will you make a bridge // home is everywhere

the light of the sun shining so hard
it brings out the sparkle in the hard bare parts
of the gravel road
walking county line road
a farewell excursion
a last jaunt
a walk up the swell of the neighbor’s hill and then down
into the dips where the creeks run through
and me thanking everything: the treetops (barelimbed ad budding) against blueblue sky,
the black capped chickadees flitting and singing,
the bold bright sun on this big clear day, jack the jack Russell
even though he couldn’t choose between walking with me and
a really exciting bone back at home and eventually he decided he
wanted to hang out with the bone,
mama cat and her soft fluff of fur,
moonstar and her consistent love of
curling up in a lap,
and everything else that i can name in the moment
for holding me in all the ways these things have
in unnameable and often unnoticeable ways until seen
from the view of today – the leaving looming soon
the white coach to arrive
in a half hour
the leaving song i try to sing
on the county line road
wind in my hair
sun on my cheekbones:
may the longtime sun shine upon you all, love
surround you and may the bright light within you
guide you on your way home
this song that brings tears to my eyes

no matter who is leaving nor when we sing it
but this time it’s me and the thing that gets me
is that one small/huge word at the end:
this body
sleep-lacked and
thin-whisped and
moving forward because that is the direction we move
racked with the grief
of loving a place hard
(the growing things of this place,
the wild things of this place,
the seasons moving through this place,
and all the love and energy and effort put in)
and the leaving of it looming
the sounds coming out of me as i
half-drift, half-trudge, one hundred percent move through
across the windy prairie

the sky
void of eagle shrieks
but spilled with all this blue
and a patch of geese at high elevations
shimmering in the light
the cat make-up on apple’s face:
the black nose tip worn off
but the freckles and whiskers still there
when she appears
trish’s sequin skirt
throwing gold light everywhere
and paired with the long red wig and
dange jacket
accompanied by trumpet and
ringing dinner bell and
drums and the love flute
this bright and raucous sendoff
sandhill style
almost everyone says something
as we each lean in for a hug one by one –
all of it impossible to respond to
since my throat, my voice, my eyes
have stopped working

eric handing me a pocket sangha
on a pink piece of paper
that’s you he says pointing
to the little stick meditator
in the bottom left
opposite the bell on the bottom right
i’ll keep you on the sandhill google chat em calls out
until/unless you want to be taken off
will you make a bridge i ask
and everyone lines up arcing their arms together
(emory and cole using the trombone with its slide out as their arc)
from gravel road to car door
and i walk under not fast not slow
but taking time
my bags already in back,
a pause to pet jack,
and plop in the front seat
a wind of sorts
knocked out of me
kris calling out from the hill
in kris style
sand hyill!
or at least that’s what i think she said
but even if it wasn’t the right words
i can still hear the tone
the shortest drive
to the quincy train station
ever, surreal is a word
for most of the day
my body not my body but still my body
the missouri air around me the missouri air but not air but it’s not anything else either
time maybe moving forward maybe moving backward or maybe
it’s not moving at all
apple in the quincy station parking lot
how we find each other (me looking through the window
and her out ther)
and wave an endless wave
and blow bundles of kisses and then
she turns and moons the train
on this fullmoon-in-pisces day
and how on her drive out of the parking lot
while the train still sits there she waves
and waves and waves
out the open window and i wave and
wave and wave back
until we can no longer
see each other
and on some plane
i’m not on the train at all
but just going to visit dan Kelly and his apple farm or
we’re taking the long way back to red earth or
we’re just out for a spring drive
the single long white crash of wave
as seen from a speeding cab as it moves
along lake shore drive while isa and i laugh
at some ridiculous thing or another
while the jazz on the radio jazzes and
the night is dark around us and
isa’s got a little extra money these days so
she splurges
to get us from here
to there
and how this lake michicgan wave
is the first YES i hear
on my way

as a pre-dinner appetizer, isa and i
share the alline-cinnamon roll
imported from missouri to this
nest of a one-bedroom chicago dwelling
(home is everywhere)

neither of us can get over
how good its cinnamonyness and
and perfect texture is
the pad see ew with extra broccoli
we take turns feasting from
and the salty spicy sauce we take turns
dipping spring rolls in
the deep reward of falling back into
the cloudnest bed
while the radiators hum/whistle/hiss and
every cell in me simultaneously vibrating and
depleted how maybe in this moment i feel something like
what Cheryl strayed described in the beginning of
an empty and a frayed and a full that i don’t even know yet and
a brightness before me and this is what one feels like in their body
when a thing they could never imagine losing
is gone


warm wrapped

alyson teaching us
this song
while we hurtle northward
in the gray of undiscernable-but-there snow:
hello sun, it’s nice to see you
and you’re looking bright today
and i know – as bright as you are –
so will i be, in my own way

mica tells us of the friend, a minister,
who says her vows
about who/how she wants to be in the world
while putting a necklace on
i don’t know what that looks like apple says
about praying
in the conversation about how she’s made a recent commitment
to pray every day
the sign in front of 10 rows of corn left standing
along the perimeter of a field that runs and runs
along the two lane county highway that reads:
standing corn snow fence

the alley we turn to walk down
holding gloved hands
just to read the words
and see the pictures
painted on
in the smarting cold but warm wrapped
in our layers

the little blueberry bush i draw
on the paper tablecloth
and then a handful
i  ‘picked’ for jenafr
and placed in a basket
and then the cherry tree dotted
with bright red fruit
and a bluebird splash and a giant sun
for which i use all three yellows
in the middle

the instant grief
that punches me
over knowing i won’t be there to  see the redbud tree
burst into bloom
in the orchard
in the spring
you feel like home she says
each of us on an end
of an uncomfortable couch
in a cozy apartment
sipping on long-boiled ginger tea
with lemon and honey
she says we have had different experiences
but have arrived in similar places

love hard, grieve hard

the thinnest layer of snow
plus air so cold
it crunches in that certain
single digit temperature
kind of way
raw quesadilla she jokes
about the unheated corn tortilla
with the unmelted cheese
folded in

the joke awards we’d win:
me: best parlor game player in the universe
lisa: hottest body
jennifer: fastet thinker
joel: best non louisianna-dwelling white zydeco accordion player

tamara laughing about
the camo teddy in wyoming
you wouldn’t be able to see me she says
without a safety orange hat on

been swinging this heart hinge open all my life i say
i love hard, i grieve hard

she was like the ocean i say
too unpredictable and me
wanting too much to be her/like her

the teaspon of coconut oil turning
from waxy white and solid to 
shiny melty
in my palm
from the water world:

Children transport drinking water in a village devastated by flash floods in Pansor, Salvador town, Lanao del Norte, in southern Philippines. – voice of america, day in photos

tough, sweet and dying

and somehow, the sadness for gibbous (who i’ve been calling the incredible shrinking cat, and about whom the vet says losing muscle mass and the thing to do now is just keep him comfortable and white blood cell count isbelow below normal),
somehow, the sadness and slow deep cry at-the-edge-of-sleep for this tough and sweet and dying cat
is a sadness for everything
(the loss of every once-lover, the current swirls of awkward upheaval, the thirteen-year-old yesterday writing about thsi unnecessary war, the forest this notebook was made from and the materials gouged from the earth that make this machine go)
in the room there is only the rectangle blast of overhead flourescent light
it is the only smell
the only taste
the only feeling
when the vet says the thing about the white blood cells – how the number is not even 1, but a .0something

the whoosh of all that life

wooden seving bowl on the butcher block
holding a stack of still-warm nixtamelized corn tortillas
wrapped in fabric and made by dottie
no words i write (for lvnv) but quiet. and gravity. and the whoosh of all that life rushing out. 
(and later, i want to say something here about all the living, too,
and the trauma and long healing.
and i want to say things about a petition i signed about ‘no military-style war weapons in non-war zones’ and i want to rewrite that ptetition to say ‘no military-style-semiautomatic war weapons anywhere. ever.’
4.3 gravel miles later
how it feels good
to send this body out and back
running past the train bridge and alongside the dried corn and to that one vista where everything opens up and there is a pond that reflects the sky back and seriously rolling hills and all that green even in this early fall season and a black cow here and there


confetti and ¡gladyoume! the word revealed in a blue envelope
to connote the sentiment there is not yet a word for of the joy of another day with us in it
all the white dust rising off the just-graded roads
as anyone drives past
i thank tomorrows predicted rain
in advance
chain-jangling sounds of the brush hog as tyler rumbles past on one of the tractors
down underpass and out onto the back road in prep
for the harvest that approaches
the wild loud hum-buzz and the low-to-the-ground movement
of too many bees to count
swirling and lingering
around all the post-harvest fallen damson plums
on the path behind the whitehouse
in the just-mown lawn
the table set up with a cloth and candle and sage and 58 small stones
on the front porch
for the swarm of souls
whooshing out
the moonspill and moire pattern
as seen from mica’s sun room/greenhouse perch
where we sit-sway in hammock chairs
as our noodles and veggies digest

a chocolate chip cookie, tall not flat
that emory hands me and how we laugh
that it’s vert, not flat

low and leaning

zoe keating’s cello layered over cello layered over cello
sounds swirling through room and in my ears
as i zig zag stitch the straps of black elastic
there is grief in everything including
the slow creak/groan
of the trees outside karma – the sound only bark on bark could make
low and leaning, gradual

mica and i walking down the back road
doing the plantar-faciatis pain-easing walk
(not swaggery or bouncy, but, the blues dance stance – butt out)
laughing as we go
under a hazey there-are-forest-fires-somewhere oranging sun
all the pain cramming itself in against skull
the ache of all there is to ache about
it hurts to say and it hurts
to not say
i wanted to open windows
i wanted to move things – drag them and shove them out the door 
she says
everything was so still


ashby the grey black stripey farm cat
who really wants to be an indoor cat
(though he also wants to go on long walks/adventures)
scratching at the window screen
(universal cat language for let me in
and the kerthump of him landing
when i allow him passage

woven with green

the sound of big white chunks of salt
hitting a paper plate
as i rub them off before ripping soft pretzel pieces apart
and dipping them in the small plastic ramiken of ‘cheese’
a throwback to my work breaks
in the kmart eatery
the wild edge of sorrow
 sharon says as we walk the mown path
past the old homestead
whose main feature at this point
is the metal windmill woven with green leafy vines that climb up
and back down again
it’s beautiful  i say from the bench
alongside dennis’s grave
where sharon and i sit
sometimes holding hands
the rituals you have chosen
you are showing us
how to do this

the great golden and slightly pink light
(which makes me think of that rose gold jewelry)
showing in the west
while a sprinkle of rain pitter pats down
which registers as the recipe for rainbows and sure enough,
visible through a clearing in the canopy down by the sugar shack
just a part of the arc showing through
roygbiv in full effect