until i am upon

the garden shed tree frog
pale gray
in its roost / post
tucked along door frame and
the place where tool brushes hang
how i think i see something
in the distance down the road as i pedal
in dusk fog
not sure until i am upon them
a startle of 10 or so deer and unlike
passing in a car i can hear their hooves
in the wet grass
lightning bug
on the outside of the loft window
which means when its butt glows
i get a clear close view

bonnet surprise

in south garden as we
plant onions (tropea and red bull varieties)
and i am laughing so hard
tears are gathering in my eyelashes
while we come up with stupid ridiculous
ice cream names and flavors for our
hippy/mennonite themed shop
(bonnet surprise, dirty dog, dingle berry crunch, horse and buggy heath and butterfinger, compost swirl)
i say

curling in
at dusk
i trust you and your decisions
she writes

to be thoughtful and conscious
i do not say this lightly

on the first pulls
how the saw teeth catch
on the grains of wood
(of a sad dowel,
a rustic hockey stick,
several scraps that might be cedar but i’m not sure)
joesph showing me
the dry wall anchors as i
incrementally lean in
to ever-so-closely
finishing building the closet
(and, let’s be clear here,
closet is a sawed-off hockey stick
mounted to the wall and hanging
from the ceiling)

standing on five gallon bucket
on top of a chair as i
reach up and try best i can
do keep the drill at 90 degrees
drywall crumbles drizzling down
into my hair, my eyes

the put put put put put of
something, perhaps wine, burbling
in the karma closet
just outside my room

takes a psychic toll cynthia says
of the things we collectively
cleared off the back porch
out of the costume box
off the back hallway shelves
out of the office closet
from the water world:
People play on a beach along the Arabian Sea on a hot summer day in Mumbai, India. – voice of america, day in photos

A Sri Lankan man waters his vegetable garden cultivated on the banks of river Kelani in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Many Sri Lankans living in urban areas maintain kitchen gardens for their daily consumption. – voice of america, day in pho tos

so green it almost

how i ride
the long way around which means
i pass ted and bear on their bikes
headed town-wards
and can see what i think
to be bob walking through the field
and then there is new sky
opening over us on new land
which is so green / hill-rolly
(spring burst) so green
it almost hurts
live to the edges bruin says
of your energetic body

instead of saying it’s not working
you vacate part of your body
what do you need to do to keep
your arms, your legs

egg salad, egg egg salad we
spontaniously improvise
around the butcher block
before dinner
so pointy (sharp) i joke
about trish’s home baked crackers
we better be careful not to let them slip
off our plates
down the back road for
post dinner sunset walk
asby and gibbus (cats)
trotting after me
for the distance (mile, at least)
never, before, have i met cats who
go for walks with me
from the water world:

A boy floats in a pond to cool off on a hot summer day on the outskirts of Kolkata, India. – voice of america, day in photos

green glowing / when we emerge

beyonce singing pretty hurts
while trish and i undo
the office closet in the name of
deep clean
me culling stinky shampoos and her
sifting through garden paperwork
while baigz and joanna work it out in the jar room
and cynthia and arielle show the back hallway no mercy
and mo hits the herb and spice shelves
hum-singing: oooh it’s just me myself and i
solo rider til i die cuz i
got me for life
oooh i don’t need a hand to hold
even when the night is cold
i got this fire in my soul
on the drive to zims

on the walk up to the post office door
on the drive back home
on the walk down the highway
later i talk about
this anthem of independence
and how good it feels to carry
in my blood and
what it means about how i relate
to being in relationship

how i only notice the wild strawberries
off canada road because i duck into the woods
to pee before i hit the highway
and when i crouch down
i gasp with delight/surprise at seeing
their white blooms

about the sky:
everything is haze-covered,
like it could rain any minute
or liek it is raining somewhere in the distance
yet there are patches of clouds and not clouds
moving over
the bright yellow of trish’s sweater
against the pale but not quite pastel
sea foam color of her jeans
as we park/talk in sandhill parking spot
about commitments, marriage, wedding

the howl/hum/suck of wind
followed by the noise of hail
on metal door as heard from
inside the root cellar where we all gather
because our neighbor called to tell us of
a nearby tornado sighting
in the echoey underground
joe cranks the emergency weather radio
while mo and i pass around dried black currants
and emory calls jack up onto his lap
and when we emerge
the lightning snakes on forever
lighting up nightyard
night trees
green glowing hills and new leaves
how i sit on the porch for at least a half hour
watching the scraggles bloom and fade
in the east
in the north
in the south
feeling the draw/desire to climb the white pine
to hug myself to the trunk in its sway to watch it all but
knowing better
dirty johnny and frankie danger
we laugh and later laugh again
about johnny, frankie and joey
in our tough louiz voice


from the water world:
A child carries buckets of water as people wait to get drinking water from a donor’s truck at a village of Dala township at outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar suffers from drought and drinking water shortages in at least 10 regions due to the El Nino weather phenomenon.

tangling across sky

laughter in the future tomato beds
before the rains come
at the whip-like dandelion root
plucked from the soil in its entirity
yoga dance
i call

the thing i did this morning
triangles, warriors and lunges
to rihanna and justin bieber in my earphones
it’s all muscle memory jazz says
about how to roll on the banjo
it’s all muscle memory mo says
about claw hammering on the banjo
and then she plays
in sawmill tuning
the clucky hen song
in the dimming kitchen
barefoot in the hoophouse where
the stormy wind ripples through
the bright of lightning pulsing/strobing and
thunder let loose
in sonic strings tangling
across sky while i
winter collards from the future pepper beds
as mo pulls lambs quarters and chickweed
do raincoats ever really work i say layered
against the weather
ponchos she replies

the shiny green
of cilantro leaves
volunteer-sprouting up
through the mulch in the spring
hoophouse onion beds

the toad with the what seems swollen sticky outy tongue
taking cover in the clover as i dig
holes along the cistern for sunflower planting
egg salad, triple cheese spinach dip, chickweed pesto,
sourdough onion rolls, home-baked rye bread and toast points
plus quiche
this, i say, is the most decadent potluck

slipping into sleep under xmas lights
like how we’d do at
calle del arroyito
waking curled
teeth unbrushed and fully clothed

from the water world:

People relax after applying mud on their bodies to cool off on a hot summer day on the banks of the Kanchon Mala lake in the outskirt of Agartala, India.– voice of america, day in photos

A Serbian Orthodox pilgrim immerses himself in the waters of the Jordan River at the Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site, near the West Bank city of Jericho, as part of an Easter pilgrimage to the holy Land.
– voice of america, day in photos


to be chosen

stan woo-hooing as i reach skyward
into my first stretches of the day on
unfurled teal mat atop cistern while he
heads to the car to embark upon
his week long texas inspection trip

mo, cynthia, tyler and i
counting down before we
put our backs into it-
leaning/pressing with all four pairs
of arms/hands to push the
huge round bale off the wagon
near north garden
although it’s not bonsai scale
i can’t help but think of dad
and his bonsai tools
oiled and wrapped for trimming/shaping/wiring
while practice my own
renegade pruning and thorny-vine wrestling
just enough to clear the view outside my window
to give the forest depth
rather than a wall, a mass of growth
small bouquet of lilac-colored phlox
in a shot glass vase tucked
into just-cleaned hallway cubby
intentional i say
in the go-around about how we feel about weddings
and marriage and forevers
i want every day to be chosen,
not default
from the water world:
Indian Lambadi tribal villagers fill containers with drinking water from a leaking pipe on a roadside at Chandampet Mandal in Nalgonda east of Hyderabad in the southern Indian state of Telangana.
– voice of america, day in photos

A crow drinks water from a tap on a hot day in Ahmadabad, India. India is grappling with severe water shortages and drought affecting more than 300 million people, a quarter of the country’s population. Thousands of distressed farm animals have died, and crops have perished, with rivers, lakes and ponds drying up and groundwater tables sinking. 
– voice of america, day in photos

enter the sparklefest

how i don’t remember her name
but i do remember she grew up in madison,
we take turns holding the ladder
while we work our way up/down the greenhouse
drills in hands
screw by screw removing the
lath-like strips of wood
that hold the huge sheet of insulating plastic
to the roof
how we balance and teeter and strip screws and
dodge wasps in the process,
how rad it feels to be encouraging/supporting her
best i know how
in some of her early moments of power-tool using
(press into and perpendicular are my two main tips)


should spraypaint them hotpink i say
of the drill bits that keep
jumping ship

how each sandhillian who
walks through the kitchen door is wowed
by the knox college students’ slices of watermelon
because even when our watermelons do grow
they look nothing as big or as red or juicy as this
love loom moe says
at the kitchen sink about
the loom she just picked up from
a woman in town
whose husband made it for her
years ago

joseph’s deer-blood covered hands
on the phone
on the steering wheel and i make a joke
about getting a hold of some sani-wipes

asparagus spears
oiled and sweating
set on butcher block along with
the quinoa-rice
veggie masala
coconut oil/soy sauce garbanzo beans
tomato apple chutney
and toasted seeds
somewhere between justin bieber and the chromatics
she calls and we briefly
over tepary beans
and aleksandra’s release and

the delight/celebration of
catching each other now and
how maybe i can deliver the saved seeds myself
to the pima county library system
hammock-curled with the tassajara bread book
in my hands, reading until the light
is still alive in the western sky but
too dim to read by
enter the sparklefest of lightning bugs
flickering amongst trunks and branches
enter the softest breeze pulling itself
over my bare feet
enter the smell of baking granola
drifting out of the open kitchen window
enter full-body contentment and how i tell
the north garden mulch, the juniper branches
spreading out above me, the last light in the sky
how much i love my life/this moment in my life and
how grateful/lucky i am
while the intro to the tassajara bread book
is obnoxious because
mention after mention of bread baker after bread baker
(friends, mentors),  are all men,
it also says this:
baking bread will help you connect
with everything; it may take years, but…

a whole shed of shining

how in yesterday’s details,
i forgot to include me telling cynthia
how i love the sight/smell of
a whole shed of shining (just oiled) tools
(linseed/flax oil) all arranged and lined up just so
but the scent and shine still lingers today

mica and i kneading side-by-side
on the lightly floured surface of the dining room table
as we push our body weight and our hands
into the not too sticky not too dry mounds of dough
she shows me the strands and talks about
how to manipulate this growing creature
without breaking them
an ode/a hello to my grandpa
the eternally flour-dusted baker whose voice
i was too young to remember
when his sweet spirit
moved along
ya’ll don’t have to stop playing i call out
bleeding into a white hankie
as everyone walks in from the field
with me after a frisbee to the nose

what is it about that
kids piece of clothing that is definitely too small to fit
in the sally army bins that i don’t
want to part with?
perhaps, its resemblance to a decorated cake/cupcake
(light pink sweatshirt with rainbows and hearts
of different not primary but not pastel colors
scattered about like sprinkles)
the most beautiful bread i’ve ever seen
i exclaim to mica on the phone
about the sight of what we spent
part of the day making
you looked pretty tough out there
mica says about me
walking infield
blood dribbling out my nose
into my mouth
down onto my shirt and thigh
maybe i even had a swagger

northern parula bird
the knox college professor reports sighting
on a walk down underpass
the silver-wrapped maple-sweetened chunk of
chocolate bar that cynthia hands me
in my perch around the fire
while folks go roasting their marshmellows
and passing the graham crackers and
hershey’s chocolate this
is what allieship looks like
we are the boat
we are the sea
i sail in you
you sail in me ryan sings
around the small fire
around which the knox college students and
cynthia and tyler and moe and  i have gathered


startled into flight

sloshing in our galoshes, cynthia and i sing
the aaaay doombah and
lay yourself down on the rocks now songs
as we scrub, sweep and shovel-scrape
inside the cistern/sound chamber
our voices whirling
(moving from wall to wall)
how we howl and animal call and yowl too
not a bad way, indeed, to begin the morning
the way the water moves i say about
the trickiness of scooping it up
because it moves in waves


perhaps a turkey or some other
large bird taking off from
the strip of woods between ours and slater’s land
huge wings thwapping
twigs of branches as it is
startled into flight
i apologized to some of them i say
about the varieties of dahlias
as i scrolled through them
for being given some of the names they were given
cilantro pesto
home made corn tortilla quesadillas
and fake meat extravaganza
crafted by cynthia, moe and tyler
awaiting on the butcher block
sun so close to setting
(huge orange orb
hovering over horizon
and how from inside the hoophouse
the plastic spreads out/diffuses
the glow)

what it is like to finally
see a photo of the face of aleksandra
finally released from immigration detention

who i’ve been hustling poems
to help raise bond money for;
a softening
a familiarity
a being sliced through of the utter humanness
of this creature
clean pint jar filled with
clear water and plant cuttings
left on my dresser
(thank you mica!!!!!)
how, between the moon and two candles,
there is enough light
to write these words on paper

above the roar

emory singing we will we will rock you
as he bounds out the door
after breakfast for school
at the writer’s table i notice
how many times i say reveal
but can’t help myself
from saying it again

the vastness of parts
and smallness of other parts nik says
the layout lends
(words on a ledge
he explains
lines as lace i think)
i howl at the hounds
crossing the highway
as a truck approaches
in the distance
in the opposite lane
me pedaling up sandhill road
stan on the tractor near the horse barn
how we both lift our arms
to wave above the roar
you say everyday communism
and i think of bread

reports of poetry being
read aloud in the ICE office
whilst waiting
biscuits baking at 450degrees
in the oven post-dinner
as something in the sky opens
and spills gold
so occupied with the pinks/oranges/golds
in the western sky that
when i catch the moon in the east
(smudged and pressed into crayola cornflower blue)
i gasp at its muted brilliance

soft wet of just rained on gravel road
underneath my newly re-strapped sandals
and though i can’t be there
for aleksandra’s release
i can go walking around this bend
along the treeline
under puff-pink clouds and
carry her spirit with me
small piece of maple-sweetened
rose chocolate broken from a bar
cynthia hands me as i face
the dusty shelves filled with dusty books
which are mostly in alphabetical order by author
but sometimes not
playing the hilarious game
where i read the back cover book description
until one of them cuts me off because
it’s too painful to listen to

from the water world:

A dead fish lies on a dried up part of Osman Sagar lake on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India. Severe drought like conditions are affecting millions of people spread over 12 states across the country. – voice of america, day in photos


Indonesian youth stand on a grave as they fish at a cemetery inundated by floodwaters after a heavy downpour caused a nearby river to burst its banks in Jakarta, Indonesia.
– voice of america, day in photos