Winter Moon

She mounts the heavens nightly in the cold.
In her curving orbit stately, ancient grace.
She eradicates the day, brings forth the night.

I never feel so loved as in the night.
Surrounded by her light, her gaze so cold,
the stars surrounding her with twinkling grace.

No lovers could compare to her in grace,
the way she carves out pathways in the night
and bathes me in her nimbent light, so cold.

Cold and full of grace, the moon appears
and guides me gently through each winter night.

Featured image found here.

Nudity: An Ode

warm winds touch bare skin
softer when it is
divested of restraining fabrics

water kisses more gently
the flanks we bare
so willingly

eyes see more clearly
into eyes
stripped of defenses

laid nude like
heroic marble
standing tall
and unafraid

Photo credit: Self portrait of a reclining Amelie Rives Chanler. (MSS 8925. Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

The Dissolution of Fear Itself

It eats at me
a gnawing thing
burrowing deep, it
settles into muscles
and organs.

I breathe it
into sentences
with you.

As I reveal it,
I feel it
Teeth and jaws
into bones
and sinew.

I’m fearlessly reborn.

Featured image from the Sleep of the Beloved series by Paul Schneggenburger.

Love in a Time of Bleeding

I think I must be lucky
as you lay me down
blankets soft and warm
eyes heavy.
Our dog breathing in
the space between us.
I will not feel it
when you come to bed
hours later, or minutes,
I’m never sure.
But I will wake
in the night
and you will be there,
as you always are.
Soft and warm
hands reaching out for me.

I think I must be lucky
as you feed me.
Turning out healthy food
in our small kitchen.
Dragging me into a world
full of flavor.
Sometimes I want to buy you
a chef’s hat. And I know
that you would wear it
at an angle, jaunty,
dapper, as you feed me.
Feed my heart alongside
my stomach. Feed my joy.

I think I must be lucky
as you take my hand
beneath the din of the city
and lead me on adventures.
As we enter new dance floors
discover strangers and cocktails,
bar rooms and restaurants,
craft shows and wineries.
My gorgeous sojourner.
I see the eyes that
follow you, as I once
followed you. I smile
in the faces of those admirers.
They so wish they were me.
But I am me. And I know
I am lucky
every time you grace me
with your kisses
every time you show me
I am loved.
I know.

Sestina: Fire, Grief, Drunk

I remember my grandmother’s life
in a way that I have never seen, her might
revealed in the face of countless griefs
Before the weight of them drove her, drunk,
over the edge into this weakened state.
I remember her before the fire.

They say there is no smoke without a fire
and that is true in my grandmother’s case, her life
defined by flame, this charred and dusty state.
She never knew the force of it. That fiery might,
much stronger than her own, would leave her, drunk
mingling cold beers with her tearless grief.

But back before she reached this outcast state
the world I’m sure was not so full of grief.
Her eyes sometimes reflect forgotten might
within them burning a long-banked, potent fire
The world has forgotten her pre-frail life,
but I remember it with my imagination and I’m drunk

on the idea. I envision her before the drunken
stupor that has followed her from grief to grief. The state
of her before the fire took her children. Took her life.
Deep within her eyes I see the her before the fire.
I remember, with my imagination, might.

In my mind’s eye she sometimes might
sit around a table and deal poker, drunk
a smile on her face and that familiar fire
born before her, cigarette hanging in state
and all the men bow their heads in grief
as she takes their money. Poker is her life.

She moves within that carded sphere. Life
simply drawn in cards of black and red, her might
felt in hands of five. She gives men their grief.
Her hair like a beehive and she’s drunk
on joy, her hair disheveled, concentrating, stately.
Her cherry’d cigarette the only fire.

I dream her life before she was a drunk
imagining her might before this state
her body bent by grief, heart weak with fire.

Other People’s Pools

in the summertime we’d gather.
when the heat rose through our feet
and made our barefoot lives untenable.

our parents packed and piled us,
we teams of children, small barbarians,
into mini vans and busses.
on arrival we threw ourselves through
neighbors houses, loud with summer frenzy.

we were chaos manifest. we
did not pause to take in the serenity
that is a dormant pool.
its mirrored surface marked
with leaves of trees
too hot to bear the weight
gentle ripples caused by bugs’ wings
iridescent, brushing the surface
on their way about their business.

delirious with heat,
sick with the sun, we
scattered into riotous motion
the bugs who buzzed
around the surface
                (dancing, biting things
                their green chrysalises
                the color of our bathing suits)

sticky in the sun we
plunged, bodies arching
in the light like rainbows,
into blue and white.
so cold our teeth would chatter
so pure we would not protest
the chill that arched through to our bones.

we tossed each other’s toys and then,
mimicking the pose of ancient divers,
set out. fingers fumbling, we found them
floating to the bottom of the pool
bellies brushing cement,
eyes open, goggles on.

we were sharks, then,
fingers clutching prizes, predatory,
the sea of legs above a tempting sight.
we stalked the icy depths,
eight feet below,
then pounced! our prey,
once friends, made splashing, shouting protest.

we lounged,
large jungle cats disguised as kids,
arms and legs dangling,
bodies sheared by
hard lines of cold water
splitting us
between earth
                        and captured sea

What Waking Stole

dreaming, we know how high the moon

how deep the sea, how red the sands of distant shores
where intersecting places dive up t’ward the world
where they part, and where our dreams divide us
sheer us root to crown and send us seeking
sleepers waked and walking in the world

we have looked across the intervening space
at strangers faces, over coffee, sometimes in a crowd
we have known them from the footprints in our dreams
the shapes of somnus feet spelled out in recesses
somewhere behind the eyes where lies

a rumbling recognition

we have reached out to each other, each to each
slumbering arms spanning seas and continents

caught each other in passages to nightmare

and soothed our friends to waking

we have plunged our bodies into seas of strife

removed villainous weapons before they could cut

staged hot air balloon rescues from the edges of cliffs

we have been the heroes of each other’s dreams

we have stood together, you and I,

upon the crumbling bridge of moonlight between here and Mars

we have built a ladder out of childish things

clambered ‘cross it to the shadow’d crags of distant shores

we have been pirates, villains, friends and lovers

and sometimes, when we wake, we still remember

before the light of day mutes memories

we know, still, the faces of our friends

and we know

we know

we know how high the moon