to get at that lavender

suited up in light blue raincoat
and black rain pants as i pedal
through the mist,
traffic roaring to my left,
creek tumbling to my right
and all the green bursting three hundred sixty degrees around

the snip sound
of lightweight blades
clipping off the dried/yellowing bits
of more daylilies than one can count
throughout the course
of a rainy day

bright red flash
of hummingbird throat
belonging to the tiny creature that keeps
swooping into the greenhouse
to get at that flowering lavender
arriving to two beautiful
home-baked loaves of bread
laid out on the cutting board

the thud of a treadless basketball
on the wet green grass
under the hoop
at the edge of the trailer park playground


made of blueberry lavender

five a.m., me up and sitting on the kitchen table
feet on a chair
how i snuck quietly in there to ‘hunt’ the rats
(locating the sound of where they party
to understand more about where they’re coming in
and where they’re partying around to)
apple’s hilarious suggestion
to literally punch the time clock
(as in, with a fist)

what i call groundcherry jam
she calls groundcherry syrup
made with the intention of being jam –
either way, we love the way the softened fruits
fall perfectly into the empty waffle squares
the sunset sky some sort of neapolitan
but made of blueberry lavender and
fuschia strawberry and cool vanilla
striping itself over the curves of green field
laying themselves out the front windows


the look of fellowship

the bright-colored and
shiny-shine of mardi gras beads
tossed into telephone wires and
tree limbs and street signs
draped there
bright in the afternoon light as we walk
out of the edge of the park and
onto campus
two kids fighting over a bike
that doesn’t belong to the neither of them
nel writes a scene

filled with sound and movement and personality

you can just rip it in half i say to nel
in the community college classroom
about the half of the fish po’ boy
that i know is too big
for me to finish myself
now that’s the look of fellowship
ali says about the glance
that jennifer and i pass back and forth
from our places
in the circle of desks gathered

awake to wildflowers

awake to wildflowers
pink on white (from a distance, mallow-like) and bright yellows and oranges and reds
no longer in the drylands
but still in texas

park lake or lake park or maybe some other name altogether, but at least with the word lake in it or maybe at least with the word park in it – either way, it’s in texas
how all the green of it
is the same green that those missouri summers
were made of and this is what missing
or is it grief
or longing
or something else altogether
for the first time
feels like
they bloomed for you says tayyba
about the roses that she’s had for years
(maybe three, maybe five, maybe eight)
but that have just started blooming
this year

the green marker i mark my stemmed and thin glass with
how i draw a heart
and how the green beads and bleeds
down the curve of the glass
as the cool seltzer sends sweat to its surface

best food of the tour yet i tell tayyba of the
chickpeas, ,the tomato cucumber salad, the kheer, the peas pulao, the naan, the potatoes she spent what must have been hours
preparing her pakistani-adjacent feast
the soft and deceptive corner of the ligne roset – style couch that
jennifer gracefully rolls/falls off of
while holding her kheer with mango slices in a small bowl level
the entire time
until i scoop it out of her hand and place
on a nearby table

we’ve got the world’s only
tayyba says of houston

which layla has not yet seen


a great character description detail i say laughing
when hazel says that might be
his most unhealthy eating habit
about dirk
whose clif bar consumption amounts to at least
one a day if not more and not only does he
have one in every backpack pouch,
he’s also got one in every pants pocket
(which is a lot of bars because his pants have a lot of pockets)
and maybe part of the reason he likes them so much
is that he knows she will never ask him
for a bite

i have those things too hazel says talking about
watching someone do some dancemoves
while we walk along the path laid along
the santa cruz river that cuts through town,
the santa cruz river which i’ve never seen water in
except for up near the treatment plant
the santa cruz river which isn’t river but is still site of
coyote antics and bobcat beings and various birds including
the sweet-songed small darkest black one up in a tree over us
sweet-songing the whole time we stand under it


home, in the four of us (harmony, eric, jennifer and i) gathered
around the tableclothed table (blues and maybe some whites, maybe hand-loomed style)
the beans warm in the bowl
the guacamole with cilantro singing in its greenness
the three tiny corn quesadillas fried and
still steaming under the lid and
the one gigantic flour open faced quesadilla
which eric calls a crisp (?) with the cheese all melty on top
that we slice with a pizza slicer
the two salsas, the big salad, the crema
the saint candles lit and flickering
plus frances the dog curled on a rug on the floor,

thank you.


more cute, less expensive harmony says
about the cute bedding in the guest room
(navy blue background with alligators of bright colors
all over it)


you can get closer, eric says as i lean in with the camera
towards the lizard clinging to the faded pink corner
of the neighbor’s house

and we walk towards

am i inscribing my whiteness all over it i ask
about the peninsula bus system whose stops are vague
and whose maps are even more vague
but whose friendly person on the other end of the line
has the answers to my questions but still
i want to  know why isn’t it all
just printed clearly and cleanly somewhere

the bench/bleachers that we work at outside
in the glorious coastal light/sun while the laundry spins inside
first, in cold water and then in hot dry heat
colors tumbling a blur into one  another
the plain yogurt with berry jam mixed in whose remnants
i clear out with my fingers

jenafr and i hopscotching tree roots
that insist on buckling the paved path under our feet
hi tree, hi tree, hi tree we sing/say
with the movement/play of our bodies

there are two suns i say about the one lowering itself into
cloud/horizon haze and about the one shining
back at us off the sheen on the sand
and we
walk towards

in various stages of unfurling

birdie’s 7month gurgle and babble
her feet dangling and bouncing from the carrier strapped
to shiz’s chest as we walk the woodchipped path
that wraps around the golf course
where doug firs tower over
goodbye… adios! me imitating
the toy cell phone that birdie palmed and dialed
on the drive over to the park path we walk
the storms stored in all the grays smudging their way
across the great grand tops of trees
and over/into mountainy edges that meet
with sky
the dark and pastel purples of crocus flower petals
in various stages of unfurling but mostly closed as seen
from the sidwalk on the way
through the hush of side streets to what is
for now
how the heat from the dryer fills
the downstairs bathroom and how i could stay there
warming my bones
the spit-spatter of tofu slices
frying in marinade on medium
as soba noodles boil and kale steams and
the mommas take turns tending
to birdie full of restlessness and tears

the clink of two spoons at the end of the day
celebrating each other and the mint
chocolate chip ice cream in our cups