the 8 sour cherries i pluck
from the backyard orchard
and carry like gems
(topaz, citrine, garnet, sapphire, sunstone)
before laying them on the table before emory and bowing to say
i now present to you, dear emory,
8 cherries for your eighth birthday celebration
at emory’s birthday breakfast table
how we gather around a feast
made possible by all our work
(trish made the french toast,
i baked the bread,
joseph and emory collected the eggs
and fetched the milk,
tyler and cynthia harvested the strawberries,
someone whipped the cream and i didn’t ask who –
mighta been joseph, coulda been baigz),
mica woulda grown the wheat of the rains hadn’t destroyed it,
joseph and crew tapped those maples and cooked that syrup down
yumness emory can’t stop saying
while i perch atop the flour bucket and
say the word perfection and
close my mouth around my fork
taking in every last crumb/taste
and at some point trish going on
about the cinnamon raisin bread perfection
and how it didn’t even crumble
and while i joke and say don’t stop
i almost get tears in my eyes
partly because it feels good to do something tangible
(rather than ephemeral – like this writing) so well and partly
because it is my grandpa’s hands that kneaded that dough
(meaning – baking bread is a spiritual act
meaning – the rhythm of working that dough
is like dialing a telephone line across time
and catching josef on the other end)

how i keep laughing about
joseph, while we cross paths on the whitehouse steps
whispering he’s a silver fox
with a joke/glimmer in his eye


a hydrogeologist and a poet who reads/writes about water
(that’d be our austrian-australian visitor peter and i)
plucking peas across the row from each other and
weeding the onions in their dried soil and
lowering tomatillo starts into the ground
sometimes talking water sometimes not talking at all
how we take a five or ten minute break
so ted can go turn his cheese
(i challenge you to name
another utlimate frisbee field that
this happens on)
during which cynthia and i laugh
about our matching visors and joke about
what are we doing tonight, twinsie
(after spending the afternoon rebuilding a shelf
and then the hour after that guarding each other on the field)
a big round plate of
chocolate chip cookies and a pitcher of tea
await those who might breeze through syhouse
to listen to jen playing the organ she scored
at the flea market
there is no such thing
as a ‘real’ writer i tell rachel when she says
she feels so affirmed/encouraged
receiving my virtual hi-five about the
writing-about-sabbatical idea
and here i am putting another

large book on the shelf and, ohhhh! it fits
i announce while tyler and cynthia
give upstairs karma its summer look and i
finally reshelve the made-over library books
onto the re-built shelf
and if i were to use hashtags
this little blurb might be something like #springcleannotspringbreak
or #springcleantothemax or #don’tfuckwiththisspringclean
(and clearly, i do not use hashtags
because i’m pretty sure no one really writes hashtags that long)
from the water world:

Local residents fill their empty containers with water from a municipal corporation tanker on a hot summer day in Ahmedabad, India.- voice of america, day in photos

dusks like these

three blooms on one of the
cosmos plants in the mini-landscaped patch
outside my window,
petals edged in hot purple-pink,
their insides fadingĀ  to white
three swedish fish emory hands me
from the goody bucket from his birthday rendezvous
with the grandparents this weekend
while i eat my toasted just-baked cinnamon raisin bread
with peanut butter
melty on top
how summer feels already here
(sunburnt shoulders, warm-humid air, one-after-another full days of getting shit done [bread baking, chimichurri processing, weeding, planting, mulching, building, etc.]
though the to-do list continues to be hefty)
and the tomato plants aren’t even fruiting yet
(which is a true sign of summer, if you ask me)
red house painters sounds
playing in tyler’s room as he vacuums vents and
spring cleans the shit
out of every surface
glimpsing a sight
of emory in the distance hunting cabbage moths
with a badminton racket
(leaping and running and tackling
in the tall cistern-side grass)
and the sweat on his pink-cheeked face
that comes as a result
you could make them every week
i say and i wouldn’t mind a bit
when joseph asks about getting tired
of what happens to be the best home made
tortillas on the planet
the bright red of the first strawberry harvest
laid out against the yellow/gold
hay-mulched paths
in the pre-sunset, after dinner light
i want a word
for dusks like these
when wink kicks up and
moves across skin
(the sheer fact the temperatures are warm enough
to leave skin exposed
is enough of a celebration)
while sky pinks/purples
and the songs of birds rise against it
and i take it, from this perch in the hammock,
as much as i can
on me
into me
candle light thrown off/flickering
against cedar room walls where i
squat with permission,
the lushness/denseness of forest
rising up around me
from the water world:
Syrian refugee children collect water at the Al-Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the border with Syria.
– voice of america, day in photos

Cars and debris are seen in a flooded street in the town of Braunsbach, in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.
– voice of america, day in photos

rarer and rarer

i don’t believe in scarcity
(am trying not to) i say at this time of year
when time becomes a rarer and rarer
screw that! tyler and i invent the name
for our construction company while we
build a mini frame for one of the walls
of the pond-side maple treehouse

lightning-hunting i call it later,
how i ran down the back road to chase
the last light of the day and what it was doing
to the clouds and what the were doing to the sky
and what the lightning was doing to it all including myself
and how it is the second time today i find myself
sitting in the middle of a gravel road
(the other was earlier,
when i went to see if the baby snake (prairie king snake?)
was where i last passed it on the edge of the road
not long ago on my way down
as i walk back up and discover
that in those short 5 minutes
it had been smashed,
most likely run over
by the black car as stan took off
for another round of inspections
how i had to sit there with it,
guts rupturing)
from yesterday’s build:
we learn how to make a drop cut
with a worm drive
amongst other things

from the rim of sadness

tiny and the tantrums
baigz names the jazz band
comprised of new orleans rats, mice, possums, raccoons, etc.
as emory, baigz and i
take turns, sentence by sentence,
building a story in south garden
while baigz thins beets, trish harvests salad mix and i
move tufts of hay with a pitchfork to mulch
the brassica beds
cole says she has something shimmery to show me
and busts out her bronzy cowboyish boots
from her backpack and does a little
light bootdance on the front porch in them
blue ice pack sweating
under the pain/ache/swell of
the ball of my right foot – site of re-injury and
re-injury ever since i got cleated
six or so months ago
how the humidity
(and sometimes heat, which is nothing now
since it’s only may)
is enough to make one want
to shave their hair off
stork-like, the shape of a heron
(its feet out behind it and its bill long)
floating/flapping across the granyness/brightness
of an afternoon sky as i pause
to pitchfork-lean
and watch til it disappears
into the creek-following tree line
getting buff cynthia says about me
in the short sleeves alongside the fresh haircut
we’ll always be sisters i say
from the rim of sadness,
leaning in

the rattly cough of a black cat-kitten
outside my window as the cool rains
come down

to meet the other

morning oatmeal mica-style
in a pint jar to go
that i toss in my pannier before pedaling
off to meet the other writers
the sandy mud that glomps onto my bike
and bright orange shoes
from walking through the puddle or two
at the gravel road bottoms
even though i rode in the back way to avoid the mudtastraphe
on mercantile porch table
we write from magazine scraps
and this is where mineĀ  gets me:
in the beginning, there was a gun.
hot to the touch our cool, depending.
in the beginning, we were blasted through with a bright red heat.
in the beginning, it was too late to still be learning
what fire is.
unnamed phenomenon:
the way a train
cutting through sunrise sounds different
on a wet morning after a night of storms
than on a dry morning after days in a row
of no precipitation
how baigz pulling the weathered cart
piled high with hay
across lookfar field in his loose white button down
and black rim glasses and
against the gray near-storm sky
look like a diferent place/different time

taking scissors to the lilac-and-white gingham apron
in the scrap box to make
a rag for wiping the grease off my bike chain,
how i swear i remember becca in that apron
15 years ago
wearing just underwear underneath
the night sandhill hosted a hilarious/ridiculous greasy diner/rude waitron
tyler holding up the gallon of
vegan mayo bought
for $3 as i
wrangle the hose to hook up
to the outdoor shower
how at first i’m adverse to the
not-quite-sunwarmed waters
but after the initial cold shock
it is the best medicine
for washing off the
hay itchies,
for blessing myself clean
tasty yums emory says we should
call our favorite roll recipe
(insted of the name we commonly know them as:
tasty buns)
the scrowly meows of
a cat at my window as the lightning lightnings
and the thunder thunders
and the rain showers down
from the water world:
A man walks his donkey and its load through the flooded streets of Beledweyne, north of Mogadishu, Somalia. – voice of america, day in photos

some of them splayed

tiny frog leaping
on top of the thick thick mulch
in the tomato beds
in lookfar as we carry more mulch
by the wagonload
by the cartful
by the pitchfork
to cover the paths
the small dot of blood
in the place, just below the ear,
where ashby’s fur gets thin
the dust rising
off the road that has not yet been rained on
(since grading)
even though the weather has been saying
60% for the past two days
and i think about/try not to think about
the sorghum starts in the fields
some of them tucked properly in the soil
some of them splayed
roots exposed to the dry heat
tienes lycra trish says
(lycra is pronounced leeecra, in this case)
on the dinner couch,
and the magic of being transported,
simply by a phrase that was often repeated
during our three weeks in ecuador
several winters ago
and then there is mark darkly’s voice
and laugh in my inbox and how this too
transports me
not so much to a time/place
but to my own laughter and how
it has always been like that between us
laugh summoning laugh
until it’s sometimes hard to even see
the seam that holds them together

from the water world:
This handout picture by the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) shows the shipwreck of an overcrowded boat of migrants off the Libyan coast. At least seven migrants have drowned after the overcrowded boat overturned, the Italian Navy said. Five hundred people were pulled to safety, but rescue operations were continuing and the death toll could rise, the navy said. – voice of america, day in photos

last shreds of light

for fishing and picking and defending
emory says about the sharp hook shape
at the tip of mama duck’s bill
the open spaces (where the limbs
have fallen off) make me feel weird i say
to emory in the white pine
where we each perch in our own formation
of branches that remind me
of the birds nest on a tall ship
it’s stickier closer to the tree
(meaning trunk) emory says
hugging his unshirted upper body
to the stickyness of the trunk
and all around us,
a neon yellow dust/film
coats each limb
pollen, mo explains from below
shaking out of forming pinecones.
that, and the cottonwood flufff
as seen from up here
carried slowly
across the farm
by a light breeze
glass gallon jar shimmering
with water and the green of
spearmint/peppermint sprigs
stuffed in
cracked i say about the surface
of the lookfar soil
like one might imagine
when people talk about droughts
only we aren’t in one

the rusty rebar that i use
to dibble holes into the aforementioned crusty surface
soil into which i plant several varieties
of tepary beans imported from the
pima county seed library
and rachel’s garden
working until the last shreds of light
slowly dissipate
chasing every minute in this window
of dry before the window of wet
opens again
one syllable i say
for names
that all sound obnoxious when listed together
but just might work
one at a time:
or maybe silas