My Poetry


Plainfield Vermont’s gravel turned to gem
Under wet, rolling, satin-weave.
In the constant pound of liquid, rock
Became ornament, touch-point
For play, a girl’s obsession.  Things
In volume help fill a mind with forget.

Anything may be used to forget;
The gathering of pebbles, pretend gems
Faithfully reaped from Grammie’s stream, things
For display are dark secrets set in satin.
Like seedlings in a cold frame, pointed
Vertically, smooth and rounded rocks

Wait to be stroked (as on a lap held rocking)
Between fingers until water forgets
To be liquid.  With the drying a point
Is made, cherished pearl and emerald once gem
Beneath pools, turn quickly to granite like satin’s
Underside.  Sometimes precious things

Are only precious when retained by the thing
That gave them beauty.  “Gram, were my rocks
Part of a great big mountain and did the satin
Rivers break them off?” Yes, shards forgot
their love affair with mountain, dreamt of gemmy
skins and took the river’s hand pointing

At new birth.  All canals point
Toward birth.  The delivery of infant things
To expectant children who fold gems
To their chest like baby dolls, rocking
Away ceaseless crush and bruise.  Forgotten
Is the relentless trek that formed the satin.

When small broken fingers made of satin
Call stone beloved even when the points
Of water evaporate and luster is forgotten,
Mountain’s safety and water’s frame are things
Transformed in the beholder’s eye.  A rocking
Grandmother knows about hugging stone to gem.

On a satin-stitched porch in Vermont, a girl’s things
Are pointed in rows on a windowsill, heart-shaped rocks
Forgotten with years, traded for the gem of memory.


What Begins the Obsession

Here at the Louvre
the same deceptions
of painted whirligigs
usual sculptures
and hints of human until,

I turn into the 17th Century--
to seizure of color--
this rectangular vat
of spices with faces
peeking through grain.
My eyes fall into eddy
of mustard and saffron,
bead between cardamom
and Madagascar vanilla,
seesaw over tarragon,
swim through paprika,
to finally alight on a column
of wet cinnamon. 
Such centrifuge of color pushes
me into wood, this slatted seat. 

Exhale and focus
compels me toward
your name---
Michelangelo Merisi, dit le Caravage (v.1571-1610)
La Mort de la Vierge

All others seem
like some old guy’s sacred
drawing eyes up
to unnatural women
swooning into space.

But this—
this ember sheered
window into Wake
exposes a real dead woman.
Relatives and friends
rapt in their own spaces,
an event happening now,
just beyond
this museum room.

Inside paint
I am incarnated.
From this point I search for you
and enter
every door
you’ve opened.

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