encounters with the wild lives

never, until this morning, have i stepped out onto my porch to stand within three feet of a bat
as the bat cleans themselves
the quick flicks of their tiny pink-red tongue
and the bathing movements similar to that of a cat and bird

we’re on a mission! emory says as we paddle our way
around the pond searching for tangled fishing line
that we pull out of the willows

no real exact words
for the pom pom burst of milkweed blooms – sturdy purple-white flowers
and their powdery lilac-ish-but-not smell
filling the room in which i dwell
where they are tucked in a small clear bottle
next to photos of some of the dearest
who have passed on


i learned them as potty shots i say to emory who calls them granny shots
which i, in response, call them grampy shots
and we sometimes count from one to three and then say shoot while we simultaneiously each hurl a ball towards the net

the small bouquet i arrange including day lilies
for a father whose first father’s day in 40-some or 50-some years
goes on without his daughter alive

like a surgeon and their assistant  i say of emory, the lego assembler, and i, the piece-gatherer
as we follow our way through the instruction booklet
for the blue car with monster-ish wheels that, once assembled, one can pull back and then release
to set the vehicle in motion
like going to church i say of my encounters
with the wild lives
that come into close range of my woodsy-edged dwelling
not the kind of church i am forced/expected to go to
but the kind of weird church i make 
and choose


tropical  say of the sunset, which is this florida beach spring break neon pink orange kinds of colors
all under an arrangement of purple gray clouds
against powder blue sky


in the shade under

the flecks of rainbow
scattered across the desk as i write this
morning light moving through prism

and he’s everywhere on the court, people!  i call out
in my commentator voice as emory and i shoot hoops in the gravel road/driveway
and emory says it (‘everywhere’) sounds like ’emorywhere’ 
so i keep announcing saying
emorywhere is emorywhere on the court, people! it’s amazing!

too cold  i say of the pond
but before i know it, emory and i are floating
around on the huge innertube and then
each of us on our own tube tossing
the basketball
splashing in the water

the quart of dried persimmons
(harvested from this very land a year or two ago)
that darien passes around at the weekly meeting
taking place in the shade
under the cedar tree
dottie and i joking in the early-night kitchen
about salted butter as an ancient grain, a superfood

Cars are submerged in a flooded road as heavy rainfall hits Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. – voice of america, day in photos

the long legs of the distance animal

every day it’s a gettin closer
going faster than a roller coaster
weeds like these will
surely go away
i sing in the asparagus patch
that the crew of us works our way through
pulling weeds (sometimes taller than us)
that, when piled together
tower at at least 7 feet
we work our way
down the edamame plucking
only the plump-beaned pods
and leaving the rest
and then up/down the look far tomato weeds and then
up/down the brassica leaves
all the while trading updates
of people and place

the reaching leaves of the okra
touching/brushing my back as
i crouch under to lean in
to the parsley i cut
with my favorite knife
whose blade curves
like a J
sadness is a gift
mo says to closeness
as i lean into it
which i follow by naming trees:
american persimmon
siberian elm
red maple

the long legs of the
distance animal mo drew
on a white piece of paper that she
gifts me
style! we keep calling
on the b-ball court (also known as a
gravel driveway)
while incorporating things like
elbows and handstands and moonwalking
into our technique

the parchment/gold glow
of the almost-half-moon
reflected on the clear plexiglass
of the baskbetball hoop backboard

the braided rope (hammock) marks pressed
into liana’s shoulder blades
and the back of sancho’s upper arms

the un-funny jokes we read
around the butcher block from
emory’s pinata-score candy (laffy taffy)
the single leaf of sage
whose edge glows red
and whose smoke i weave around
the cards
my body
(including bottoms of bare feet)
the doorway

carefully we build

the sylvan esso song and the
proposed three-song dance party
which turns out to be a two-song dance party
for one
whisper-yell each time
either one of us makes a shot
IT”S A WILLY NILLY SHOT he whisper yells out
in his sports announcer voice…
carefully we build
the blanket fort with three chairs and
two big blankets
one small blanket
one sheet and one sleeping bag careful
not to leave any opening
exposed –
how the light filters through the
thin quilt
mica’s grandmother made
and how we use it to find our way
across the trouble board
counting our way
with salix

as galia sweeps and matt starts the fire
i go down the list:
farmer’s cheese with wild garlic: check
roasted butternut hummus: check
chimichuri crackers: check
sun dried tomato, green onion and sunflower crackers: check
dahl with red pepper and collards: check
salad and dressing: check
11, almost 12 month old
in my hands and how amazing
that while she doesn’t speak yet
she understands when i ask her
if she wants to come up
the soft dough of her
in my grip

the blur of / the blooming

it’s been march 18th for the past
three days
i say trying
to figure out which day and date
it might actually be
a glance out loft window just
as the tiniest hail/roundest snow
starts falling/landing
lightly on rusted metal roof
trapped in hoophouse:
feral mama cat
jumping at the sight of this human
last seen six or more months before
news enough to announce
at dinner
due to prolific sickness
the kissing party
has been canceled
whereupon i consider the gravity
and hugeness of what it might mean
to, in the wake of a breakup, still stay
committed to that person’s liberation
thud of basketball dribbled
down gravel white road
while today’s third or fourth swirl
of forzen stuff drifts down
so sparse and light it leaves
no mark upon landing
in a video: the blur of orange fabric
(shirts) waved back and forth
in large gestures
in the hands of those detaiend
as seen through the narrowest windows
(from footage of the 200-person hunger strike
that took place last summer in
eloy immigration detention center
while those who stood in support)
held signs and waved back
this flourescent orange flaring
no matter how blurry or brief
a bloom of humans
reaching out to others
best they can through concertina wire
triple-locked gates
and constantly surveiled courtyards

the legend of trish the swish

trish in red wig and sequinning silver leggings
that throw the light off them onto the ceiling
we hello-hug/reunionize in karma living room
it’s almost like it’s my birthday i say getting
to see you in that red wig and shining things

the bees are bringing in pollen
for your birthday stan gives
the first-signs-of-spring bee report

it’s not sour joe says of
the injera he folds into quarters and
sets on a plate on the table
where we feast on
greens, ber ber (miser wat) red lentils and
mustardy brown lentils followed
by the most extravagant
from scratch
key lime rich smooth pie

polished smooth and dangling
the earrings that joe made in trish’s ears
featuring a cross section of bone
from the deer trish killed this year

echoing off gymnasium walls:
the bounce of basketballs as we warm up
traveling net to net and
MIA bumping in the background and
as the game starts: the mini pep band playing
in three parts: joseph on sax, tyler on trombone and
baigz on trumpet
louie louie is of course
in the rotation

TRISH THE SWISH i call out
after she in her sequinned jersey
makes a rim-less basket
amidst the chaos
and i, in my glittery 27star jersey
yelping and hollering and
bee-lining down the court
pivoting and aiming and passing
to my delight’s content

this is what 40 looks like

in brunch circle
sarah says she can feel growth when she
is in my presence and alline
who made the sweet small chocolate cake
with meringue ghosts (which made me swoon
with memory of my mama’s witchy ghosty cakes
complete with colored coconut and licorice strings
for hair) lets the tears do the talking about
generosity and encouragement
around words and writing and
trish says sisterhood and ted says
team spirit and joseph says cackle and baigz says this
gesturing to look around at all the fabulousness
(in sequins and other finery) i have summoned to surround us with
and mica and june both say things
that i now forget
but perhaps mica will help me remember


trish and baigz on horns
and cynthia on mobile sound system
(boom box strapped to bike rack)
ty and mica and i bedecked in dazzles
and furriness and all the sound and color and
movement makes us feel like
we are in a music video
pedaling across the panorama
of corn stubble fields against
baby bright sky blue
with autumn leafed treelines
in the background


something about how we follow the curves
and rise and fall of the land and
take layers off under sun and
put layers on under cloud and
the way that such simple food
tastes like the best thing on the planet
as we sit there on the ground
eating our cheese pretzel pear/apple feast
after 20-some miles of pedaling


on our first pass across the fabius
we pull over and walk down to the banks
cynthia hands each of us
drawings of comets and
a pencil and we write
about the ephemeral now

on our second pass
mica pins the brave heart badge
to my sash
and talks about witnessing me
taking risks and watching me as
i puzzle and figure out
and she says how these waters
hold the heartbreak
the shine of trying
and we hug with jewels in our eyes and
when we bike away from our stopover
the cold of the wind on the
tears running over the rise of cheekbones
feels baptismal breaking me
into something new

the brick doorway
of what once was a building and is now nothing
in gorin i walk through saying
this is the doorway to 40

ty teaches us knockout
on the court and later
mica and trish and baigz and i
shuffle-race around the
ping pong table playing
around-the-world styles

a name for the full-body feeling
of arriving after 40 miles
of pedaling, every cell humming
a calm landing in my muscles,
skin, blood, bones
mica starfished on the grass
her bike splayed next to her

cyn on cello
trish as officiator
all the rest of fam/friends gathered
up on slater’s hill under
the great old oak
where we ritualize
the sacred union of mind body and spirit
where form the routine of ordinary life
the extraordinary is born

a grain of rice
falling out of my hair
hours after
the wedding wherein i
married the universe and
committed to ferocious self-love

at dinner circle
(over bean burgers and freedom fries and
kale and peanut butter chocolate milkshakes)
i thank everyone for letting the birthday extravaganza
commandeer our days
saying i feel full up and
how much i love to be adored on my birthday
and how much everyone took on the challenge
and brought it and now we can resume
with normal
but the epicness
does not end there because
i am presented with yet two more badges
(the loving-the-food-i-grow badge from mica
and the career badge from baigz)
and then the spanking-with-ping-pong-paddles
ritual ensues and
baigz and trish and em
play/sing a song (banjo, guitar, trombone)
they wrote for/about
me which includes a chorus of: type type type type type
(typewriter clack-a-lack)

and the line about transformation
lifted from the detail collector
and all the love is so palpable
i could swim through the sea of it
unable to ever make it through
the great expanse to
the other end

honna and i
bed-warming as i read
byrd baylor’s the table where rich people sit
and how grateful i am
for this warmth-sharing and this
older-than-10-years friendship
that began at a collective café
fondly nicknamed trainwreck