Subjects Suitable for Poetry

Those buttercups that ran along the walkway of your grandmother’s house, and the red begonias she dug out of the ground every September and brought into the warm kitchen, a woodstove, a little table with flowers on it. I could say this, hepatica in spring, green fire upon a common grackle’s wing, the first snow,…Read more »

In Bright Summer

In bright summer we picked peaches for hours, for days each tree a dense house of hungry bees and birds, dipping fingers into the sweetness of now against the time when there would be none Every farmer knows scarcity; every farmer knows hope this is the lesson my father taught me walking for hours behind…Read more »

Sorrow’s Kitchen

Do you think your troubles belong to you? Think again. Do not hold them so protectively to your breast. I see you. Rumi says our sorrows come to us like gifts, pomegranates Ready to explode into a thousand seeds of joy. Don’t resist. Ben Robertson’s grandmother gathered all the children Of her family every Thanksgiving…Read more »

Ruby and Darling

Ruby, I’m not your daddy. You shouldn’t introduce me like that. Darling, you’re the closest thing to family I got. Would you rather I said sugar daddy? Ruby, I’m not even close to being your sugar daddy. You pay the rent and almost all the bills around here. I’m just kind of a hanger-on with…Read more »

Field Peas

Field Peas-A Mirrored Poem Shelling southern field peas What a porch meditation Each tight leathery jacket Only a fingernail can separate This is a spiritual ritual for me Necessary, nourishing, tending I call in my bold grandmothers Singing, tasting the atmosphere Opening a line to the ancestors Crowders-purple hulls-cowpeas- African peas Opening a line to…Read more »

House Mouse

House Mouse                                                                                 Gary Phillips I favor every member of the Rodentia family Arboreal fossorial or semi-aquatic From whistle-pigs to capybaras and springhares  Kangaroo rats, mountain beavers, porcupines the swift agouti with her pine nuts gathered Flying squirrels aloft on their patagiums Large-eared pikas practicing coprophagy With none of de Sade’s precocious rebellion Intelligent,…Read more »

On the River

Two older boys and me, loaded with gear Came to the green river in nighttime. We trolled the river and laid out some lines And water was over my chest at times. It was a year like any other year. Our forests lost and farmland gone to seed, We caught some fish and cooked them…Read more »

Dear Books

Dear precious books, one of my families: Thank you for saving my life when I was a teenager, especially Ursula Leguin and Andre Norton, for offering me sweet refuge and constant inspiration, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for helping me begin a rich continual virtual life. Octavia Butler. I fall in love with you every day/Bastard Out…Read more »

Eyes on the Marsh

See the clever mockingbird sitting with a boat-tail on the abandoned telephone wire? Close but not too close, facing the same direction, the same sunset.   A pair of house finches cleaning each other’s beaks. What a display of body-sharing! I set down the spyglass.   Mergansers flying in a morning circle, light and easy…Read more »