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Autumn on the cusp,

crickets mute fiddling,

birds&squirrels scrap 

for crumbs,

weeds wild, unplucked,

foliage paused

awaiting briskness,

temperature gauge falls,

moon one shade bluer.



I cannot fix.

In my dreams,

their voices--





Dedicated to my friend

After Catullus' poem, Ave atque vale,
  written upon the death of his brother

her shell abandoned.
I speak to her ashes,
to her vibrant spirit.
She struggled
against paralyzing
disease, carried rawpain
on her narrow
shoulders, worn thin.
Her flame passes  
into wisps of smoke.
Absent faith to anchor me,
habit tilts my face skyward,
I whisper 

Of this, I am certain,
the world is less
without her.

By the side

It began as a spat,
sparked into an argument,
we raged against each other,
hurling lightning bolts,
crackling through opaque india-ink,
jagged shards piercing, moon and stars
languishing before our pyrotechnics,
our rumbling thunder
drowning night-songs.

We broke each other
and walked away,
by the side of the road,
as cars swerve and flatten.

Dedicated to Yola Mascia Melchiorre, 1913-1995

A pianist, an artist, a linguist, a professor,
so many talents, like her younger brothers,
but she lacked the XY chromosome,
when few women worked outside of home,
few women envisioned another path,
few women stepped away.
Her father treated her differently,
replied to her differently,
“you don’t really want to”, 
his catch-all phrase,
repeated till she believed it, too,
believed she couldn't, shouldn't.
She pushed aside her ambitions,
molded herself into a new, narrow shape,
that of wife and mother,
she made those roles her whole life.

There was nothing left of the other woman,
unable to even imagine
what might have been.

Visuals in the night without corrective lenses

I startle into awake,
the room dark, yet in the shadows
three figures gather by my bed,
three figures unmoving, unspeaking,
hands together, hands uplifted,
in prayer, in blessing, in admonishment?

Fog heavy in my head,
fear looms, patience thins,
I reach toward the nearest light.
A floor lamp with its wide shade,
one of the trio, a momentary comfort,
but what of the other two?
Angels, aliens, two Weird Sisters
with a Macbethian prediction?

Cocooned into sleep,
caught by a vague whisper
of a tangible
somewhere within.

Color of friendship

Neon blue, inspiration of Rothko,

I run my fingers through it,

streak my face, my arms,
a Scottish Pict preparing for battle.
My friend is wounded,
in need of protection,

I channel the spirit of the she-bear.
Nose skyward to catch the scent,
claws unsheathed, carnivores exposed,
towering, tossing the prey, light as salmon,

slashing belly, innards sloughing,

the snow bleeds into pink.