Zebra Cake

Four years old,
     and I’ve already been schooled.

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Picked for You

after Mary Powell

The matron’s eyes are dark, and hollow.
Her skirt is an indistinct pleated gray,
while a darted white blouse billows
below the boat-necked breast
and above an elasticized waist.
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I Come from the Dry Valley

after the lady Skagit

Sunlight floods half the road on which I travel;
a shadow cast by the guardrail obscures my lane—
the westbound side, which rushes past bitterbrush,
bluebunch wheat grass, ponderosa, and sandstone.
This Methow thirst can consume entire rivers.

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Southern Cross: A Poet Breaking Silence

(after Francis Thompson)

Imagine a night sky in the Barrens
      without the North Star.

Imagine that Zeus had never thrown
      Callisto into the sky,
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Cashmere Easter

Orchards hang in the evening air,
splayed along alluvial bottomland
like sagging, vast, corporeal mists,
ordered rows of sentient sentinels.

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Strachur Entreaty

Boxing Day, 2002. You lie
on the gatehouse chaise
adoze by a compact fire
that I stoke in your silence.
To sleep, perchance to dream…
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What You Will

I come not to you with words of wisdom
      but with words that unseal doors
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Poet’s Bane

On a dark star-filled night
I step outside long after
the town retires and gaze
upward, dogged stillness
the analogesic to my soul.
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906 am

You
know the
feeling: waking
up staring to
the right where
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Sparks

Take these incendiaries with you on the trail:
let the words themselves be fat and resinous;
impregnate the charcoaled ink with paraffin;
and may the whole be written upon the scroll
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