Poetry

Poetry

Lacunae

I praise the button hole’s accomplishment,

praise trash cans so rusted and broken,
they puzzle the garbage man,

praise the water-well dowser’s uncanny walk
as he extends an iron rod or a beach branch:
which ever will most surely remember
the dry land’s hallowed grief.

I praise the woman who thought to embroider
upon an altar cloth both cutwork angels
and Containing within itself all sweetness.

I praise the Calusa Indians of Charlotte Harbor
of whom it has been said: If their hands and noses
were cut off, they took no account of it.

Who can say if the pleasure of acceptance
is better than the power of denial?

O, reader, in the midst of this, our conversation
here in our paper garden, I praise our silences.











On the airplane someone else sleeps

How does this other woman dream
and does it seem
a secret place
of cloud-swept lace?

Where do the roads go down below?
Awake, I know:
in sleep’s ravine
I’d miss this scene.

If it were me how could I sleep
where shadows keep
a path of me
across each tree?



From Lindisfarne

The route wends rock
to slippery rock, round
seaweed clumps bared

by ebbing tide, from
ruined priory to sunlit
isle lush with flowers

and blowing grass—
hermitage for pilgrims
hastening on. At the

cathedral light filters
into Saint Cuthbert’s
shrine, where sculpted

stone lauds the Christ,
who twines all storied

with his.













Mourning for Zenaidura

Outside the window, seeds laid on the ledge,
A sick dove staggered, pecked, staggered again,
And while I watched, it toppled off the edge
And lay struggling, then feebly pecked again.
I took some water in a small can lid
and set it by its unprotesting bill,
I built a barrier so it was hid
From predators seeking an easy kill.
Night came and dawn, and with the morning light
I saw the vanity of what I’d done;
The dove was there, eyes rigor mortis tight,
Flecked feathers golden in the morning sun.
I took some comfort in an ancient word,
“God knows when sparrows fall,” or any bird.

El plato especial

Chisme, oh that succulent dish sold
and served with a side of snide
words wrapped in caring concern
for your health. People urge you to unpackage
your heart. They slop it, boiled or roasted,
on a plate of I-told-you-so’s, sumptuous
and steaming. They plunge their teeth into chile
picante comments, those juicy and spicy words.
They wound and scrape, sticking to forks,
pitching tongues. People munch their meal,
this food. You, too, relish it. Each morsel
you savor. Until the flavor floats and reaches
your stomach. You chew and wonder
why the special of the day tastes so familiar.