(for my mother’s sister)


What an old thorn you’ve been for me
and I for you; once a young green tare
pulled into our bodies
by the weight of my mother’s death.
Tearing the flesh of family belief,
the images of common origin
in the womb of your mother
where all this began
and those tiny seeds,
the only gifts grandfather gave
in his short and painful life.


His seed became your sister become her son
became a thorn, you and I to each other,
suffering, cursing, laughing, cajoling
until the edges rounded, the barbs dulled
and finally passed through our hearts
to flower again in shining red beauty.
Rich with all the pain and laughter
and lowered with your body
into the earth of a warm hillside
with last tears and final adieu
long foes and dear allies,
your thorn and mine
become the rose.





We Look through Glass

(for Linda)


I find you as I look past the clog of wires
to the hummingbird in the plum tree,
past the thrum of motor
to children’s voices from the church.
Where people have abundance
there seems such deprivation
yet also the sweetness of home;
the beauty in your eyes
and the way we look through glass,
your images delicate and passing,
stronger than death.



Calling the Wind



Apocalypse and judgment day

may occur somewhere in Montana

but the real arbiter resides within

where final choices are made

on those who’ve done us wrong

and more painfully,

on our own most grievous sins.

We really can’t forgive

without seeing the cold truth,

then we are left with the choice:

to love our enemies

including the one in the mirror

or continue on the cross.




Her Invitation

I rediscover myself by the sea

like an uncharted island

or lost archipelago

of feeling, of centeredness;

the tides lay bare my rock

then fill the hollow cove

eroded by the expectations

I continue to approve.

The theater of our mutual lives

demands respite, sanctuary

for bones made sore

by the unyielding surface

we’ve agreed to be true.

Ocean is stripped and damaged

but her beauty undefeated;

edging down to the stony beach

with the inquiry of a child,

she is there, tugging at the shoreline,

inviting me into open water.