Without the guidance of the noonday stars

Where will I be when I confront the dark
the stars have lived in for millennia?

I’m no ascetic, I love what I call
earthly paradise, the vegetable stand
beside the road, I love to buy, devour
seconds after purchase, peach juice on my chin,

my sticky fingers unfit for anything
except delicious licentiousness,
licking them clean, tonguing sweetness, myself.

But to keep hungry, I need that wavering
incertain doubt provides my stars at noon,
the luminous I think I’m making up
some days. And other days I count on, countless.


Born of damp and demise,
little prodigies haunt the shadows,
like conversations we live
to forget. Wild mushrooms
lift their spongy overnight ears,
and muscle aside the fallen
eye-shine of chestnuts. Among us,
the old argument crops up,
and both parties hunker down
in the woods. This is where
we get the verb mushroom:
we, who launch our ripostes, seeding
the air beyond what it can hold.
What if we can’t find the truth?
The man losing his faith in speech
utters blurred shapes, like those caps
and stems, ghostly with foxfire,
savvy and sprouting, in hopes
they illumine the woodland floor.

Hauntingly misshapen poem

“And she utterly denyed her guilt of Witchcraft; yet justifyed
God for bringing her to that punishment: For she had when a
single woman played the harlot.”

—John Hale, A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft

this is
not easter
wings at
least not
yet this
is what is
when you
find they

and all
you can
do now
is break
to ask
how did
this fall
any flight
in her

A conjecture leading to a Psalm

So you doubt the whereabouts of God,
a quark, everywhere yet nowhere at once.
So the hell what? Doubt you the wind,
doubt sandstone erosion and trilobite carapace.
Let faith in dawn weather slow as feldspar.  
The sperm whale’s lungs collapse a thousandfold
in unfathomable depths, yet bear it, unyielding.
You who preach against miracles, go doubt
the arctic tern asleep on the wing.
Doubt that a father will leave untouched
constellations of frost inside his windshield,
the breath of his child frozen overnight.
Doubt that bodies lose a few grams the moment
of death. Doubt that, you who will, doubt that.

Vine maple (III)

(Acer circinatum)
Gray leaves, ghost leaves
    buried under
        the winter snowpack.

Now, in spring, they lay
    their desiccated hands
        atop the ladders

of Oregon grape,
    hoping to climb
        out of the grave.

            —Ross Lake National Recreation Area