having lost the ancient word for fire, underestimate it into neat concentric squares folded, shelved and forgotten next to ugly Christmas sweaters, baby pictures, and odd clay art projects of now-adult progeny

Neglect means nothing to it, coiled, implacable, unfazed by short and mortal attention spans

Let the last leaf fall but…

Do not neglect the sun

Content for now to burn

At a safe distance

Until the day it will unhinge from invisible moorings and float

Balloon-like Beauty towards us

Suddenly, immaculately attentive

To this nakedness before impending fire.

Everyday Christmas

Crowded city, lonely manger

Tired little mama so close 

to the house of bread

You tell me the story of

tokens we substitute for transubstantiation 

Exchanging trinkets for the

Stuff of life (everlasting)

or looking for the little clues-

“The ones who still hold on”

So very far from home

He knows you

try to pull a fast one

Child with the big words

In his eyes

Calls your bluff

I know you love Christmas!

Light is no ordinary word when spoken 

In the dark

Commanding songs of rescue from the sleep-deprived

Who ponder why


gifts for the


Who makes a transom from a cross.

Empty Your Pockets

What we saw was 

the pudgy placeholder for the law

In his uniform, high alert

gun drawn at the suspects

Through the bullhorn they hear the same grim warnings:

Put your hands up

Don’t turn around

Walk  slowly to me

Pantomime of imminent demise 

The laws of physics make the same demands:

Put your hands up…don’t turn around…walk slowly to

The pantomime of imminent demise

Twenty years ago the doctors never read me

The Miranda Rights of motherhood

About the presence or absence of DNA

Arms, feet, a face on the ultrasound they never let me see

Swimming in the dark

Pebbles with new names

Ask God for answers

Hands up…don’t turn around…walk back…

Was this child real enough?

He prophesies 

children from stones

Not unlike dragon teeth

Heart pierced through

So we can all come home

By nightfall.

Fixed Points of Light

I squint to the horizon of “us”

To see you

gazing each day at

The thumbprints of eternity

Finding  only

autonomic dopplering

Morse code for G-O-D

While I, all dervish need

Lean my head against

His broken chest 

Hear the beating heart of God

Shout so loud

A pitchy song of adoration 

At the center of this

Expanding infinite:

Skies, scars, planets, constellations,

Pulsars, telemetry, metonymy

All portmanteaus for

Leaves in early winter shook loose from the hair of the mother tree

lighthouses fixed to a rocky shore 

Amidst inkwell seas

We bob in the dark

Fixed points of light

Crayoned Heaven

think of the worst book

Each page, each word, each sentence 

Awful for a long time until

They are re-written

With the simple line drawings of a child

Obscuring words and pictures of 

darkness, evil, or moldy and stained 

garden-varietal venality

With the loveliest trees

Birds in flight /charcoaled nimbi

Outlined halos

Their feathery heads tilted


Asking why are you sad?

Each page of darkness 

Transformed by this

Ferociously tender


Light, where there used to be all those

Terrible monsters

Crayoned over/ into heaven

By this poet-redeemer

word spoke to life.

The world has eyes 

he says soon we will 

Wear rings and bracelets

(Homing pigeons? Sea turtles?)

…to pay for things 

But only until the computers can all sort our faces-

Eye scans and fingerprints

the world has changed forever when

You can see the

faces of people in the cafes of Helsinki

Day or night 

The world has eyes 

Ezekiel’s concentric circles

Assure the insomniac

Someone is always wide awake 

On the streets of Helsinki.

The Lost Cause

I looked it up,

The thing about rainbows…when none are in sight

What do you do with a fallen, broken

Rain-drenched world?

Ignore the indirect saturation of light (filtered through heavy 


Put ineluctable 

Signs in the sky

Sometimes vivid, others spiraling, concentric

Insinuated into ordinary


Sure, I got it–rainbows

The unfortunate companions of unicorns

Neither make the boat…

Or as I prefer to think–both

The misunderstood rhino

The glinting prismatic light 

Or more importantly–James Baldwin, evoking

Saint Peter…

Fire the next time

His anger, his dungeon, his elegant use of fire

As both a noun and a verb

I can barely look straight at

That kind of righteous rage

Much less the real


Who raises a Son

To rudder, anchor, mast, and sail

The one and only vessel

Which could



Sailed the sea of fire…

the next time.