A KIND OF DEVOTION (Atlanta Review merit award winner)
Her morning takes shape through the trees
emerging with first light, quickens to a flurry
of bird calls. She watches a cardinal perched
above an array of primroses, its plumage
an artful consort for their deeper reds.
Dawn burnishes every leaf, her gardens a rhapsody
of unfurling greens—awakenings she would
capture with renewed ardor, nurture with hands
hardened by toil: earth yielding to the shovel,
an armada of vines and weeds held in check.
Alone now, she drinks sunlit hours like wine,
calculating the seasons she can hope to steep
herself in this recurring idyll—spring’s
transcendent flowering—as year by year
members of her generation falter and slip away.
Their fluencies return in cloudbursts, drenching
rains. Yet nothing can keep her from a kind
of devotion: the warmth of the soil, the scent
of lilac or mown grass, cloudless skies opening—
work a healing, a benediction keeping her aloft.
"Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads."
BREAD-MAKING (Poetry East)
I grapple with dough, time and the elements,
sifts of flour, pellets of yeast.
Snow angles down tentatively,
milled by obscure hands. Blessed
is the risen morning. I fling myself
devotedly across stale decaf,
wisps of tobacco, and pelt the bread
with deft fists. The penitent dogwood
cups its branches skyward, snagging
shreds of snow. I succumb to random
drifts, kneading my hunger to the bone,
covering myself with sheer monotony,
wringing from a few mute hours
whiteness, vacuity, the loaves of bread.
I inch the hands of the clock toward lunch.
WHITE (Hotel Amerika)
And so goes the glossy-leaved magnolia,
its midriff a ladder of compound fractures,
and so the symmetry and any hope of redemption.
Let the cry be havoc and the bitter pill rue—
what I might have done after shoveling
had I wallowed through knee-high drifts
and found my Edith Bogue nearly buried.
Come the plows and all across town
the surgical drone of chainsaws—bundles
stacked curbside like corpses during a plague.
Call it an offering to an implacable god—
pain exacted from pleasure: pride in canopied
streets and bowers, no less my magnificent tree,
its ten-inch flowers a seductive white—
white as bone china, white as gardenias,
white as lilies and orchids or the freshest of linens,
a white only to be eclipsed by snow.
THIS MUCH OF LIFE (Iodine Poetry Journal)
As if time were running out,
everything rushes to bloom—
the air heavy with lilac
and daphne, iris unwrapping
each swollen bud
petal by petal, the flush
of azalea everywhere. You knew
the wasting months would follow,
the sun consume this verdure,
this fragile lushness. For the moment,
for a week or two, as the maples
spin their seeds in the dizziness
of perfect days, I fill myself
with earth’s fresh scent
and all it has to teach me:
how much of life is loss.
Selection of Online Poems
"House Noises" in String Poet
"Look Who's Talking" in Muddy River Poetry Review
"What's Happening" in Muddy River Poetry Review
"Lawless" in Josephine Quarterly
"Sonnet Against the Night" in Poetry Porch
"Indian Summer" in Verse-Virtual
"Quickening" in Valparaiso Poetry Review
"Suits" in Wilderness House Literary Review