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I Haven’t Had An Oyster All Year

I don’t know what we’ll call this
later. “Living through a war?”
Too elevated.
Your grandma would call this
putting on airs.
Mostly I’ve gained weight
become quieter while
witness to other people’s
despair dressed in illness
or money crisis or death

I always hoped if I lived
through a war I would
do it with a certain aplomb
like the Russian aristocrat
whose Berlin diary I read–
walking to hat fittings
through rubble of bombed streets
plotting to assassinate Hitler
then planning a party
with oysters and champagne

at least, tucked away and cold,
there is a bottle of champagne
just waiting for a thing
to celebrate

what birds discuss

this grocery store parking lot
tree-free but
filled with sparrow chatter
birds hidden in one scrubby bush
rooted in concrete and trash
surrounded by tired cars,
and shopping carts
loud invisible birds
discuss worms and weather
or like the rest of us
dinner, and some rest

Reading the shells

Rereading Seeds From A Birch Tree, by Clark Strand

The author says,
Do not work to
find the perfect word
Approach haiku
as you would collect
sea shells

However, I would explain, if the author and I
were discussing this over coffee–
sometimes (often) drunk on the thrill of the search
I’ve filled my pockets, hat, even shoes with shells
and staggered home with the
seashell equivalent of a fat Russian novel
bristling with sand and secondary characters

But, he would reply, remember those other days?

and I do–
some days I walk
let my gaze drift
not a greedy treasure hunt
but a gift
a story written by the sea
unspooling along the shore
jagged-edged, broken shells
so many shaped like wings
of somethings that fell
from the sky, tumbled and
came to rest here


thank you note

at five a.m.
the tail end of night
or beginning of the day
I read poetry. My breath slows as
I read and poetry unlocks the box
in my brain for Remember–
Remember what sparks and shines
inside each of us and remember
to say Thank You to poets
who turn language and looking into
poems and who help me remember
In the wreckage that was yesterday,
remember what blooms–
my grown-up daughter calls
because she has a cold (and I do not say,
but whisper to myself–this deep song inside
everyone who sometimes wants a mom)
And later, someone gives me a gift, a new mug
filled with dark chocolate hearts
and later still, a walk after work
through crunchy old snow in not yet night at 6 pm
and later the dog breeder sends a funny video
my puppy-to-be careening around her living room
chasing a basket by putting his whole head inside it

and also–
and later–
poems, read in the dark.
Thank you, poets
for the reminder: for walking your letters and lines
around the quiet runway
of the page
ready forever to help
any one of us look up
and see

so Monday

start the car early
on cold mornings–vacation
is gone as children

notebook lost somewhere
mud and dog hair coat the floors
after your visit

time escapes again
photos, notes, stories I tell
nothing ties it here

all lucky poets

Today, I read it
takes a poet to truly
understand haiku

Recipe includes
syllable count, season, turn
–unless it doesn’t

again, morning snow
give and take of hands and mug
warming each other

lucky for us
hour after hour of
snow in the forecast

warm tea, paper, pen
snow, you, me, sleeping puppy
lucky poets all

Cold-footed geese

on this road
I’ve never driven before,
cold-footed geese congregate
in a snowy field
keeping company
in a vast expanse of white

in the past ten minutes

in the past ten minutes
morning moved from night
tinged by faintest ghost of light
into this–
blue skied,
sunlight singing day, again.
What a clever world
how it reminds us
as if tying a string
to one of our grasping fingers–
ten minutes
can change the day
it just did.

February 16

the predicted storm
didn’t arrive

skeins of purple yarn,
blue yarn, brown, yellow
by the bamboo knitting needles
for the promised
undelivered quiet.
It’s only February–
snow is in the forecast

zucchini, tea, my father’s birthday

heating water for morning tea
small drops of olive oil
on the silver stove
of last night’s supper

through the window
across the street
and through another window
and another
I see my father
Most days, he reaches for
the telephone
as soon as he wakes
Today he sits for a long time
while I wait to hear his
weather report

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

Red Wolf Prompts

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

typewriter rodeo

custom poems on vintage typewriters

A Poet in Time

One Poet's Writing Practice

Writing the Day

A Ronka Poetry Practice Since 2014

Invisible Horse

Living in the moment

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry