A Good Seam

A Good Seam

I ran the seam
the machine racketing out pink stitches
down the stretch of pink slub cotton
the motor whirring
I guide the line of locked-together thread loops
that hold the front of the dress to the back
the dress worn to rags or handed down or given away or sold
going lots of places and seeing lots of things
or maybe
one person one day and discarded after one excursion
and a spilled glass of red wine. No one knows.

The needle punk punk punks
into the taut fabric. The pink dress and
the end of this seam
Whatever happens
it is a good seam. Cut the threads.


The Last Loose End

From Pink Chalk, published in 2018.


The Last Loose End
Lawn chair at the curb
hunched next to the trash cans
waiting for pickup
all of them. Poor chair
seized up and bent double
right front leg stuck out straight
in a kind of rigor mortis
Life taking the turns with such speed sometimes
lazing around a glass-topped table
on the way to an undignified burial.

Back at the patio
late home of the decedent
the three surviving chairs and the glass-topped table
are left to mourn
the sun umbrella not quite as distressed
but feeling the loss of course
with even the barbeque grill
experiencing a twinge of mortality.

Well, the garbage truck is making its way down the street
hurry and say good-bye
this is all the funeral there will be
the out-thrust metal leg hits the tailgate
the chair falls in
crushed by the compactor it is gone.
The truck snorts

grinds its gears
lumbers down the street
the empty trash cans left on the curb



From Clean Canvas, a collection published in 2018.

Why so difficult
under what circumstances
just explain to me
what on earth
you can be thinking
and will you ever

I wait for any answer.
I go to the gym one hundred times
attend two plays
cook dinners wash clothes sweep floors
walk with my neighbor ten afternoons
clean the garage once
plant flowers.

I begin to forget.

I decide to
discontinue my interest in the topic
stop my subscription to this memory magazine

Some of the trees
put out new leaves as I watch
while others drop limbs
that shatter on the sidewalk
Houses shift add subtract rooms
Windows appear. Streets realign.
New intersections
make themselves.

I live here now.


It Was All Wasted Effort

From the collection Rearrange, 2018.

It Was All Wasted Effort

Yes, I remember when they got married
all high-end, that was her plan
then there was that adorable little baby
but she expected too much
they owed so much on the house
money at a minimum
bills the opposite
Her sister was the same way
though she managed things a little better
up to her shoulders in it, maybe, rather than
It wasn’t our fault
We never spent a dime we didn’t have
all those years
Now she wants a check paying her bills
a check that will be
exhausted by its swim through that ocean of debt
having set out confident
from the safe shore of our bank account
I think not. Let her call on a professional


From the Beginning to the Autobiography

From the collection Rearrange, published in 2018.


From the Beginning to the Autobiography

The way is up
until it becomes
the down.
It happens that quick. Then begins

The journey in reverse.
falling one step at a time.
More and more
the job is to contain the damage
you are
shedding knees, fingers, eyesight
loose change from your pockets
loose thoughts from your head
letting go of everything you ever
or never
wanted in the first place
you are grateful for where you are
you are not grateful
you don’t know where the bottom is
No one has told you.
Now it’s time
to write some interesting memoirs.


One Year’s Work

Published in Redirection, 2017.

One Year’s Work

from the
leaves spattered with rain
the sap through veins
the thoughts of a passerby sheltering

the every bit of energy
the sun gives
all summer

to form seeds
on a still day
to let them drop to the ground
to hand them over to a stray gust

on the banks of the creek
where home is
the gray sky your stripped branches scratch at
in the winter wind.


Tying Up the Raveled Ends

From the collection Picture Making, published 2017. The three photos served as the inspiration for the poem. For more information, look here.

Tying Up the Raveled Ends

The wear and tear of life
in the seams. The stress of movement
between this and that balanced against
holding it all together
frays pretty much everything
somehow it mostly ends up
that things stay in one piece. A little hope
goes a long way
A robin sitting in
a tree just budding out in March
for an example
if you can’t think of one yourself.
The memory of those tiny green leaves
just big enough to wave in the breeze
repeats itself
in the fluttering reflection of green leaves
in a window
a year later
They are two aspects of the same. You see the robin and
You look for
what threads
hold it all together.

3/15/16 for 3/14/16