~for Karin, because I couldn’t go to her reading,

having instead a commitment to go learn about bears.


She emerges from the cleft between stones.

She is ragged and lean.

She smells hungry, like earth.

Her cubs clamor to be fed.

She digs beechnuts,

jack-in-the-pulpit bulbs,

things buried in bark.

She picks larvae from ruined hives.


The sun grows to warm her back.

Blossoms turn to berries around her.

Above her, music drops like petals from the sky.

SELF PORTRAIT: An April Prompt

Green sedges, buckthorn,
wild apple and willow,
grew in the hollow
where I hid, and cried.

Today, at dawn,
a single robin outside my window.
Later, ten thousand
blackbirds returned.

In overgrown pastures
beneath the weight of sunlight,
I steal blackberries
from the bears

who inhabit my dreams.
They rumble by the doors,
they prowl with the wolves
that no one sees but me.

If I were free,
I’d dig through ice,
cut away dead branches,
rake dead leaves.

My hands
are strong, my fingers
long.  Under my nails
the dirt of ten thousand springs.

Inside myself
I keep things
frozen, remote.
Sometimes I sing.


Written during Poetry Month, but it has raking leaves in it, so it counts as a fall poem.