I see this stretch of beach before me
I see my feet, one foot propped up on the ankle of the other
I see my hands, half buried in the sand
I see myself and the beach together beneath the sun
I see the sun propped up by what I do not see
I see the sun in the moist, transparent sky
I see beyond…
Beyond this terrestrial blue
Beyond this terrestrial warmth
Beyond all my energies and moods
Beyond all the footprints I may add to this stretch of beach
Beyond all I can finally grasp of all this sand seashell seaweed
sea foam surf sound seagull sea breeze stretch of beach
Beyond where space probes scan
Beyond where Hubbell’s power sees
Beyond where Hawking’s light cones meet the über-timeline
Beyond the black hole
Beyond the wormhole
I see this stretch of beach before me.
- Published in Palehouse and Science Poetry (N.H. McAlister)
Ghazal of the Unyoung Woman
Two hundred forty seasons seen! I’m an unyoung woman.
Who the hell has heard of me? I’m an unsung woman.
How I love my long brown hair! It hangs down past my waist.
Covers me like… Godiva! I’m a well-hung woman.
The way I started when you called my name—
No way that I can hide it: I’m a high-strung woman.
Though married, I wear no wedding ring.
I remain—quite faithfully—an unrung woman.
A wandering Lebenskünstler, I have laughed and loafed
my way around the globe. A far-flung woman.
See me groping for this elusive word. I’m a…
whaddayacallit? A tip-of-the-tongue woman.
Landsman, get your butt out of that bee-loud glade.
This minute! Or you’re going to get stung, woman.
- Published in The Ghazal Page and Literary Review East
After the News
The tea bag sinks to the bottom of the cup.
I wait a few minutes; watch as the water turns dark.
I sip the tea. It works no magic.
I go outside; watch the sun set.
As it sinks into the Pacific,
Cirrus clouds—high overhead—turn pink.
In Sarajevo, Mufid’s mother
Marinated pink rose petals in large glass jars of sugar water.
She set the jars on the window sill early in the morning—
They made the most of ordinary light.
In Osaka, sakura yuki. Cherry blossom snow.
That’s what I called it.
Walking along the river in the wind and rain—
At Kibbutz Usha, I killed a snake
On the stoop out back behind the kitchen.
In the middle of peeling and chopping two hundred seventy onions,
My eyes tear-blind and mad with stinging,
I smashed in its skull with a stone.
Night after night…
I think about the former Yugoslavia.
On the spot where Gavrilo Princip took aim and shot,
The impression of a pair of pointy-toed shoes
Is sunk in the sidewalk. Preserved in bronze.
I stood in them. They were just my size.
So many spots where I stood in Kobe
Waiting for all those job interviews, the trains at Sannomiya.
Waiting and watching as Black Vans rolled.
Impossible to not think about the Holy Land.
Tonight another bombing of another bus in Jerusalem…
Somewhere down the street a car backfires.
It startles me. I turn around.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century
the thing that still amazes me
is how easily I startle.
- Published in Whistling Fire, The Pedestal Magazine, Moondance, Backstreet, Through a Glass Darkly, and Contemporary Literary Horizon Magazine
On beyond Petrarch
American sonnets deliver more
Bang for the buck!
Dig that old
Form fresh up.
Good morning and good luck!
Juggle their rhymes, they also
Love (when the
Moon’s in the sky like a big pizza pie) may
Never again be enough.
- Published in Verse Wisconsin
In the middle
of my life
I will start
I will catch
Time’s my lover,
not my doctor.
- Published in The Quotable