from here we hear

we begin practicing sabbath
by setting no alarms
from here we hear no alarms
from here, we hear morning
from here, we move into a day
not of not doing, but of not scheduled
wilted cucumber vines
sprawled in north garden that only two days ago
were green and thriving
bacterial wilt mo says later
while we toss ripe cucumbers
onto nearby bed mulch
she talks about the shape of her sabbatical year:
less/no time on the internet
a silent retreat
no dating
home for sunset/sunrise
the bowl of jujubes – desert food –
that rachel presents for the partaking post-dinner
chewy and sortof sweet/perfumey
and how when the fruit and my body meet
they agree/like each other
a desertwards beckoning
smell of sunscreen
whose too-chemicalness
makes me something like wistful
in these pre-departure hours
kelsey and i empathizing with/echoing each other
when we both don’t know how to say
exactly what grad school (mfa) did to us
and our stories/our poems
a miniature horse she reminds me
what i jokingly named last night
as the sourch of the mystery animal sounds
not far into the trees outside my window
where the weather usually comes from i say
pointing west
wave swell of sweet/sad seeing
elliot in the gold light
upon back yard stump pen in hand
glancing upwards in the afterdinner quiet
a small window for me to arrive – open – into
on front porch laughing into dusk as we
pass the basket of nouns and clap out
our affirmations

lying on the sharp edges of gravel
under night sky
thunderless lightning
flickers above us
at arms length she says
and later while working on her bike
past midnight
what she really wants to ask is
will you hold me

who steers and who motors

the flowers and the cats i say
those are my happy places
i don’t know if you know
i say while chopping garlic as fine as i can get it
but i’m a kitchen top
explaining my request for the hummus she’s assembling
to be smooth and creamy
canoeing around in the pond
in wafts of sunscreen scent
em at the front
rachel in the middle
and me in the rear
how we take time to work out
who steers and who motors
(after so many sundays of me
paddling solo)
and the pond isn’t big enough
to really land the collaboration/rhythm


the pause i take in the midst of the
almost-intolerable busy-busy
to squat in / be held by
the two towering rows
of trellised tomatoes
to really taste the ripe red round
of the cosmonaut volkov tomato
cupped in my hand
at the fact that i did this,
we did this
(in collaboration with seeds, sun, soil and water)
and how this pause helps me re-set/
is like an attitude adjustment)

the quick exchange of eyes
rachel and i give each other
when the topic of mention
is a rice cooker

rachel and frankie in tyler’s handwriting
on a sticky note
on the red-lidded pyrcx
which we come home to
at the end of the night
(and inside: some sweet apple pecan cake magnificence
that we dig our sppons into
with deliciousness)

the 7 quarts of just-pickled okra
lined up (in anticipation of sealing)
on karma counter
and the 7 quart-bags
of  just blanched and cooled broccoli
i pack and store in teh walk in freezer
we love you dottie! i call out
from the sweet small audience
gathered under shelter
of the critter kitchen in the hours
of golden last light
gilding the oval leaves
of the gargantuan tree
behind dottie strumming/singing
the kid who in the middle of the show
turns wide-eyed and scared-sad calling for his mama
who said she’d be back soon
how we pause under the miky-wayed sky
and i say other people have shown me
(meaning crestone, meaning taos)
but i don’t hold/carry them
when rachel asks about constellations
take a sort of sabbath i say
about tomorrow

the momentum will carry me (celebrating/serenading)

hills mica says jacob says
about the 71 mile  journey before us as we pedal west on M
and i try to suggest something like
maybe by hills he just means
little dips in the road
not to untell a truth but to

undo the sense of being daunted
and although mica insists there are hills
i go with the little dips in the road theory
in order to feel powerful/empowered
instead of defeated
as we shove off
the four raccoons
(1 adult, three babies)
parading off the shoulder of the
county highway
creeping into the cornfield and
climbing the electric pole to hide

trumpet vine in bloom
taking over a skeletal barn whose wood siding
has turned almost silver
with time and sun
the red-tailed hawk and its scream
as it flies above/alongside as i pedal
and how it brings me, about 20 miles into our journey
to a few tears
and how this depth/connection
is a thing i’m always seeking

entering schulyer county
i pronounce/read outloud: shoolyear
which mica pronounces skyler
(which is how the locals say it)
which is exactly how it goes around here
something about learning the finesse of
picking up speed as much as i can on the down hill
so that when it turns into an uphill
the momentum will carry me

the bag of cheezits mica holds open
and the junction of highway d and t
as the three of us pause
for water and saltifying
the unnamed phenomenon of how
on a long hike or ride
the simplest non-extraordinary food
becomes a thing you didn’t even know you were craving
until you put it in your mouth
and it explodes with deliciousness
mica and rachel in the heat
of the mid/late day pedaling and singing behind me
push it
as we round one of the final bends
on d
the turkey vulture that doesn’t
want to leave its roadkill racoon
holding its stubborn stance on the blacktop
as rachel swiftly approaches and how it
lifts into flight at the very
last minute
how i laugh about posting the detail of
a fellow biker who shall remain anonymous
saying her crotch/bike shorts
smell like a dead animal

the thin thread of light
at the time of day when the glow
begins to get softer, becomes more gold
falling through the slats of the cow-barn siding
where rachel and i detour for some stillness
the marching band jam of
horns! and drums! and maracas!
celebrating/serenading us
upon our arrival
is one of the things i love
about this place
new soundscape on the farm:
bleat of goats in the distance
rising from the chicken yard

then the light breaking

post-frisbee, trish, baigz and i
walk past the sound of piano
drifting out the common house
and then turn back to join
the player (whose name i don’t remember,
but is visiting from fairfield)
on drum/percussion and in costume
for one song
like a flashmob
and just as quickly as we came/played/brought rhythm
we leave

the plunk of the season’s
first tomatillos
landing at the bottom of a five gallon bucket
as i work my way up/down the rows
of plants who came back (along with the tomatoes)
from the edge of not lookin so hot at all
a great spill of metal pipe parts
on the kitchen table/floor as joseph
works to install a new on-demand water heater
that means we will no longer be living life on the
“i almost burned my hair off/
almost blew my face off/
almost burned the kitchen down” edge
at dinner attempting
to explain the cultural pheomenon to em
of why we wear shoes
in public

that sky
as seen from look-far garden where i weed
scarlet-edged cloud and
then the light breaking through
first night in weeks
that moonstar’s meow isn’t heard
on the other side of the window screen
most likely because
she is fighting infection
and feeling what my mom would call crummy

shreds of flourescent

how we slog our way through
a damp but not soggy wet field
digging up the smallest potatoes
that make us ask each other
the worth-it-ness of it all

have i ever told you you’re my heeero
i sing to a potato that i hold up to the sky
in my hand and follow with a like that?
to mo who says that
these potatoes (and their growth)
make her proud
birdie catwell (the cat kitten) trotting
around outside the greenhouse
with a grasshopper
clamped between her teeth
the way, with use, the typewriter migrates
in an arc to the left across the desk as i
punch the keys which means i reposition the machine
every quarter page or so
moonstar, the other cat kitten
hacking up a lung
on the other side of my window screen
and the snotty sneezing
signs of infection that keep her
from being the self i know
(meaning – instead of seeking her
#1 favorite thing in the world [cuddles/closeness]
she wanders off out there into the dark)
on the run out, the shreds of flourescent pink
stretched across sky and on the run back
i pass through shadowed patches
under the tree canopy that spreads over the gravel road
and there is something good
(for body/brain)
about the reliance this brings
on other senses (besides sight)
to guide me through

in our rookie-ness, we can only guess

car after car i lift my
left hand from handlebars to do the
two-finger wave while drivers-past
respond with the same
pheasant perhaps or maybe
young wild turkey
scuttling across road
and hopping into flight
where the road flattens out on its way
to the river and perhaps the red streak
i encountered earlier was a dog but perhaps
was a fox
perched under
several bendy-over blades of grass
coming off one stalk on the greenhouse ground,
an olive-green toad-frog
with its pigeon-toed front feet
and pulsing throat
like an illustration
from a childrens book that also
features faeries
baigz in the safety orange helmet (with face and ear protection)
and chaps, chainsaw in hand
working the blade through the
just-cut limb thick enough to be a trunk
how he steps back
in surprise and to share/show
it gushing (literally, not just dripping) sap
clear liquid rushing quickly out
how this is a pause
we take
how about that for a state fair competition
trish calls out about
the trowel-throwing
in our attempt to toss a rope over
a tall big branch in the tree
(trowel tied to rope end)
in order to do our limb-cutting
(rope draped over taller branch
while also being tied to the lower branch
that is being cut and will come undone swinging)
and how i cannot help but laugh
that gutteral laugh
when i imagine someone driving by
and encountering this scene
without context
(a group of us standing around
watching and looking up into the tree
as the trowel-thrower winds up
and takes a toss
and how we take turns)
how so much of the morning
is us looking up with craned necks while baigz
handsaws and chainsaws and gets his footing and yet
there is a sense we are all needed
as one of us holds the ladder and the other two
keep a hold on the rope and another
is filling up the truckbed with fallen limbs
and we all hold our breath a little
because in our rookie-ness
we can only guess
which way the limb might fall and/or swing and
there are rooftops and
firewood sheds and windows and angry wasps
and ladders and faces and hands
to be considered

trish and i weaving
colors through with our fingers
our hands as looms
threads of greens and bark color and
safety orange
your impulse buy i say of the
snack size snickers
is in disguise i say of the
blue bag they are wrapped in
like skinning an animal mo says
about how we cut through the siberian elm bark
in order to peel it from the limbs
and then score it where we want to fold
and bind the edges to make


aristotle was there

the tiny faerie house
em and i build
on the dirt ground
inside the fortsythia
i like how we
hang out and talk there in the tunnel of shade
before moving along
forks we call the forked branches
that are the main posts
of our faerie dwelling

emory, curious and fascinated
with plenty of questions
about maverick and goose and ice man
and how goose died and who was fighting who

while he holds his lego copter/drone and
i tell him the plot (from what i can remember)
of top gun
how i build color blocks
with the legos as emory
finagles with the drone/plane
and how we admire each others’ work
just after freestyling about
the grates and the finishers
(which are two types of lego pieces
he keeps filed away in his
plastic sorter container)

so uh, what kind of take-out are you
ordering for lunch tyler jokes
about our ongoing joke of
being in cubicle town
(him in stan’s room working on organic
inspection reports and me at the living room table
punching/crunching numbers
for farm accounting for the past two months
in about 5 minutes i say
about how long it took the 90-something degree swelter
to cool to 70something or maybe even the high 60s
when the cold front swooped in followed by
a short fury of a storm

the green shapes of leaves
as seen from inside the greenhouse
where they are plastered on the opaque roof
after being ripped by storm winds
from their branches
aristotle was there mom says
about the production
which is a play on grease
named greece lightning

when i kick the bucket
you won’t have to do much digging
just a small hole dad says/jokes
about how a trowel will do
because he wants to be cremated
(or donate his body to research)


sweating already on the frisbee field
at 9am ted says in the endzone
that mitribah, kuwait and basra, iraq
both reached 129 degrees fahrenheit yesterday
which, later, the internet tells me is
highest temperature ever recorded on earth

getting moist ted says
sweat glistening on all our skins and soaking
our clothes
and it’s about to get moister i call back
as we are about to make our way to the pond
don’t know mica says if that’s possible
turns out it’s pretty shallow over here
i call out from where i just jumped off the dock

and appeared to have plummeted into watery depths
only to be standing on the bottom
with the water up to my hips
the still-warm glasses of tomato juice
that stan pours mo and i
in gigi’s blue kitchen
before the three of us toast
(and dottie toasts too
with an invisible glass)
and sip the salted goodness slow

thwarted multiple times
on our ice cream hunt we finally choose a
6-cone pack from the freezer section
of jay’s
the deep fuschia
of the experimental kraut
(cabbage, beets, onions, carrots, apple)
as i transfer it from
crock to jars
joseph and i
from behind our sewing machines
exchanging amused eyes
as emory sings
i’m a cowboy
on the steelhorse i ride
and i’m wanted
dead or alive
into the box fan
that chops his voice up into little pieces
and sends it back out at him
a name for what the sun/sky is doing as i
harvest mottled tomatoes and
nearly perfect cherry tomatoes
in south garden
while dottie wheels around on that mower
breaking through perhaps
or maybe goldening or
and a name/word for what this light does

as it lands in the treetops

in the very last light of the day
after wrestling (only not really wrestling)
tomato limbs into their trellising
i walk the zinnia spiral
(flowers fireworking)

which is where i find
my breath again
i’m not writing about bullets
and black bodies
not because i don’t want to
but because
i don’t know how

in the humid aftermath

loud thunder cracking
across sky
out-running the lightning
as i slowly roll into wake
on this day slated for tree-trimming/felling
joseph-made buttermilk pecan pancakes
how i chow one down and put one on a plate
with a ramekin of sorghum
to deliver
you do a lot of work here
she says after spending some weeding time
in the north garden tomatoes
i respect that / you
rachel in the kitchen
levering bike tire away from wheel
as i peel skin from the beets and sift
flour with the steel crank sifter
and when i ask for the story
behind the blue/yellow jersey shirt she
says when i was in sri lanka
i played on this professional sri lankan cricket team

and how i believe her for a moment before asking
fifty miles, eleven hours
her dad says

when i ask about the ultra-marathon
and when i ask about training he says
it’s a lifestyle
and how, when he comments on the farm,
i joke, it’s not a lifestyle – we’re in training
five mosquito bites in less than five minutes
on my way to harvest small handfuls of parsley
and a simple bouquet
(of strawflowers, globe amaranth and
one dahlia)
in the humid aftermath of this morning’s rain
on a quiet day
i can hear her breathing
a new world is possible
she’s on her way
how we stumble at first
with the timing and pitch
but soon enough
over the dinner we are about to eat we
are singing the three part round
the tiniest of tiny pieces i request
of the challah we feed each other
shabbat-style around the butcher block
with the braid of bread baigz baked
what’s the thing
you are most afraid to tell me
mo sharing the thing
isaak says to her
while we color and embellish the
swim like a fish, emory poster
for tomorrow’s meet

the best thing about earphones is
that no one else can hear
and i laugh/smile to myself
at the songs pandora throws me
on the eye of the tiger playlist
(including but not limited to
guns and roses, motley crue,
def leppard, guns n’ roses)
while i send the elastic through the machine
stitching harness by harness
into the late-ish night
from the water world:


A Filipino girl takes a dip in a used tire at a vulcanizing shop in suburban Manila, Philippines. – voice of america, day in photos