Back to its source

The coyotes all begin at once
as if they hear some sort of
internal, animal call to prayer.

In this place the
rain and sun have
both done their work,
drying out and
making wet again.

But being washed does not
always make a thing clean,
and anyway I don’t think
I want to sit here anymore

learning to live with
less and less water
while others seem
to drink their fill.

In the kitchen my mother hands me
a stack of my grandfather’s poems
and I wish not only my 10 year
old self had known him.

But the reading
brings understanding

and I know that even
with our irregular trajectory
each drop will eventually
lead us back to its source.


The nurses touch my skin
asking questions about each mark
“a cat scratch” I tell her as gentle old woman
fingers touch a rough patch on my left arm.

Her skin is so soft, the tips of her fingers
the way only an old woman’s are,
softened with age and care.
“Who won?” she asks
and I smile, unsure of what to say,
nervous, because I am about to be cut open,
and because who really ever wins?

I wake in a recovery room
less confused than I expected.
For a moment I am alone
and I think of the sterile walls and hall ways
and how not all growth is good
how even a well meaning cell
can go wrong
and how I will not mourn
the small pieces taken
from my body that day.

The surgeon enters with a smile,
large and uncharacteristic
and I wonder If the day she cuts
into people is her favorite of the week.

“It all went well,” she says,
along with words like messy
and extra time, but overall, well,
and leaves me with something
definite and definable.

She leaves me with a reason.

And after so long without one I am euphoric.

I may also be a little drugged,
but the emotion seems authentic
and I do not argue.

Instead I eat my applesauce and
write in my small brown notebook
and wait for the healing to begin.

washing off the dust

On a Sunday
with epic heat
that rises in waves
off the pavement
we decide to escape
with a drive to the river

windows down
over railroad tracks
past overgrown yards
and run down old barns.

I have to resist the urge
to explore each one.

We walk cautiously
over rocks in the
shallow water
then dive in.

We enjoy the shock
drinking in the coolness
and washing the dust off.

We swim to the other side
discussing a stream we find
that feeds the river.

We touch the old
lock pieces that once
carried ferry boats
full of people

and wonder
who they were,
those who used to
cross through here.