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Silence Sequence

Silence: III
What the tiny noise
of a flickering candle

Silence: II
Fragile vase, clear crystal
Any fidgety toddler
could tell you:
It was meant to fall

Silence: I
Cosmos cut to save them
from first frost
lift pink faces
to the ceiling
searching for the rain

Conjuring Trick

Sudden as thunder,
the mind shifts.
In the midst of perfect August,
instead of summer,
your head fills with February.
February deep with snow and
cozy as a children’s story.
Fire in the hearth, soft quilts,
stew simmering on the stove,
Mozart on the radio.

Tap the window of this scene
and the woman inside
will look up, into the middle distance
as if at nothing at all.
I know what she sees.
In her red sweater
and thick socks, as she stirs
she is picturing August
and both of us smile.

Just A House

My old neighbor’s daughter says,
Mom’s been gone four years,
Dad even longer. I couldn’t walk
down your street, she says.
Couldn’t go past their old house.
But I scolded myself (my old neighbor’s
daughter is a very strict woman)
and said,
It’s just a house.
So a few weeks back,
I walked by.
Here, her stern eyes soften,
fill with tears.
So we make a plan,
there in the housewares aisle
where we met:
Next time, she’ll stop at my house
Three doors down. We’ll sit
on my porch and drink tea
to soften sorrow
while my house
is still mine,
no cause for sorrow,
nothing to avoid.

Evening Meadow

Small towns are held together
by petty strings webbed across
tree-lined streets. The luckiest,
like me, live at the edge of town
and can walk away.
Tonight, past yards, fields,
the farmhouse shrine to Mary,
barns, horses, then the meadow
where one white hawk glides.
Beyond him, one white plane
glints in late sun, with his thin
white contrail following like shadow.
Beyond them, half moon against
The dinner time blue sky.
White statue,
White hawk,
White plane,
White moon, keeping company
with the meadow and me, while I walk
till my feet and my eyes
remind me how to breathe
so I can turn toward town
ready to love it again.

Memorial Day

I never survived anything like war
Not even a single, ruthless battle.
Instead, this whole cold holiday
Spent sick in bed, those battle-earned
Hours squandered on sleep.
This year, the day’s miracle is sunlight
Filigree of tree shadows through lace curtains,
Peace in the streets,
My lap full of oranges and poems.
Grateful, grateful to be here and free
In a place where gratitude is personal,
This tiny town,
Where the War Memorial is etched
With names they remember
With names they know by heart.

Benediction For My Town

Tonight my town
sleep nestled in your hills
blanketed by stars.
Dream of the sweetness
that walks through
your streets —
all I love about
this small town:
Friendly dogs, flowering yards,
neighbors who wave
and call out to each other, sidewalk visits.
For background music, the high school
band practices as they march and
Listen–cheers from the ball field where
tonight is t-ball and small,
small children eating hot dogs
and learning the rules of the game
while crowds cheer them on
and then take them out for ice cream.


Burn for Now—
All these plans built
With dollars and curtains,
Chicken dinners and sensible cars,
Changing light bulbs, going to a job—

The ghosts hidden in old photo
Albums, jewelry boxes, dishes
In your cupboard,

And that invisible future
Painted on the inside of your forehead—
Burn that, too.

Burn the whole house of yourself.
Stand still in the charred doorway
All that’s left of your proud life.
Rubble of all that didn’t work out.

Leave these smoldering ruins
Step forward.
Feel how light
When there’s nothing left to

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

The Sketchbook


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I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.--John Ashberry, "The New Higher"

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One Poet's Writing Practice

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A Ronka Poetry Practice Since 2014

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leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry