and this broadness

the blue envelope
that one might say has become iconic
found tucked in the green file folder
between the recipe for veggie masala and a carrot-beet salad recipe

i turn the pages reading the tales
of an emotional day laborer
who, when she deconstructs the rolly table, is really deconstructing
all the ache


to answer bruin’s famous question
what does it feel like in your body i say
movement in my limbs
like clouds
but not how clouds move across sky
but more like when their shape is swirling
within itself
it’s like that
and who knew
there could be grief
for everything
including for the woodgrain
in the floorboards underneath my bare and dirty feet

all of us gathered again
around the seat-bench-turned-table
over lunch trading eclipse tales and how
good it feels for this to feel good
and this broadness
of our collective bodies
shouldering the weight

the great green swirl
of parsley and oregano and thyme and garlic and olive/veggie oil and salt and vinegar and the tiniest dash of chipotle
while it whooshes in the cuisanart
under the mood night lighting
in karma kitchen
mama cat curled and splayed
in my blanket-wrapped lap
(the blanket – fleecey and made of blue and stars)
on my porch under the past-half-not-yet-full moon
swelling sky
a pair of chopsticks at angles to each other
on the sandy/dusty porch floorboards
must have been here a while
but no longer than a day,
how we all eat lunch around them
and these chopsticks, in the book of codes, are code for what might feel like
the unsayable


eric holding the candle just so
for the yoda shadow effect
in the sangha before we four
sit together once again
i want to be in your moonlight

and somewhere
meteors are dazzling their way
across a night sky
earthbound and face in the sky

before it is airborn

fox tail seedheads brush/scratching my face, arms, thighs as i lean in
to tug and yank
from the headers and beds
of south garden
my feet gathering dirt
from all the shaken-out-from-the-roots soil 
being tossed about

the cicada in the peach tree i disturb
just by walking past
how it buzz-buzz-flaps
(like something that needs to take a running start)
and swirls in a few little circles – bumping up against branches
before it is airborn away from me
how we joke about the rooster always piping up which means
we never get to hear what the orange hen has to say
i like the precision, it’s satisfying i say of using the 1/4 teaspoon to measure salt for each quart of tomato juice
and the teaspoon to measure salt
for each quart of pulp
and eric says he finds satisfaction in guessing
we should start a business together i joke
and we laugh for what feels like the first time all day
the white bowl that i pour a pyrex full of fresh cooked tomato juice into
that eric and i take turns sipping out of in karma kitchen
(he’s a good slurper)
where the two ginormo pots of tomatoes cook down
and the one hot water bath heats up
sunset walk report:
at first, the cloud is a band pulled across that molten orb – and the band has squares punched out of it
and the orange blocks of light coming out of the punched out squares make me think of windows in a row like on an airplane
then the band is a teenage mutant ninja turtle’s mask
the sun’s eyes glowing out
and then, as it the sun sinks and the cloud goes from a holed thing to a solid thing
there are just two shreds of light hot pink and then,
as one might suspect with a sunset,
they are gone
mica and i laughing to tears about selling off things like
the duct-taped handle karma kitchen whisk
as one way of making a living when it comes down to
being just me and the five cats
real hippies used this is how mica suggests i market it
as well as highlighting the added nutritional value (enzymes?) of the food bits that are surely to be caked on during the time of sale
it is tonight that i notice
(even though it surely has been going on for at least four or so days)
that it seems to be the official end
of firefly season
one wish i bestow
for a particular forty-thirteenth-eighth birthday:
many meteor-like glimmers
flashing across your sky
for the rest of the year

from the water world:

A boy jumps into a public pool on a hot day in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. – voice of america, day in photos

out of our wearying

a small wing
on the south-facing window’s sill
transluscent and shiny
and lined with orangey/light brown veining/webbing
the black locust pod on the edge of the gravel road i’m running
how i jump back because of its coiled and upright looking-like-a-snack-in-attack-mode appearance
and i, who am normally not alarmed by snakes
and think of my tendency to freeze rather than fight or fly
am comforted
by this proof of instant and quick reaction
of my animal brain
in true secret-sister language style
ami and i develop the code
mouse trap for the parent trap-like switcheroo solution
that will lead us with ease
out of our wearying and complex human conundrums
the black and white image i’ve had for years
of a photocopy of a magazine-found-photo
of a woman who looks like grandma 
(in size/shape and clothing – stockings, skirt/dress whose hem lands between knees and ankles, plus a button down sweater on top and maybe even
a babushka)
walking with her back to the camera
up a country-looking driveway/road
to a country-looking house
lined by some country-looking orchards
and backdropped by a country-looking mountain
placed somewhere prominent because
it feels like the old world
that janina never wanted to leave
and therefore
sings alive in my bones too

michael obryan tuning in from philly
it’s not about what’s wrong with someone,
it’s about what’s happened to them
we don’t often think of people’s growth and joy and building skills (their human flourishing) as addressing trauma
someone else later quoting someone else saying
if you’re not at the table,
you’re on the menu

she says she’s glad to help me
on my quilting adventure, and i say
in whatever time we are connected directly in this universe on this planet, i hope i don’t stop learning you
from the water world:

People wade along a flooded street during heavy rain showers in Mumbai, India. – voice of america, day in photos

when marking the beginnings

a name for working on one task of a multi-task process and rather than being grounded and centered in the work at hand, the sense of
being swept up in the stress of not being able to do all the other steps at once but trying anyway
which reminds me a little of reading fast through a book and skipping over details and dialog
just to see what happens next
it gives us something to talk about i joke woth rhonda at the post office
who’s back to working til noon
instead of the luxurious (for customers) 2:45
and who has no idea why it all got switched again
emory who looks so tall
with his poofy bun and wild hair and blue shirt with some comic/superhero characters on it over red shorts
that i glance down to make sure he’s not wearing heels or platforms
and then later at dinner i hear myself saying that famous adult line
i think you grew in the week you were away
we got a wasp! i call out to baigz
who’s not far down the road
where i open the big green mailbox
to see what’s inside
i call them acorns she says
of the dots often referred to as bullets
when marking the beginnings of items
in a written list
first, a rollicking round of the heart warrior song and then
now, dr., your sequinned mask
(i’m glad you’re here to operate, dr. danger, my heart has been waiting a long time)
from the water world:

Interstate highway 45 is submerged from the effects of Hurricane Harvey seen during widespread flooding in Houston, Texas. – voice of america, day in photos

under the almost

playing in this morning’s sky-theater:
a series of rumblings –
sets of thunder  
entering stage left
sortof scaffolded
how the downpour
during cat-feeding/chicken-feeding/dog feeding time
turns purple skirt
and how the subsequent downpours after that mean
cycling through three pairs of shoes
until i pull on the quarter-of-a-size too-snug muck boots (ahem)
and tromp my way through too-tall grass
persimmon season
 i say to myself
upon seeing the first fruits (not yet orange – a dusty green) 
fallen onto wet ground just down the path
leading away from cool ranch

season signal:
pulling light blue wool socks onto
rain-cold (and toweled off) feet,
a name for this first-time-in-months certain quality of cozyness
how the image of building a boat out of glitter sticker paper
is exactly what this seriously noah’s ark of a day needs
might be the last year
 stan says
while grabbing yet another fried fish hunk
from the pan of them
the last year he is referring to
is of sorghum (starting, transplanting, weeding, stripping, harvesting, syurping) 
(place symbol here that signals deep pause and heavy hit)


i wouldn’t give dean shit like i gave eric shit – dean’s got the senior VIP
i joke about how i asked eric if he indeed meant girl or woman 
when he said his friend was dating this girl
and later we are all laughing when
dean and stan (age 70) are calling each other boy and kiddo,
and also when dean says where the old folks live  talking about sandhill
(the oldest being me at 41, and everyone else in their thirties and twenties and nines)
nodding off while
swirled in the blanket layers
of cool ranch treehouse nest
under the almost-goldglow string of lights
fingers on the keys leaving me with these:


from the water world:

A stranded motorist escapes floodwaters on Interstate 225 after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas Gulf coast with rain causing mass flooding, in Houston, Texas. – voice of america, day in photos

Indian devotees immerse an idol of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh in the Indian ocean at Pattinapakkam beach in Chennai. – voice of america, day in photos

the heartbreak and hope of it all

the three small zinnias and the tiny card (a list of wishes) i leave
on the passenger seat for sharon’s 59th

sharon in the teal blue leaving a chocolate cake/cookie on my table
and later talking about climate change – the heartbreak and hope of it all
and the much-needed sense of empowerment
that all the lobbying brings
elliot with the swirling planet/star/space nebulae
under the brim of their hat
sitting across the card table telling me
about the qualities of clearness and quiet they carry with them
from the lakes and towering trees of northern minnesota’s woods

the $50 check left
in my donation box
for the poem about the new church
(the church of listening to one’s body,
the church of giving backc the old edicts,
the church of feeling wind in hair and gathering light and letting go of all the old stories
that no longer serve

transformation is a bitch says the woman
on the edge of pheonixing
whose face is so light and warm and filled with ease
while she tells me
about the six year relationship
with someone who consistently says things about her
that are the opposite of honoring
and there is no way of keeping him
from killing himself if he so desires
which he very well might do
i’m getting out she says

and then there’s the 19 year old who knows
way more about herself than i did at that age
saying how she’s learning
to not worry about being young
and not knowing everything yet

she just showed up on the porch one day
with all the scars
and she stayed
says xavier of the black/white pitbull i’m writing the poem for
her patches of fur missing
in long lines that span the width of her neck
and other clumps too
further down her body

being more honest more often i say to adam in front of the courthouse
on kirksville’s town square where people take apart tents and tables around us
i am speaking about where all the brink-of-big-changes (and everything leading up to it)
has gotten me

never seen one like that says the early 20s cashier
at the pet food store
about the text tattoo racing stripe
that follows the length of my arm
i like it
through the trees, a light in the west
everything else dark except for some constellations
and that parchmenty moonslice served up
swelling somewhere between crescent and half full
on velvet sky

she, the very quotable

i believe in the power of the possible she,
the very quotable, saysS
and i like to imagine banners of this phrase
hanging everyhwere

laughing about the peanut butter cup bridge
constructed by laying peanut butter cup after peanut butter cup
side by side to build a bridge linking
us from here to there while she says
i’m a good student – that’s my orientation to the world
usually, someone else shakes me loose
 she says
which makes me think of teeth
and the seven of bones
and the five of bones too
i don’t want to be narrow/ed
i say
not wanting to be pinned down
by what the answers might say
about me