(for my mother’s sister)


What an old thorn you’ve been for me

and I for you, once a young green problem

pulled into our bodies

by the weight of my mother’s death,

passing through, tearing the flesh of belief

and the images of our common origin

from the womb of your mother

where this all began with those tiny seeds,

the only gifts grandfather gave

in his short and painful life;

the seeds become a daughter become a son

become a thorn, each to the 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,

lowered to the earth of a warm hillside

with last tears and final adieu

to my long foe and dear ally,

your thorn and mine become the rose.




We Look through Glass

(for Linda)


I find you as I look through the clog of wires

to the hummingbird in the plum tree,

beyond the thrum of motor

to children’s voices from the church;

where people feel abundance

there seems such deprivation

yet also the sweetness of home,

the beauty in your eyes

and the way we look through glass,

your image delicate and passing,

stronger than death.




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.