What if

On the back of the MBTA bus
An ad for Devil Dogs complete
With photos of “vanilla-flavored
Crème sandwiched between two
Fun-shaped Devil’s Food cakes”
Exclaims “Yes please!” urging us
To “listen to our cravings” which is
To say consume whatever we imagine
Might fill the hungry ghost of fear
That dwells in each of us living
In this land of plenty where more is
Never quite enough: but what if
Craving became longing for something
Of another order, and what if we instead
Said “Yes” to prisoners, lepers, refugees,
And what if we might someday learn
To let this moment be enough,
This naked twig, this autumn sky,
This bird in flight, this drifting leaf.


to the sparrows in the terminal at Mitchell Field, Milwaukee

all your life you have to travel somewhere
crumb to crumb
floor to soffit, bubbler to piano,
the spread of atrium
and your still point an immense sanctum
that holds the pattern of your flight

and if you knew how wide
        was the offering of your sky,
            how far would you fly?

all your life you have to roost somewhere
plastic tree
girder or spar, baggage claim,
the top of a shop, security,
and your sanctuary whatever peace
can keep safe winged desire

and if you knew how unblessed
        was the safety of your nest
            how long would you rest?


The kindergarten bus bounces past me this morning as
I shamble out to my car and a little cheerful kid waves
To me shyly and whatever it is we are way down deep
Opens like a fist that’s been clenched so long it did not
Think it would ever open again and for a moment I am
That kid and she is my daughter and I’m waving to her
Hoping she will wave to me and we think that we can’t
Write that for which we do not have words but actually
Sometimes you can if you go gently between the words

Bleeding heart

(Dicentra formosa)

Finally, a flower after my own.
       You there, hanging

in unashamed bivalve clusters
     at the feet of ancient cedars.

So few of them left, you know.
     Is that what breaks you? Is that

what makes you wear your sweet pink
     ventricles on your green sleeve?

                                         —Rockport State Park

Organic ink

Petals unfold from your tongue, you speak crimson
velvet freshness into being. An opening bud of careful
precision, a floral life floating on your breath, bees, and boundary.
You expand a mystery of molecules, at your word atomic spice
springs into breeze; you dizzy hummingbirds, intoxicate butterflies.
Shining beams play, shimmer, light your Shulamite, invite a tango.

You draw. Come, find my notes poured out in the garden, etched among
lemons and limes. See, the lost apricot awakens! Sweet shoots adorn
black crumbling branches. On every cell I inscribe: what was dead is alive.

You wait for me to discover your love among the leaves and thorns,
(will I perceive it?) your hidden blossom of wonder, a shy heart-shaped
valentine of third heaven, a sachet for this moment, a marked downbeat

of song, a bodily inhale of my eyes and skin and hair and breath. Filled
with rising melody, your unspoken lyrics whispered on wind, I join
your written roses in swaying dance, in blood-red bloom of belonging.