from a prompt



The chambered nautilus expands,

seals off each outgrown space,

and yet the empty rooms remain

as spiraled witness to the change.


The growing shell is not a burden

to the wanderer inside

who uses it to stay afloat,

and when it’s time, to dive.


And thus may we use all we’ve known

and all that we’ve believed

to navigate the sea we’re in

as long as we’re alive.

Winter Prompts #29: Credo


I. Unum Deum

Nothing bursts into being.

Universes bruise together.

Where did the surface scatter first?

What if every what if is real?

The word we need is Emanuel.


II. Et incarnatus est

Comprehension: the whole

with its layers of gravity, darkness

at the center beyond the constant light.


Every fragment gathered.

One bread, one cup. Water

is wine, enemies beloved.


Every anxiety, every wound

of every small being wound

back into the singular dark where


division fails, the powers fall.

At the intersection of love and pain

all coheres, and is raised.



III. Vivificantem

It’s fire we breathe,

the gas of burning

cooked out from the deaths of stars.

Brood across our chaos,

flame through our loss,

singing our every tongue.

Fear not. We will conceive.


Cheating. I wrote this a long time ago.

Winter Prompt #22: Crust


Winter Prompt #22

I used to study this stuff:

mantle, crust and core.

The mantle and core poetic,



the thin dark covering

of protection, something

a goddess might wear,

or a saint.


the golden heat—at least

golden in the texts—

at the center. The wobble,

the weight.  But


recalls chicken pox blisters,

chapped lips, skinned knees,

burnt toast on school-day

mornings. Shiftiness,

instablility. Not poetic,

only metaphorical.



I spat into the tube and sent it off

and now I know:  I descended from a

crabapple tree. A nettle by the river

was my grandfather, but the oak I call

Grandmother is not an ancestor at all.

The snapping turtle I moved from the road,

the wolf spider I met in the garden

scurrying away with her white egg ball,

are second cousins. I am part fox, stillness

on the edge of the meadow. I am part

owl, passing on silent wings. I am thrice

removed from an otter, four times from a deer.

Catbird is my brother—I knew it all along.

We sing the same cobbled-together song.

April Prompts: Number 10

April Prompts: Number 10

Kari #4:  Something microscopic




Stems with branches simple or forked,

spreading or crowned.

Close-clung leaves in all their forms,

midribbed or not, toothed or not,

ribbed, folded or bordered.

Capsules in all their varieties:

hooded, lidded, puckered, reflexed.

No root, no flower, no seed,

some puff spores on breaths of breeze,

some make nests of eggs

to splash and hatch in place,

some brood branches break.

Drip water on dry moss

and watch the leaves unfold,

stems swell and sway.


As if that weren’t enough,

one late winter day, I watched

a scrap pulled from a rotting log

waken and fill with wet.

Oval mid-ribbed leaves

tight set. And as the leaves

unfurled, a tiny fly crawled

through my field of view:

one square inch, its world.



Everything is a stone in a river:

your pain, your loss, your dread

of death. Every fire and storm

and plague.  And all

the grim gray

blots of history: every word,

every gesture of every king,

general, judge, every confession

of every heretic,

poet, liar and saint.

Step back

now from yourself, your little

times. That river is lined with

mountains, mountains

made of stars, stars

of dust of stars:  stones

of light in the larger dark.


Drop a stone in a river

and watch it sink beneath

the river dust

and dust’s dissipation.


You are dust

and to dust you shall return.


You are history, the river’s

brown water. You are

star and mountain.

Every stone.