The terms of our surrender


this place has become carnivorous,
and our time here,
illegible to our children

having written our smudged armistice
with our fingers
from a pit of the ashed bones of
a juniper tree

from some goddamn general’s
to which
we are both bound

we understand each other
well enough
to spit into the darkness
of our mother’s land,
but we will not outlast
the dirt under which
she rests

you can see
the winter years have cinched around us both
and our uniforms
have less integrity than when we started

i knew your father
and he knew mine
and somehow circumstance
proposed we
hate each other
in this

most regrettable of times

we agree
to despise each other together
for the mutual benefit of our

and whatever is left of our blood


Chicken scratch


It’s the same, every night. I reach for the dream, and I’m grabby-fingered, grievous.

The dream– no, she — is my beautiful. The woman, alone, in front of a barn, tossing scratch to the chickens. She wears a faded bluey sundress, and it is judiciously short, judicious sassy, cut just above the knees, threadbare and very old. It is 1960’s Flower-Power aphrodisia. She doesn’t care. She loves who she is, and I’m a bystander. I see her from profile: the tilt of her hips, the slow current of her arms, the equid arch of neck. Her hair is long, and it flows like a fire beside a curved river. This is her, and this is her’s.

The light captures every grain of the chicken scratch, effervescent dust, as it drifts to the dirt. Even in dreams, everything is bound by gravity. The sun falls below the hills, bloody and huge, and she is cast in it, a form too pure to be possessed. Her dress becomes invisible and she is a body radiant.

She turns to me and turns from me, and I understand. And I grieve.

Silence at the western fenceline

Silence at the western fenceline

We stare at the lines, divided,
you and I stark and misguided,
worn dull by day’s exhausted breath
we move on by hope of certain rest;
by day and by step, with faith our bequest
and by trust, and what it will cost us.

April silk

april silk

Lilac leaves are the surest sign that spring has stopped teasing. Although the flowers rarely last more than a week here, the leaves possess their own silky beauty. I’ve photographed them many times over the years, and they always draw me back for more.