but i can still see the skinny arms

5 drops i write stan
about yesterdays rain
and 10 drops a few days earlier
and now, my today’s update would be
25 drops
and i think about that goldfish swimming

in the slowly evaporating waters
in what remains in its watcr catchment barrel home
sharing sharing cynthia and i sing
and make goofy faces side by side
about our successful co-navigation of
cooking in the same kitchen
at the same time,
her on cheesy rice muffin and
stir fried bean patrol and me
with mounds of dough that will
soon enough
become crackers
and the kitchen has turned itself inside out
in the chaos of guests and preparation
my favorite part i exclaim to kris/ten
while flipping the tray of just-baked crackers
onto the butcher block
time to get low alyssa says
from her spot in the canoe
preparing for trish and baigz in their bodysuits
to pondjump in
where we, in whatever finery we’ve decided to leave on
float – our arms hooked over innertubes
for a front-pond-seat view/witness
of the vowing
there are worries
about what we will do
if it rains
(we being the attendees of
baigz & trish’s wedding celebration)
and many of us, because of the drought,
say what do you mean what will we do?
we will keep dancing,
we will celebrate

the light that shines through
the blue glass jars perched on
sawhorse tables and

a complicated word that mo uses
to describe the red/maroon yarn
woven from limb to ground and back again
shaping space in the cemetery into a temporary
living room
other work is mostly invisible

how alyson and i
waltz in the uneven grass
to the bob dylan song that ty plays
first we oom-pah-pah it
and then we keep doing so with
contact improv antics and flair
my happy place i call out to cynthia
from the bench where moonstar the cat-kitten
curls purred and nodding off in my lap
while the whirls of almost-storm wind
kick up in the branches above
while i watch the cloudsky change
colors and shapes how i
could sit and watch the sky
(with or without cat, but the cat
is half of the sweetness)
for as long as it takes
to change and then
i could watch the stars blink on and
carve their way across night
how the adolescent raccoon and i
both look up to find each other
(heading towards each other along
the same curve of gravel road)
at the same time
and how the raccoon startles into a tree
and i stand cautious-still
then move closer as we staring-contest for a while
until racoon starts
hiding their entire body
behind the trunk but i can still see the skinny arms
reaching up along the trunksides

glimpse of a great grey wingspan

space, lots of space
cynthia says when i ask her
about her trick for roasting potatoes
as we sit to eat the new round wonders
for dinner
the bright orange skin
of citrus in flecks after running
a grater along the rounded fruit surface
sophia smelling snapdragons and asking
the name of the irridescent purple flower
how it takes more hours (the entire afternoon)
than i anticipated
the pleasure of a sharp knife
slicing through the hard/thin skin
and soft insides of a
deglet noor date balanced with
the impatience of
getting it done
mo talking about how she surprised herself
by forgetting and then just remembering
how she fell from a ladder and then
hugged the rough bark of the cedar on the way down
how it scraped her up
and how, in some ways, she kindof liked the falling
unnamed phenomenon: when one kid
sees another kid playing
with a toy of the first kid
who previously did not give two fucks about that toy
loses their shit because
this other kid is playing
with a toy they all of a sudden love so much
it’s almost unbearable
(or how, as an adult
you put a clothing item in the freebox – ready to let it go
and then you see someone else rocking it
and you regret giving it up)
this happens at least once a year
joseph says laughing with crinkly eyes
(that i know are there even though its dark)
about missing the entrance
to the field we drive across to get back to sandhill
and how all of us in the back laugh and laugh again
about the scenario
which, when we choose the wrong entrance,
the wrong field with the drop off,
makes him even more deteremined to do it right
sortof explaining chakras to sophia
on the dusty star-strung ride home
i talk about how the red one
is emergence/life force
and how the blue one
which is about voice and communication
is over the throat
but i’m no expert i say
two owls in two days
i think

to myself with the wind
moving along my arms
and through my hair
in the back of the truck
after i turned to joke with joseph
in the drivers seat and catch
a glimpse of a great gray wingspan
in the shine the headlights cast


Rescuers carry a resident from a flooded building in Chongqing, China. – voice of america, day in photos

of trainwrecking

in the dream:

“have you/
wanted/thought about having/
had a child/
at all?
had a child
once” – written on the back of a photo jenny was giving me
as part of a sharing/revealing of personal things
in a getting-to-know-each-other-deeper question asking effort

she also shares this:  i am on the edge of trainwrecking (or feel like i am) most of the time
and i ask how that is for her, or how it manifests in her days/life.

she makes a fish analogy/joke i don’t understand
we are in a swimming pool in bathing suits
and she says something about being wet/slimy
so i move closer and  it is warm, learning, familiar, connecting.

she shows me a bed that looks almost exactly like the beds my sisters and i had in childhood – same wihite with bronze/gold, but mebbe slightly different design in headboard/footboard) and explains how it is a symbol of starting over and landing in thee new version of herself that i am now getting to meet/know
rumble and rattle of machines digging up the road

(returning gravel to dust)
in order to lay the bright orange fiber optic cable and i wonder
if it wasn’t promising to bring us
faster internet if we might
put up more of a fuss
the thunk thunk thunk accompanied

by the sound of my inhales/exhales
under the sun with gloves on as i
work my way down a row of tomatoes
lifting the weight of the pounder over me
to drop it again and again on each Tpost
until it has dug deep enough into the ground
to stay for a while

weaver i say
to moe trellising the tomatoes
(who says she is
proud of these plants who
for quite a while in all that sitting water looked
like they might not make it though i
never took it that far)
the taste of the first green bean harvest
sauteed in piles of first-harvest garlic
ashby on the ground at my side
and i paused as dusk hits on the back road
listening to a bird sound i don’t recognize and
following the flight of a creature to find
it, silhoutte only, perched above me
how i stand under
for as long as it perches over
to take it in
owl shaped and small
northern whet saw is what i guess
but rachel k says they don’t live here
in the summer

the train shirt
from the san diego collection
(gifted to me from sledge)
that i never brought myself to wear
because it was a smidge too tight
now, perfect, on emory

from the water world:

A man pushes a tub carrying children in a flooded area in Duchang, Jiangxi Province, China. – voice of america, day in photos


A boy puts out a fire at a residential area in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. The fire gutted about 300 houses and left at least 600 families homeless, said a fire officer. – voice of america, day in photos

while we perch

i’ve touched a lot of carrots today
mo says while we
set the harvest in a pile
in the shade before we get to
clipping off the tops
and tossing them in water for a scrub
while we perch on upside down 5 gallon buckets
chimi-churrying 5 pints
out of the half-full 5 gallon bucket
of parsley harvest while mo  plays
the chancha via circuito album
collecting a small handful
of elderberry flowers from the chicken yard
for the chocolate cake mo is making
how the yemayah song helps me
keep count while watering
the lookfar tomato plants that
despite what it looked like before
have made it
emory calling out goodnight frankie
through the front screen of lookfar door
in the last shreds of not-even-light-anymore
and joe saying goodnight too
triple-quadruple wasp sting
i explain the swollenness of my hand
to ty and cynthia in karma kitchen
while the popcorn pops
if you don’t see me in the morning
it means i’ve gone on to wasp land
i say

the very scribble of these details as i
scrawl with my left hand while
i rest my swollen and itching right
on an ice pack
despite which my fingers
still burn and
the swollenness steals my knuckles and
even the bonebump of my wrist

how i know the cedar tree loves me

see this i show emory
the tiny bread pan and say
if you want to work on a mini loaf
side by side with me
we can bake it in this pan
and you can choose to put whatever you want
in it
so he kneads while i knead,
oils the pan in between me oiling mine,
sifts the flour with the sifter while i
sift with the strainer
and then, when it’s time, adds cinnamon, cardamom and sugar
and i can’t help but feel
delight/success about his excitement/investment in helping/working side by side with me
[what i’m trying to say is
if i said: i know what we can do today – let’s bake bread together,
i’m pretty sure he would have said no]
small trickle of sweat
working its way down the front of my calves
when i show emory
whose body is being bounced around in the massage chair
he asks why and i say
it’s a lot of work
to knead for 10 minutes
and then knead for 10 more not to mention
the heat of these days that have been
climbing up into the 90s
thank you tree for holding me so i can be
strong like you and strong like the other
emory and i sing out
literally from the treetop
our voices carrying across the roof of the garden shed
into the mulched beds of south garden
and out over north garden into the flowering elderberry
in the chicken yard
and out across the leaky roof of
the outdoor kitchen which trish called sad the other day
on our garden walk
emory on the ground
holding the yellow plastic 200-foot tape measure
and me climbing higher and higher above him
to where his feet last were when we were both
up in the limbs
while carrying the end of the tape measure with me
and when i call out OK!
how i know the cedar tree loves me:
scratches on my knees
sap-blackened marks on thighs and forearms
pulling little bits of branch and twig
from the nest of my hair
all day long
dottie playing the newest grimes album
in the kitchen while he works on dinner
while i, in the next room over,
work the shredded carrot, the shoyu toasted sunflower seeds, the new green onions and rehydrated sundried tomatoes, the raisins and triple spice mix into the dough
fast as a machine gun emory says about
the heartbeet of the pre-teen duck he just chased down
and clutches in his arms while i
pet this web-footed
along the neck/chest
which seems to be calming/enjoyable/tolerable/ok
if there was a word
instead of it
to talk about water,
a fox,
the wind,
a fawn at the far edge of the pond,
a leaf swirling to the ground
if there was a word
acknowledging the aliveness/interconnectedness
of all things
and we used this word as a pronoun
mo and i wonder
how this might change people’s perceptions/relationships to
all the living things
(only we wouldn’t call them things
we’d call them the word
that means made of spirit)
the gold light
of setting sun
moving through the foliage to the west of north garden
while i bring the cucumbers and flowers water
four gallons at a time

my cloud

7 oclock and sleepy eyed
tookie, cyn, tyler, mo and i
load up in the truck with hoes and files
to slay the cockle burr in field three a
or maybe it’s twelve
how we joke about coming back around
to paint quotation marks around the word puppy
on the free puppy sign
because when we stop to check this free puppy out
this dog is clearly not one (a puppy)
and hasn’t been one for a long time
the half doughnut glazed and
passed up from the back seat as i sip on
some ginger brew
which is what we allow ourselves
after the cockle burr takedown
i’ll slap you with a crepe dottie says
somewhere in the day about something
which i don’t remember at the moment but know
that we were both laughing
the crinkle of the repurposed
tyvek-like cat food bag
as i maneuver it under the presser foot
while sewing the red zipper on
slipping into the sweetness
of an afternoon 1/2 hour nap
before chasing the disc around on the field
on a 95-100 degree heat index day
the rounds of banana i slice and
arrange on the teal plate before
dropping dabs of peanut butter and
drizzling a little cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and salt
on top
the maroon pink of beet juice after i
shred and shred
stickign to my serious summer/trapeze callouses
it would be interesting i say
(after tony tells us about laura and her family
dropping the words my and mine from their vocabulary)
to interview people on which words
they have or would eliminate from their vocabulary
and how that would or does reshape/change things
[for instance, how the idea of ownership,
when dropping my and mine,
is rewritten]
and mica reflects on the word should
and i talk about the word sorry
and then we continue to make jokes

about my cloud
and all the things we should do

speared and tiny

i’ve revolutionized my squishing method
i call out in the squash beds

where the day is already heating up even though
we met to begin at 8 instead of the usual 9
in regards to using the back of the garden clipboard
to press the bronze eggs against
with my finger

speared and tiny we call the pile of
speared and tiny garlic as we
work our way down the beds of the sandhill variety by
moving the impossibly dried/hard lookfar soil
with our digging forks
(by impossible i mean
the exclamation sound baigz gave when
he bent the metal
where the fork joins the handle
trying to lever the soil up
[it comes in chunks] with his body weight)
we should mark it
i say

sticking an orange flag in the ground
where last week we heard a squeak and thought
maybe dottie squashed a mouse
and where this week the squeak is still there
and dottie groans thinking he killed another mouse
but when i pull up the mulch
it is a frog
making small squeaks
holed up in the cool clay
how once dottie does his acceptance speech for
the zinnia award in the spiral we are weeding
the ridiculousness/hilarity is on from there
(difficult to retell but
somehow an exchange/association of rare/fabulous/weird/hilarious words
ensued including: churlish, tumescent, cantankerous
and the word rhombus became an insult)

beige/gray tiny (but very round) snake
shiny as it curves itself through
the growing cactus zinnias

like a double-angled snow plow
how i use my hands
to clear a way through the duckweed before me
as i swim into the newly sandy shore
raccoon (not adult, not baby)
in its black mask white stripes
scuttling along a branch and up the trunk
how i try to call it back out to say hi
because i am struck by seeing its face so clearly
(usually, it’s a blurry  hunched shape
bounding across a street in orange street light glow
as i approach on bike)
how the dust rising from the gravel road i run along
as a propane truck passes
soaks up the orange/gold/pink glow
of near-sunset light

hurling cabbage stems and base leaves
into the cart
and hauling their weight
across the yard
racing the hours of light left
to finish everything i intend to finish today
knowing i won’t but also knowing
i made significant progress
on this miraculously mosquito-less night
(one benefit of drought?)
i sit for at least a half hour
on the leopold bench
in the dark
moonstar curled and sometimes purring
sometimes sleeping and sometimes
resting her hed on my forearm
and watch the fireflies fill the
expanse of night fill in
with their blink/stutter/chorus of light

i say of the sun

i took too much yesterday
i say of the sun when molly notes

my longsleeve button up coverage
daggers in my throat
baigz says

about the symptoms of his sickness
from his couch perch
looking worn
in the morning
the way the cone-shaped cabbages

(caraflex variety mostly) nestle
head by head into each other
as i place them in black crates
to become a total harvest of
approximately 160 pounds

rhada in her small pink crocs
because she is a small sized human
chasing ducklings around in the chicken yard
and how their soft snuffling and cooing-but-not-cooing/squeaking sounds
draw my attention

red earth’s land day gift i joke
about how many of us are covered in
red welty chigger bites
maybe we’ll see the bobcat i say
to cynthia as we ascend slater hill
popcorn bowl in one hand
blanket in another

how from our blanket perch
amongst the persimmon trees
we sky-watch and i note
the feathery clouds resembling
the feathery leaves
of what might be a locust tree
or something else completely
from the water world:
A mural by unknown artists is seen on an abandoned building that used to be a water pumphouse for water from the Jordan River, in the Jordan Valley, Israel – voice of america, day in photos 

Men get soaked by a large wave at the sea front in Mumbai, India. – voice of america, day in photos  

mistaken for a fox

the soreness in today’s forearm telling the story of
yesterday’s work (lifting and rotating
strainer after strainer full of
blanched kale from
boiling pots to the cold water bath
mistaken for a fox at first
the tiny fawn on the far end of the pond
lowering its face to the water for
a long long drink
while trish, baigz and i
dry and dress
after our post-frisbee swim
(which, by the way, is fantastically cool
in this morning time slot)
the fuschia/pink/red skin
of the red norlands we
dig up out of the chicken yard beds and
how, in between hauling filled buckets,
i pause under the mulberry tree reaching
up for a sweet dark purple power pellet
do you want me to keep going? i ask mica
midway through my ‘everything on the to-do list’ ramble
after she asked what is making me so busy
don’t stop she says if it’s helping you
intoxicating mo says
about the subtle-sweet fruity smell
of the season’s first snapdragons
as i hold them up
(light pink/hot red/cream yellow)
for her to inhale
where’d that nooch monster go i say
about emory who, earlier, showed me
the nutritional yeast mountain
he poured on top of
his leftover bagel snack
the mashed up mellow green
of avocados (turned guacamole)
up against the bright! of
slices of yellow pepper arranged in a semi-circle
along the rim of the guacamole bowl
lightning bug
in the not-yet-dark flaring
its glow on the leaf of a
strawflower plant
whose blooms have just come on)
while i tilt the watering can spout
the exhaustion at the end of a day
that started at 8 (in terms of hard work/play)
and ended at 9:30pm
kicking my ass so hard i almost cry
while stepping into the outdoor shower
in the last licks of daylight
on one of the longest days of daylight
(happy belated solstice)

some things
(like the constellations of lightning bugs
flickering on/off
[like music made of light/motion
rather than sound – mutl-part harmonies])
cannot be captured
on film (photo or video)
which means you just have to
sit out there on the bench you made
several springs ago
and lean into it
eyes open to the darkness
laced with light
from the water world:

A man rows along a flooded pedestrian area in Poyang County, Jiangxi province, China.  – voice of america, day in photos



the mountain of de-stemmed kale piling
on karma countertop while two large pots of water
come to a boil
the sheen/glisten of my forearms/tops of my hands as i
hoe the impossible clay-dried soil
around the tepary and edamame plants
in lookfar garden
the first time someone (our visitor) says it:
while digging potatoes in north garden
suck on them til they turn clear emory explains
of the black jelly beans in the ziploc
and in his mouth
the turquoise/sea green colors of mica’s
shredded/tied shirts
(land day special) layered on top
of each other

guomi berries darien shows us
and we eat the ones that are starting to shrivel
as he explains they are the cultivated version
of autumn olives after which
i can’t stop saying guomi
for the rest of the night

how we joke about slapstick comedy
(meaning – you make a weird joke about
how i look good in my place [as i wash dishes
at the sink] and then i get a stick
and slap you with it)
as the dust rises from the road as we walk
away from red earth land day
and the four wheeler whines past us going
in the other direction,
how the sky peaches and goldpinks
under veil cloud layers
hottest it’s ever been in tucson
on this date in 21 years she says
of the 116 degrees the day was made of
the smallness/softness/close-seekingness
of this shiny black cat curled and purring
in my lap as i write this in headlamp light
so i can watch the lightning flash/flicker in
through the windows