Fertile Earth

Plant me a garden, love
As beautiful as it is useful
Cabbage next to my appendix
Peonies in my chest
A throat full of motherwort and roses
Take the bowl of my pelvis
Wide and empty as a mother
Make it a planter
Spilling ivy over my iliac crests
You will be the tender
This secret blooming at your hands
Braid the vines in my tangled hair
As you promise me your book
My soil is ready
My ribcage on hinges
Ready to open wide
And let your hands find earth


Other life

There is a house somewhere
In some other life
Porcelain sinks filled with herbs
Bougainvillea blooms hanging from the rafters
Patchouli in my hair
Jasmine petals fall from my breasts when i undress
Hands rough from twine
Softened again with oil
And kisses at the roots of my fingernails
You come in carrying baskets of bounty
From twin pear trees behind the clothesline
And old books to read to me
Windows face the moonlight
Old cherry desks
Where you memorialize the smell of my skin
And the twinkling, acoustic flame of my soul
Sheets upon sheets
Of both parchment and linen
Yours, mine, ours.

February Evening

You climb up on to the couch next to me
Sweetly, gracelessly
Holding onto the same fistful of cookie
You’ve been holding for half an hour
In that comic book shirt and bare feet
You hand me a red book of poetry
And pick up the crumbs

The orchid I planted in the corner of the room
Is dying
Though “planted” is perhaps generous
“Adopted” more like
The leaves fall off
I don’t move them
Some vain hope that I overwatered
And neglect will be the cure

I take a swig of rum from the bottle
Just me in the glow of the fridge
Counting the calories
Weighing the enjoyment
Against the weight
In my warm thighs
The softness of my belly
The soreness of my feet


Sometimes I watch other women 

Lithe creatures and voluptuous curves

Bodies and souls I imagine 

I could have inhabited (inherited?) in some other life

Life led by hips 

Bared breasts not too sensitive to touch

Fluid movements and intentional spines

(I must have been born too stiffly pale to dance)

In love even with blood 

While I lie awake writing poems in my head

No paper by my bed

So I think them to myself 

Love letters set aflame

Mandalas left to the will of the tides 

Carrying those grains of colored sand 

Broken and diffuse 

To fish who don’t care

While shame-stiffened muscles

And life with clean-cut men

Stealing the seduction from the small of my back

Make me dream of feminine embraces 

That teach me the fullness of the sea

Nesting dolls

My convalescing mother
The child inside me
And me
Curled up together
To let us all heal
Or grow
Maybe this growth
Is the purer form of healing
The three of us
Strange nesting dolls
Watching horror movies and listening to the rain
Telling the smallest about the sky
Trying to find a dress to cover me
As I’m doing more nesting
Than the rest of us
Letting neglectful men
And well-meaning narcissists
Wait in the wings
Because I was her first fullness
And the little one is mine
And we don’t need any more completion
Than the one nesting dolls feel
Each a home for the next
The smaller filling the heart of the larger
We are enough.

Bicycle dreams

I wish I had learned to be

One of those lonely

Lovely poets

Who found love in their mothers 

And the children they adopted

When their wombs 

Had past their date

Not yet another woman

Living in a man’s house

Hoping her hands

Her breasts

The sway of her hips

Are enough

To bring him back from oblivion

(When really she knows

Oblivion is a place 

You visit and leave 

Without some girl’s prompting)

I wish I had learned

Before I stopped being a bicycle

And became a cable car instead

But here I am

Wed to these wires

Following the paths I’m allowed

Yearning for the mountains


Maybe we say pencils have lead

(It’s really graphite, I know)

Because of how heavy it lies on paper

Superman can’t see through that

So we shade in the corners

Hoping the impression

Of the bedside pad’s previous note

Will be more transparent

Revealing some half-asleep line

A dream you woke up from 

And tried to capture 

Before it dissolved

You let that dream

Lie lead-heavy on the page

So when you’ve had your Saturday coffee

And you look upon it quizzically

It will reveal what you forgot

To tell yourself