Twenty-five marble stairs
out of breathe
I wiggle the rusted latch up
lean my weight
on thick weathered wood
step into Umbria’s sky
over green divides
yellow ochre crazy patches
tree rows
bell towers
“Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!”
like nobody could hear me but the swifts
and my Dad’s holy smiling spirit
All finally close enough.



If it were a color
it would be white on blue-gray
tingling down my arms
shooting out through my fingertips
as they run down your spine.

Last night I dreamed
your back was a mountain ridge in my painting
curved sides like slides, symmetrical.
It took three tries to paint the mountain
the perfect red of canyon walls,
and your back was healed, just like that.

So go on
haul boxes,stack lumber
load the love seat in your truck
take it home
with you
forgive me
if I can’t smile
as you leave me still wet with goosebumps
pond-side with blue heron.



This morning
a sandpiper walked with his thin legs
down my stream
on the rocks
under forsythia’s
first days shy blooms
through wet snow.

We saw sandpipers
when you got off the interstate
you pulled your truck filled with paintings over
to the biggest tree
picked up a branch
held it over your head
My deer

Unloading paintings
sandpipers at the storage unit
in the gravel looking for bugs

This snow everyday
way into April
is making me cry.


Northern Flicker

We walked the path
drunk from the first blooms of white star magnolia
sat on trees that grew sideways like benches

I turned around
pulled over
picked up the norther flicker
from the center line
silky on my fingers
candy cane red
yellow gold stripes
eyes blinking
I set him in low weeds
watched him
watch me
till he flew
into the field



Poor fat bellied anxious robin
you know it’s always the last cold day
always almost
enough seeds in the snow
fell yesterday
from the feeder

I dreamed you smiled
as I walked toward you
your face changed
you held a carpenter’s pencil
you drew a line.



Yesterday when I opened the door
bluebird flew up fast
to the line
stayed while I walked under
thankful for returns
Yet, still can’t lift my head
off the feather pillow
cheek from the combed cotton case
cat from my back
I’m down
like when
my knees bent
on the floor
howling NO when I heard
he hung himself.

I almost told you once
when I was seven
talking with food in my mouth
my dad slapped me
and my tooth flew across the table.
I’m sure it was loose anyway.