Learning of Water

   Your mother is fish, said the girl.

   Then am I not fish? said the boy.

   You are notfish, she said.

   But must I not be as my mother? Must I not be compelled by the will of water and surely my life is now drowning? he said.

   Your father is the way of water and you are the son of the way of water. Your father is not the will of water and so you are not compelled, she said.

   Is it without place, to be the way of water? he said.

   Yes, she said.

   Is it hunger? he said.

   Yes, and old like air and tired like wood and empty like stone, she said.

   And what is it to be me? he said.

   To be river. To be not. To be leaving.

(inspired by Russell Edson)

Drowning in my youth

Water is like bone,

the truth in the breaking
of black night water
before the first solid freeze. Waiting
to fish the deep mended white
of January, I was afraid

to test the ice, dreaming a fall,
the cold, thick weight of water,
my father's hand pressing me to the darkness.
My lips blue and deaf to my mother's

To have the bones of a swimmer,
          below the skin, each cupped
hand filled with winter, empty
with breath, reaching always
through the dark hallway for the light
beneath their door.

(inspired by Jack Driscoll)


the antenna like a slender body
alive to language as quiet
as cemeteries, striding silent
voices marking the oceans
vibrating this skin

of air, this engine of sound.
a hundred years ago
we slept in still darkness,
words gone to nothing

in moments. now we dream
like fish in wavering rivers,
breathing the wireless
electric current.


we are driving north in a blue Maverick, winter
drafting the windows, tires learning the cold.
the engine complains its load, trailer
half full with dishes and clothes and no

i am in the back, packed tightly
shadowed with boxes and the cold
glass of the television set
pressing my arm.

rubbing the steam from my window
to see the gray road, to race
the fence lines and ditches.

my mother asleep in the front seat,
beside her new husband.

Morning, Garden Song

In the morning, a mother carries stones,
white and perfect as moon, pulling the round
dreams from black soil. Her garden

is wonderful, still sleeps within her hands
and dreams. Her child sleeps, dreaming
branching shadowy trees like a mother

bending tall. The child wakes, thinking
of his mother, her face, his garden of sleeping
stones growing pale in the morning moon.

Outside, his mother works, breathing
into her garden a desire that sleeps in the dark
ground and dreams of bone and strength.

The child shivers in his bed. The garden
of his mother grows and sleeps and surrenders
to dreams of the cold stones.

The mother dreams a child. In a garden
of white stones, the moon sleeps.

{ home }

{ photographs }

{ music }

{ video }

{ contact }