What Crows Say About Black

What else is black?

A dragonfly frequenting backyards,
hunting metallically.
Flat wings, smear soot thin.

A rural road’s moonless night
where tree branches take
the passer-by pulse—they rustle

the scrape history lammed
onto bark thinly thinly
as dragonfly wings and first time

hearing white tail bucks stamp
and hiss in the pitch dark I tumble
into the ditch prostrate like a penitent.

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The Beard On My Face

She used to touch the beard on my face,
Whether nascent or full,
And stroke it with two fingers.
She would indulge in the bristles
As they bit tenderly into her chin
When we kissed and kissed
The way we used to
Kiss and kiss.
She loved when it was mostly brown and a little blonde and ginger
And loved it more when the white began to overtake the brown and blonde
And touch of ginger.
If I shaved because it’s not our world but theirs
And I must get along sometimes
She would be sad but understanding of that.

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Immemorial

That greedy wheedler the aspen 
shakes its golden leaves. In earth,
its shoots snatch another foot.

And a young woman suddenly died, 
quietly, from a quiet well-loved life.
No cause is known. Her eyes 
that flicked like lizards closed.

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We Install a Sump Pump on (What Used To Be) a Holiday (Take 4)

Horsetail is a type of weed; it never tires
Of itself. Make your big hands useful, and un-
Screw this greedy pipe. Second of all,
Habit and opinion failed to teach you;
Holly’s not a weed. Go toss it in the waste
Bin with your pride. They love mechanics,

Angels do. On PBS, they say the past is always
On the move. Well, you’re my engineer;
The past is time’s hypotenuse, right, dear?

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Wildling

Comfortable in the cold,
mist tendrils rising
across morning garden,
dew-dampened boots
dry in the rising wind.
Cracking this year’s journal,
I release pleasure to the river.
Behind a dome of December clouds,
the sun struggles.

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Horizon Views

Ocean to horizon…
land to horizon…
a woman stands
between.

She stares at the distance
and dreams of where
driftwood was born
as its temporary home
snags her shore.

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I Love Trees

Standing tall, resolute in thunderstorms,
blizzards or sunshine, bending in breezes, 

home to squirrels, hummingbirds and
owls. Silent, wonderfully silent in quiet 

majesty, bothering nothing, existing, living 
in due course their destiny without rancor, 

war or bitterness. Who lives here with more 
grace and dignity than trees? Who is it?

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So You Know Who You Are

Never a moment of still air. Memories
a rib-crack and a hard hard way to breathe.

In the living room a dream like an infection
hid beneath the couch covers. I kept my eyes closed

tight. What happens when a past looms against endless sky
spilling cyclones and debris. Whimpers, strings

of saliva, the space between his teeth, her doggy
long tongue. I kept my eyes closed. Displaced wind,

outside squeezing through the crack beneath
a door. What happens when history gasps.

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the still water that runs deep

somewhere on the coastline of my memory, two girls and a slick canoe
glide across a blue puddle, their opposite oars dipping in tandem.

one girl stands and stumbles like a wave overcome,
while the other sits and stares at their watery window.

beneath the girls, liquid glass and undersea sidewalk.
beyond them, a fish’s bones settled at the brink

of a sandbar’s black out. the girls are only canoeing because
the wave-like one is scared of fish, and feels their lips against her feet

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