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Notes From The Cemetery

I want to tell you
there is still snow under the big tree
and a scattering of brown wreaths
trimmed with bedraggled red bows
There are bright plastic lilies
on your mom’s grave and
her neighbors are looking sprightly too
One grave in the next row back is decorated
with a two foot tall plaster rooster
Nearby, somebody named Smith
is blossoming into daffodils and purple tulips

A Good Day To Be A Houseplant

the snow has to fall
three times on the daffodils
before it’s springtime

later, I’ll go out
and explain to my garden
what your grandma said

Ditch Mermaids

There are ditch mermaids
gossiping in spring runoff
at the edge of fields

No seashells here.
Freshwater mermaids know
how to glide by all that trickles and drops
down these steep banks, the trash
caught in the weeds–
plastic bags and dented cans,
takeout styrofoam and Big Gulp cups

Sure, they dream big dreams,
fantasize about wider horizons,
about the lives of their ocean cousins
(who call them mean names–
poor ditch trash, and worse)
But here the fields carry green spring smells
of clover and manure and in their hearts
they are hometown girls who prefer
fresh mud to sea spray


even the worst yards
mud and gravel, sticks, road trash
still daffodils still
crocus bloom purple and white
still robin’s blue eggs
still robins hunting thick worms
in the leaf mold grass

Dear Students

Dear Students,
We, your teachers, are running
in busy virtual circles. Picture us
snapping our fingers inches from
your faces. Picture us–if you picture us at all–
waving to get your attention.

Some of you wave back. Some of you
crave connection. Some want to learn
what we still know how to teach.
For you, I post Daily Assignments from far away
Read this. Think about that.
Compare. Contrast.
Compose a song or a portrait.
Conduct an experiment within
this experiment we’re living through.
Cite your sources.

Those of you who won’t wave back
or who can’t wave back
I am setting you down, gently,
in the place you like best
whether that is a beach, a forest,
your grandmother’s backyard,
your friend’s kitchen table
or in front of a game on a screen.

Because above all I want,
I want you to be comforted
so play the game that comforts you
Then get dressed. Go outside.
Write a letter or a poem
and send it to someone.
Send it to me
I’m here.

March 27th

sleepy with the spring
quiet plants, quiet people
breathing in and out

from above, this world
looks gray–but our roots deepen
long before we bloom

Twenty Minutes Later

twenty minutes later
it’s daytime sky, washed blue
not deep violet
not indigo hush
not what was here, before

the sky is on the list now,
added to this daily tally
of ordinary things
were used to
but now
are going,

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

The Sketchbook


Red Wolf Prompts

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

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