Here the field
patched green and brown
rushes down
like sheets in the sun
spiky grasses whispering to
a frozen hare,
ears sensing undercurrents
run run run
danger in fields
of scratchy, murmuring

prey scanning for background
noise, peripheral
warning scents
musk in the breeze
heart racing flight
to the bolt hole
smelling of safety,
subterranean funk
and the after-rain
of life

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wa whoosh wa whoosh wa whoosh…
the heart is full of holes,
paradoxically less than when brand new
fossa forming over bleeding os
losing virginity in reverse
closing up shop
nudging parasitic heart,
“you don’t need me anymore,
little heart,
use your lungs now,”

natal heart reaches
arterial highway
survives in vein
to beat and break
crazy little
two-toned organ
lub dubbing its
percussive journey

that first breath
is a doozy
think of it as a cliff dive,
into here
and now

and welcome
we are all as fresh
and lost
as you

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silence outside
yet the screeching
gears of mind
awake awake awake
becomes a plague
shush shush shushing
rusty cogs
how do i oil
screaming memories
nail down squeaks and groans
when there aren’t
or even solid ground
i should have found
by now
the resting place
instead returning
to industrious thought
solve it solve it
dis-solve re-solve
until nothing is
a solution

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poet, awakening

cursed consciousness
tracing origins to ooze
amphibious ancestors lugging
scales from swamp
they didn’t laugh
but perhaps they cried
just a little
at becoming
circumscribed from
universal detritus
unlimited variation
gnawing, digesting, creeping
in alien bodies
through meaningless
until all at once
sit up in bed
grey matter zinging
why why why
worries nobody can solve
that don’t matter
in the vastness of space
or do i mean time?
as sleep flees
i think i feel
long forgotten
the matter of me
meaningless body
staring into darkness
where my elementary
were born
and why
there is a soundtrack
playing in my head

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the quiet moments

IMG_7990in the lull between waves
exists a quiet
retraction, indwelling,
sucking-in of breath
hush now
can you hear?
house noise, muted
plates clatter
dishwasher overloaded
somewhere my feet
no, that’s kitty
now is observation time
mixing metaphors
children come
and go in waves,
on Wednesdays
week of chatter
laughter, navigating
week of loss
not loss,
just a certain missing
there are signs,
like clam holes in sand
hand-prints in the hallway
small shoes line the wall
they forgot their raincoats
and the horse picture
is crooked

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magic in the pieces

i fancied myself mended,
kintsugi heart
cleaved with gold
turns out the mortar was weak,
beautiful crumbling dribs and drabs
caught in muslin,
prescient, i
made a tramp’s package
studiously knotting
all the broken bits
contained, no longer
beautiful to gaze upon
but they jingle-jangle
as i run
and i guess
that’s its own kind
of magic

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She Makes Me Tea

She asks me
Would you like some tea?
As I read,
The expanse of
Microfiber couch
Between us
Her voice
She doesn’t drink
Or vodka,
Her consideration
So difficult to believe
How do I accept
Unconditional love?

She rises,
Traverses a menagerie
Boils water
Scoops dried leaves
Into my favourite
French kitten cup
(The one for tea,
She knows coffee
Goes in the green
Starbucks mug)
Long enough
And places beside me
“Drink it,
Before it gets cold,”

My heart quickens,
Remembering her soft lips
Heart bursting
Three years
I still don’t quite
Are real,

But she is action,
And her everyday kindness
Is its own indelible
Etched forever
Into the hollows
The dents and cracks,
Of our mutual
Love story.

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still life

see this
curving teak
brown as whole wheat toast,
handcrafted, fair-traded,
all smooth and concave
tiny droplets of water glistening within,
not from the yellow mangoes,
waiting to liquify;
the bowl is weeping,
useless as rotting fruit,
wishing to return
to the tree,
wondering why
she has been forsaken
here, on a blue-tiled counter,
with only fruit flies
to whisper
stories of home

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one spring day,
not this one,
i took sweet Charlie to the vet
for the last time;
a small thing
we all do,

she was special,
my Charlie,
who arrived to a Bad Marriage
and was Love incarnate,
letting toddlers pull her lips
and try to ride her…
so loved we got a second dog,
her younger sister…
running away in her older years
because she was deaf
and my voice no longer
penetrated her obsession
with food,

and then,
old, and sick,
she was caught in the middle
of The End,

a marriage marinated in alcohol
battles for custody
manipulations grand and microscopic
and one little dog,
rheumy-eyed and stinking,
slowly dying,

until that day,
four-year-old crying
“mama kicks Charlie”
the usual denials,
the lack of proof,
my heart,

i remembered all the times
in denial,
i had heard X muttering drunkenly
in the kitchen,
“i hate these damn dogs”
Charlie, as ever,
underfoot when food was at hand,

Charlie’s sister died of cancer;
a long process
of peeing blood and incontinence
doggy diapers
specialist visits
iv’s and needle aspirations
painful and, in the end
for nothing,

then, one year later,
in the middle of a war zone
Charlie started peeing blood
she became incontinent
“mama kicks Charlie,”
a small voice telling
a big truth,

when my week came
i took my little boys in my arms
and told them Charlie was sick
and soon would go to see her sister
they cried
they accepted
as children do,

i split my heart in two
one half strong and capable,
taking my sweet Charlie one last time
to the park,
the other half climbing a high tower
in an unfamiliar castle,
searching for a way
to survive,

i found a homing pigeon,
waiting atop the tower,
head cocked in perpetual question,
eye blinking at me

i had never sent a message
by pigeon,
but this pigeon seemed capable enough
so i pulled a red crayon from my pocket
and drew half a heart
on a bit of gum wrapper,
rolled it into a tiny scroll,
and placed it on the castle wall,

the pigeon took my burden
and spoke to me,
which also did not seem strange,
“i will find you in the future,
and bring your message home”

with the relief of feeling only half the pain,
Charlie and i made the final journey
where i dropped her off at the door
and did not accompany her
just a quick kiss,
and “see you later my little love,”
knowing i would not,

time passed
the divorce was finalized
life moved on
became more stable
the kids became happier,
and by some miracle
i found love,

perhaps it is five years to the day
but my mind won’t remember it
so i couldn’t say for sure
but last night,
i awoke to the sound of tapping,
and there was the pigeon,
head cocked,
waiting at my window,

she had come home to roost
bearing my broken heart
across time,
writ in crayon
on old gum wrapper
precious only to me,
i took the message in shaking hands
and cried,
feeling the full weight of guilt
and regret,
why had i not gone with Charlie,
to the end?

i understood at last
that survival sometimes requires
imperfect solutions;
Charlie, stoic as she was,
would forgive me,
and at some point,
i will forgive myself.

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do you feel the ticking?
time bomb in chest
egg timer clicking down
seconds to detonation
never exploding
just tic tic ticking
anticipating something
but what?
can’t think
brain muddled and,
it’s too hard to know
what future to hope for
so breathe so breathe
the only sign
that little flicking
of the fingers

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