Permanent Exile

From the collection published in 2017, Refuge.

Permanent Exile
The prisoner
stood in the square
every day for years and years
any weather
any season.
He had only one smile
and it came straight from his
broken marble heart.
Both hands damaged
(there was no money for repairs)
he managed nonetheless
to point a finger at
anyone who happened to pass
waiting to meet again
the artist who gave him the face
of a man dissatisfied with his dry cleaner
topping off a paunchy body
wearing a toga
all done in inferior stone
to suit a small-town budget.

In Our Distress

From Redirection, published in 2017.

In Our Distress

awkward sprawl in the gravel
tail feathers splayed
feet set as if to stand
head up
eyes open
It does not stir a muscle
at my approach
only its chest heaving
fast quick breaths.
whatever is coming
its plump summer-fed body
that may
or may not
see the winter
it has prepared for.
I leave it
to its fate
as helpless as it is.


Heart Lost

From Autumn Opens a Door, 2015.

Heart Lost

The lady hunches over her cell phone,
her knitted tunic drooping and
her turquoise handbag slack. Her voice
has the juice drained out of it.
Everything about her expresses
something silenced
like a cave-in after demolition had already started.

Postcard ink bw lady looking at her phone 11-17 small

Postcard, brush and ink, 2017.

Rusted Cliff Edge in a Red Dress


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

Rusted Cliff Edge in a Red Dress

No. It just said
It shouted
It was
Neglected. Chained shut.
What was it used for
when it was being used?
It’s just a place
like a million billion other places
A plot of ground surrounded by a chain link fence
the gate fastened up tight
a rusted padlock to keep it that way
especially since the key has been lost
I can tell just by looking
bolt cutters are all that’s going to

no reason, just have to
I have to snap that thought in two
don’t want to think it anymore
I crave the sight of something
that’s not broken

I turn my head to look down the street
the row of modest shops. The window
with the bright red awning
displaying bright dresses for small girls. How well you know
That red awning will fade in the sun
Those dresses will end up outgrown
stained or
mistaken bleached in the wash
I can tell just by looking that

no reason, can’t stop myself.
I think. No

There is so little time
when things are fresh and new and full of hope
and so much time they spend having come to the edge of
but not quite there

5/27/16 for 5/25/16

Haiku 60-64

Haiku from a long time ago. Numbers 60 and 61 refer to our cat Fred Sherman, who died in 2001.

Before we knew it
Our old friend had said good-bye-
Too quick for our tears.

I thought I saw you
Skitter around the corner
To greet me – but no.

Oak leaves falling down
Acorns scattered on the ground
Feet form autumn sounds

This world’s no rest stop.
So get a thicker skin, girl.
Or else, what? Move out?

I’ve only known them
Three winters, those trees, that’s all –
But I respect them.


From the collection Look Winter in the Face, 2015.


Throw out the dead flowers.
The water in the vase is smelling
and nothing will put back
the petals that have dropped all over
the dining room floor.
Those pink flowers
Remembering them
that’s where we are now.
Throw out the dead flowers.

Bee and Black-eyed Susan 7-17 small

Bee and flower, 2017.


From the collection Look Winter in the Face, 2015.


The pastor a young man
long hair could use a bit of styling I think
but wearing the pastor outfit with the collar
so anyone would know what he does
but I know because
I easily hear his conversation
with the older lady
he is getting in a pastoral visit
one lunch table over from me.
He speaks loudly is she hard of hearing
but I think not I think
I’m sure the pastor is a nice guy but
his professional sympathy could win a sprint to the door
against a whole track team
it’s moving so fast through
financial problems nine cats health issues
vanished. Him too.
She turns toward me as she shrugs on her coat
not seeing me
her face slipping out of its polite smile
into despair
I hear her thinking
Well, I tried that
and it was of no help at all
now what
now who?

Clay tile sad face with red lips 8-15 small

clay tile, 6″ x 6′, 2015.