
and pulls me in

the bewilderment

like a doctor the organics inspector
crisp behind small but precise glasses
and clean unwrinkled peach button down short sleeve shirt
item by item we go over the forms i am
careful to not call our compost compost
faint but visible bruise
mica points out in karma living room light
on top of the cleated foot
accompanied by strange taut swelling
on underside pad below toes

monarch butterfly dropping down
in and lifting up out of
the patch of zinnias in
swigs of chocolate almond milk
and bubbly sips of la croix peach pear
signs of a savorer

srtrength and resilience tyler says
emotionality nina says (vulnerable/strong)
bringing beauty mica says
love stan says and eye contact
while we circle around the dinner

the making of which was one small sliver
of the healing
carrot butter
african lentil spread
massaged kale salad with basil, ‘sun’dried sungolds, one of the few cucumbers and
a side of toasted/tamari’d seeds
pile (of humans) and popcorn (in a bowl) on bed
i click through pictures with my toe first
then nina shares hers beginning with arrival
and ending with the build

my friends nina calls the spiders
mica sucked up with the shop vac
but who will i talk to says nina
songs have been my mantras i say
and sing the four small but life-boaty lines:
lay down the earth
breathe in the air
open up to the water
step into the fire
that do indeed give me courage

to step into the wildfire sweeping
across forested heart wilderness

the bewilderment of
being a human with a heart in a world
of other humans with hearts