the orangest fruits

the small pile of presents
wrapped in pastels
and edited with cut-out hearts
so that the recycled toilet paper wrapping
doesn’t say who gives a crap over and over
on the presents

wrapped for the apocolypse juniper jokes
while working apart the paper taped
to the boxes that hold
the home-sewn tarot pouch
the best earl gray tea
and one book and one book
juniper on the phone talking to the astrologer
while i pluck the orangest fruits of the sungold selects
off the vines


lisi-cat chasing the crinkly-sounding paper
around the kitchen
sliding over and over again
into the rug in front of the sink
like a softball player sliding into home base

we stop on our way out of the cemetary
to touch the pine limb
fallen from it’s trunk
so huge around
it looks like a trunk itself
we tack our fingers
with the sap
that gathers
on the splintered edges
utlizing the double spatula move
to slide the top two of three layers
of lemon poppyseed cake back
onto the first layer they slid off of
slicked up with lemon curd

it’s hard to light the zero,
it has no beginning, no endpoint i say
while the 5 sparkler candle is already going
on top of the cake
and the 0 sparkler candle
refuses to take

are we high tamara asks
in the middle of the absurd conversation
that is loosely based around theories
we feel to be true
and provide the evidence
to back them up


no one’s ever done that for me before she says
of the birthday extravaganza in multiple parts
you taught me i reply


the business of getting strong

lisa in the cheese aisle
joking about how someone told her not to eat
for the next seven days (her wedding approaching)
and laughing about formwear

the babybaby lettuce on the thoreau porch in the sun
fluttering back and forth in the wind
this is the business of getting strong

revving and motor hums and the drone of traffic
carried on wind
coming in from the west

the brightness of the red geranium
drawing the green glimmer of hummingbird close

like a tornado siren
how the cicada song
swells and fades,
swells and fades

cut into the shape of a heart

all day a crunchy crust feeling
on my cheeks/eyeballs
most likely allergies
but maybe sadness too
how i say
i still want to share family with you
and it is so true

the ball of plastic wrap
(just smaller than a kickball)
that i dropkick to sarah
and she in her barefeet and apron
dropkicks back
how it fills us with laughter
with lightness
after a long day of good hard work

a note on the pillow
cut into the shape of a heart
that says
you are precious to me



the vibrantest

in the early morning light
juniper and i leaning in close
on the office floor
i never want you to stop being family to me
she says
i never want you to stop being family to me
i say back

from the deepest clearest part of me –
from the aquifer in me
where the 10,000 year old fresh water lives

the patches of shade moving fast
across the fields
as the sun pulls and pushes the puffs of clouds
quickly overhead
while i eat lunch
on the grassy lunch spot
in the coolest august air
want to watch them when i get home i say

the marred red peppers
i pull from the headed-to-the-compost wheelbarrow
grateful that no one has dumped them out
in proper end-of-day fashion
have you ever disliked people you work with
sarah asks while we, side by side, make our way down
the old onion beds pulling plastic sheets up from
the earth
which i think is a really interesting question
and end up answering with
i usually like most people i’ve worked with
but sometimes they say things  i don’t agree with

i think the canvas has ripped off the top
of the swingset
juniper says
thermoses of hot tea and a blanket
she says
for stargazing
the low rainbow that appears

after the sudden short storm
just like in juniper’s dream from last night,
and then later
the double rainbow
as seen from the gravel drive/road
outside the trailer
the vibrantest colors
double-bowing itself across sky
until a hot white neon snake of lightning
sends us under the carport
in our raincoats
juniper saying i’m scared in spanish
tengo miedo


save a slice of summer

in the dream, it had become morning
sun was streaming in
the brightness everywhere –
the walls, the floors, your face
and you say
i feel better this morning,
the light, the daytime makes things seem ok, face-able, do-able

john and paul (10 and 12)
find me in my secret (not so secret, but out of the way) lunch spot
in between sniffles (thank goodness)
to deliver a brownie with too much chocolate chips
on evergreen’s last work day

georgie the cat
playing with a mouse (or vole)
when we come back to the pack shed
with crates full of zukes and cukes

lisi cat (who has his own theme song)
deciding to choose my lap
instead of his pillow
to curl up on


juniper slicing big tomatoes
while  i slice little ones
so we can save a slice of summer
for a chillier later date


the long wave of change

the one fast and low cloud
seen from orange couch lounge
scooting along
overlaying the stippled and still clouds
in the background behind it

the eggs that go half eaten
with cheese and kimchi
on the table all day
alongside a nibbled quarter of a waffle
smothered in peanut butter and maple syrup

i want to stay right here
in this moment
(on this orange couch
under this orange blanket)
i say teetering on the edge

of the long wave of change
we’ve been riding

my pale face
in the bathroom mirror
a throb/ache in my head
my heart
a quease in my gut


the baba ganouj that’s too lemony
the august that’s too cool
the juniper in her grief
on the floor
held up by the couch and chowski
and the frankie in her grief
held up too,
holding  on
leaning in
longing for a less painful way
to do this
complicated dance of being
a complicated human
wondering what movement i’m making
what lessons
i’m practicing here
what is pattern
and what is growth


smell of simple green
swirled in the tub
where i wipe down the fridge shelves
while juniper scrubs and empties and scrubs


how would you like to sleep juniper asks
like we always do i reply
but i understand if you don’t want to

more glitter than you can shake a stick at

juniper and i
costumed up in the photo booth
making faces
at the camera
more rainbows than you can count
swirling about
(as banners, as capes, on pins, on facepaint)
and more glitter than you can shake a stick at

how we real-dance and goof-dance
under the swirling lights,
some of them black lights
that neon our shoes,
our shirts

tired and celebratory
doing our exit dance is so fun
we do it again
enter and exit the dancefloor
dance in one door, dance out the other
because we can
and on the way home
i try to find a word for it
a name for it
how being in the presence of gathered queers
can make others feel welcomed
in a way that being in no other space does

rectangles of sun

windows down a little bit
sun shining
in the cool august morning as i drive into town
heart and soul by T’pau on the radio
surprising me by sounding
ridiculously good

another lawn mower
this one off to the west
maybe a little north
but not so loud that i can’t hear
the crickets
the cicadas
the grasshoppers
in the yard around us

the rectangles of sun
falling through the porch lattice
onto my shoulders, my neck, the notebook page,
and onto the bluegray painted porch floorboards
not confused lisa says conflicted maybe
but not confused

the milky way view
out the back trailer door
how we lean out to scoop it in
to our bones, our spirits, our hearts

one weirdly shaped tomato

by bulldozers and broken men one of the students writes
on the front porch
about a last stand of untouched trees
juniper balancing one weirdly shaped tomato
on top of the other weirdly shaped tomato
at the kitchen table noting
that it is their weird shape
that makes the balancing act possible

slipping off into sleep in all that orange
(wrapped in orange blanket on orange couch)
knowing we’re both ready
to move on out

the dizzying rhythms

maybe ‘wrench’ is her nickname i say to justin
while we bag up onions
into the green plastic mesh
when talks about a fellow student
using the word wrench instead of wretch
i say this not to implicate that she is a wretch
but because wrench sounds like a cool nickname

the melon toss we employ
for harvesting the heavy fruits
and sending them across the field
without having to lug
an impossibly heavy tote

the dizzying rhythms
of the dance back and forth
between the cherry tomatoes and onions
as we assembly-line-fill
this week’s csa boxes,
la vina to my left on cukes and zukes
and amy across the way on eggplant
the waxy  gluey stuff on the tips of lisi’s cat ears
that i scrape/brush off
with the furminator
while he tries to lick away at it

birdie on the other end of the phone
all words and laughs and language
birdie on the other end of the phone
growing up two time zones away