the day begins with many things, but this is one:

victor (our 80-something? year old neighbor) and i talking through a rolled-down window on sandhill road
he hands me the empty washed jar i sent flowers in at news of his sister’s passing and also, a box of taffy from his daughter in florida
as soon as i am handed that empty jar,
i’m filling it again
with dusty purples and sharp reds and cream whites
and marching it up victor’s hill
to place on his porch
this report just in from dreamworld:
her sighting of four rainbows
one of which happened to be diagonally striped just like my skirt
she says
all the gold/yellow
leaves pirouetting down
as the storm gale plucks them
as seen from cool ranch’s front porch< gazing woods-ward
it’s a bagel moon phase tattoo baigz explains
to ghana while they head out past the garden shed
from the back door
post-stormy sky as seen from highway:
gray smudges to the south
(these are patches of rain – distant, falling),
to the west – a just-washed crisp clear (everything lined in the shine of water)t
and a cloud
which looks like a collage of several clouds
of all different types
glue-sticked together
mama cat and i both
standing along the mushroom yard
as the storm front blows in
(picking up speed and force)
and how that first thundercrack
sends mama cat under the house and i
throw my hands up to my ears and my body goes
into a high-shoulders pose
outside at the picnic table with
sampha in my ears as i halve the cherry tomatoes
before arranging them on dehydrator trays
the clouds pink-seeped against the west slate sky
the reflection of a moth’s eyes
in the beam of my headlamp
on my night commute
down to cool ranch
from the water world:

Indian villagers attempt to cross flood waters with the help of rope and empty canisters next to a washed away portion of a bridge at Palsa village in Purnia district in Bihar state. – voice of america, day in photos


family because we are

walking through the thinnest mist
this morning
and loving the grey sky above the green summer-leafed-out trees
and the little bits of water
visible everywhere (near/far) in the air
standing on cool ranch porch
and finding that the bat has returned to its roost after a day of absence
while mama cat looks up at me from where she weaves between my feet and as
ashby the cat approaches on the path
i say something like oh good, we’re all together again
as if we are family
because, in fact, we are

the second bouquet i’ve brought
to a second friend
in two days
which makes me think something like
come for the pollination
and stay for the a-beautiful-thing-to-give-to-people-so-that-you-never-show-up-empty-handed bonus

against the almost-iridescent

a word for the very specific satisfaction
that comes from crossing things off a to-do list
especially when using a broad and bright marker
to do so
(detail from a pervious day, but remembered now, thus written now):
it might have been a fox someone says
about the death of seven chickens while i was away
the mellow and bright yellow of snapdragons against the pink-lemonade pink of the other snapdragons against hte deep fuschia and white and pink raspberry combo of cosmos against the almost iridescent pink-orange thumbelina zinnia petals agains the shiny crisp white and marron of the strawflowers
all tucked into a small queenline jar
that i fill with water
at night among the insect chorus i hear a splooosh
of some creature landing in the pond
which is not so close which means it must have been a big creature (super huge bullfrog?) making a big sploosh

a constant salt

the mango cubes i place
on a white plate which i place
on the glass table in the common space
in front of jan and bobbe
a constant salt is what i think i hear melanie say
in the hallway (as in: salt to the wound)
[though is more likely, constant assault]

about every bit of terrible news
especially including what’s-his-face’s executive orders
to immediately get to work on building that
wall that basically says “fuck you, i hate you”
to mexico and central and south america
and all of its people
and to cut funding to sanctuary cities
which basically says “i’d rather you live in trauma
and the thread of assault and torture and death that we most
likely fund than have you leave a home
you would never dream of leaving
but are so desperate to survive and live with
dignity and access to resources
that you find your way 
braving more possibilities of death, injury and assault
to live in sanctuary in this so-called country.”

how i laugh out loud about
the santa fe graffiti
along the train tracks
sprayed on someone’s backyard trail-facing wall
an image of the rail-runner commuter train
with its avian mascot
and how the nameplate on the train engine
reads thunder chicken instead of

how it feels like a long walk
when all i can see is flat trail before me
with the sangres in the distance in one direction
and the jemez looming into view in the other

the brown-orange and white stripes
on the tail of a big and unexpected cat
i catch a quick glimpse of before
s/he disappears around the corner
and tucks into a stand of tall dried grass 
for cover
ball of cool wet brown clay
in my hands 
unsure as i shape the pot
but also grounding
in its earthly tactileness
the sound of the typewriter bell
bounchig off the white walls
of the sfai gallery

penstemons – amy showing me photos
of different varieties and how we ooooh/ahhhh at the colors
and how i say they remind me
of a mix of foxglove, sweetpea and snapdragons,
they’re also called beardtongue

and then there’s this,
beautiful resistance,
which helps so many of us
keep going:

greenpeace activists hold an anti-Trump protest as they display a banner reading ‘Resist’ from a construction crane near the White House in downtown Washington, D.C. – voice of america, day in photos

sometimes we carry the song, sometimes others carry it for us

when i have said
we don’t know how to do death
i mean, mostly, as a larger culture, we really don’t
but today is an exception
how today is made of
many things that can break one’s heart
one of the first of which is sharon appearing
(before or after dennis’s shrouded body
is pulled along on the bike trailer, i don’t remember)
with that full and gorgeous
round and bursting
wreath of wildflowers
perched on her back bike rack
beginning the procession
(some on bike some on foot,
almost all with flowers in hand)
another of which is the song sounds
we make when we can
and sometimes the words
that come with them too
another is how sometimes sharon
bows into herself
hands to heart or mouth
and how every time i look
someone is there
at her side
another is the ripped openness of this day
of the hearts gathered around
the fabric-wrapped body
and the hand dug grave
and the closeness we are allowed to approach
this thin veil
between worlds
and the ways it comes and goes in waves
which means sometimes we carry the song
and sometimes others carry it for us
bikes first sharon calls out
and there we are pedaling
down the hill and through the woods
flower bouquet wrapped in my right hand wrapped
around the handlebars

sharon sharing one of dennis’s outgoing messages
that said something about cycling, recycling and the cycles of life
and how another was along the lines of

it’s a great day to bike
(regardless of the weather

or what kind of day it was)
he’s loving this she says
of the bikes
and the oak grove
and the people gathered on mullein hill

eva reading this poem outloud
while the light breeze lifts and falls
under the not sunny not grey sky
in the clearing on mullein hill
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rushOf quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there; I did not die.
-mary elizabeth frye
how for some
the lowering in of dennis’s body
seems to unearth something in them
and how, for others
it seems to ease/put something at rest

the not quite clunk and not thump either
but something like that
of the clumps of super-clay soil
we first toss in by the handful
and then by the bucketful
on top of the flowers and
sharon’s ring of hair
and wood, stone, feather and bone
how it feels good to sweat
in my nice-ish clothes, leveraging/lifting
shovel-ful after shovel-ful
of recently dug up earth
into 5 gallon buckets
how bear and i laugh about
how the weight of the clay clumps sometimes
dumps the bucket over
how the four or five or how many of us there are
shoveling sometimes sing along
with the songs and sometimes not
and how it feels good to be doing together
what dennis spent so much time doing
on robinia – laboring, flexing muscles,
connecting to others via work – how we laugh out there
on the clay pile
and how this work/motion
brings us back into ourselves
and somehow shows us that
things are going to be ok
not that they ever weren’t
and not that there won’t be
a long unspooling of grief
but just that
if we can lift these shovels
and work
and laugh
under humid july sun
we can keep on
i’ve got something for you i say
of the season’s second dahlia
to sharon and ask
if i can pin it on her

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
sharon reads one of the closing lines from
the Max Ehrmann poem titled Desiderata
that dennis once hung on his wall

the tree frog
as seen from its white belly and
sticky feet bottoms
splayed out on loft window
revealed upon curtain-opening
moon casting its glow behind
the sleep tremors (technically called hypnic jerk)
felt moving through paws and jaw and ears
against my left thigh

dirt cake

the flash of lightning so bright
that even in the morning light
it shocks light through my closed eyelids
and then, the booming/cracking open
(of what sounds like the very ground around us)
in several parts
they put one of your snapdragons
over dennis’s heart emory tells me
about returning to visit dennis an hour or so
after he passed on
which makes me think about
the times when both poems and flowers
(two things i make) are
needed/necessary/leaned on/useful,
of which death is one
there is something bigger in this
that i cannot yet name
but feel reverberating
through me
trees grow slow
and trees grow strong
and trees sway with the wind
their whole lives long…
emory and i sing in the canoe
me in front in the paddle and he in back
with his fishing pole
(with bait on it without a hook)

how i take my shirt off
at the helm and emory
strips out of his blue paisley sundress
we haven’t jumped in the water yet
but you can bet we will
it works better if you say it like a clock i say
about emory behind me pointing to bullfrogs
and turtles so he says
bullfrog at three o clock and indeed
it is at three o clock and indeed
it is much easier to find
introducing sandhill
to an improv bio of rachel tucson
i begin with the enneagram and end with the fact
that we are the same height which makes
trish smile big

 i think we need these i say
carrying the tall blue glass (candy glass) jar
filled with a sharpie and four letter words
for temporary knuckle tattoos
mo and i both committing to
choosing only two and going with it
mine: dirt cake
hers: fire feed

how i laugh at the cloud to the east
in the oncoming sunset sky
that looks so much like a snail
(round shell home with body sliding along underneath)
when i realize the round shell home
is the almost-full moon
(something about the texture of it
and the color of the cloud)
makes moon and cloud appear
as if they are made of same stuff
group of what must be at least 15 mennonite boys/teens
lining both sides of the highway
where a bridge overlooks the tracks
how i nod and wave feeling like a real
weekend warrior in my spandies
and how, i’m moving too fast
to see if nods/waves are returned
but i do hear a dog barking which
makes me wonder if it is an actual dog
or a boy in his button up shirt barking at me
and the latter is confirmed
on my return when i pass them again
this time they are walking back to where they adventured in from
without a dog and yet
the barks as the sky powders above me
i mutter a fuck off under my breath and later
have fantasies about turning to pedal into them and then
squealing to a halt within inches from their
blue-jeaned knees and standing
tall/proud/unfuckwithable and saying something like
are you fucking kidding me!?
BARKING!? i aint gonna take that
(and then pulling some serious badass ninja moves here)
not now and not ever
and then zoom off, throwing dust as i recede

into a speck up some hill along the horizon line
the screech in the sky that draws my eyes skywards

and in the very same spot, on the return ride,
the (red tailed hawk?) cruising along on the air
above me before landing on top of the electric line post

the healing throw

dennis’s body in our walk in freezer
(storage between death and burial)
the skin-bones shape of it
draped in white vinyly zip up shroud
and how i accidentally
bump into his feet with my foot
as i step in to leave a small bundle
of strawflowers and glob amaranth
on him

sad potato year we say out in the lookfar potatoes
but good kale year
good parsely year
good winter squash year
cynthia and i sawing, snipping, dragging, clearing
and then hauling it all away before we measure and mark
the 14 x 16 spot
which we then hang her camping hammock in

the salty sesame stick mix
in the open container on the truck seat
between cynthia and i as we head
back to the farm
the spinning light-up disc
that passes from emory to trish to me to baigz’s dad to baigz
and there is the jellyfish color
that you get stung if you catch it
in that light blue glow
and then there is the healing throw
that i swirl slow motion around emory
after he has been jellyfish-stung
grounding with you before landing
she says when i ask
if there’s anything she’ll want/need
moon lighting the cloud-mottled sky and the trees
this hammock i sway in is strapped to
rising up around me