To a Construction Worker in the Hills of Portugal Near the Sea

You hack at your ancient red hills
like those creatures who eat parts of their own bodies
digging for the gold of overpopulation, pollution, and upward mobility
for 60 escudos a day
to deliver the Northerner’s rich dream
and at sunset sit in the old plaza deafened by swallows
and return to the crumbling tile-roofed box of earth beyond the hill
and at dawn once again set the long white caterpillar of villas
creeping toward you to devour you.

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Tree Communion

I know a grave in the woods
tricked with running cedar, mulched
with hickory and storms, telling heaven
to dance cobble-rock and quail-feather,
tuning up the sprouts, and all the thaws,
so they smooth and wriggle, and they smooth
and bank up every skeleton against a ghost,
so they all sing, so they all remember names
that touch like the tallest willow’s shadow
cribbing across the face of an old woman
waiting to find me here at home and alive.

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Hummingbird Communion

We trace the rarest hummingbird
in our fossilized eyes. It’s the blurring field
slimmed from its wings. It’s the blue throat
captioning our brains, saying color, wow,
color, fire, no words, shake a million nerves
then scratch out every voice. It colors you
with no other world. It holds you. It moves.

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Sky Communion

Last night the sky was a child
coughing into a blanket, drawing
itself from a pale aurora jabbed
with another storm on the sun,
as if it’s got a circle of old friends
jumping tombstones. There might
have been a tribe of younger stars
dropping empty green rose-stems
through our curtains. Except last
night the child slipped its ghost
and stretched the sunrise against
the river trees.

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Pitter-Patter

It’s not torrential
or even steady,
this moderate rain,

more from the eaves than
the clouds. I’ve long closed
the blinds; I hear it,

not see it. Like
the tentative steps
of would-be visitors

killed in car crashes.

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Last Known Location of Snr Wil Flowers, Director of Intelligence, NWF

You always want it to make sense, 
Like knucklebones, like how swallowing works. 
Simple eye of mechanics developed 
Over millions of years of failure. Humans
Are the success of their failure time and time again. 
That’s whats truly alien. Truly unnatural
As the sky opens up, the black roll of stars, planets –
Some like necks on the gallows, some like an arena stage. 
The maw is the medicine with death as a common side effect. 

Then, nothing makes sense. Its a fugue state, lips dripping 
Words over delayed relays. Mission specialists
Still sitting in Ohio struck mud like American-made pigs, 
while you snort down wildlife powder and hope the TOG adaptions 
They gave you don’t go liquid in your stomach. Survival 
Rates of surgery in orbit aren’t what they used to be. 
You, your own scalpel and organ donor, doctor, and lawyer. 

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Brood Parasite

The cowbird cares only for her own
propagation. Nest-stealer, child-trader.
A clutch of brown-spotted eggs
sheltered elsewhere. The cowbird
merely uses what others have created.
Others raise her children.
Others feed her young.
If her child stabs a fragile fledging
from the colonized species
with a beak that hungers for more,
this is no injustice. The cowbird is not evil.
Survival is a promise of life, not a tragedy
to mourn.

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Fat Trek

I stumble over oak roots
on my fat trek down to the lake,
ignore jingling ice cream vendors,
Dunkin’ Donuts shops, Krispy
Kreme allure.

Rorschach patterns on my back,
I stop for water at a tactile
stone bubbler, not distracted
by the lemonade fountains,
root beer floats or sugared
hyacinth teas and I avoid
I-HOP for lunch.

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In Praise of Community

A coterie of chick-a-dees
communes
in my maple tree.
A tribe of constellations
self-distances
in the rising night.
Brown-robed monastics
bow
before broken bread.
Circles of poets
zoom
from inspiration rooms.
Fellowships
connect
black/brown/yellow/white/red.

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