Let It Rain

Let it rain.
Let the rain fall in a steady stream.

Let the rain fall on the roof with the rhythm
of a handyman nailing shingles.

Let the rain saturate the hardened earth
and satisfy the root
that thirsts like a newborn infant.

Let the rain fall on our shoulders
and mold us to its contours
like rock weathered and worn by rainstorms.

Let the rain flow like fine wine
flowing at the wedding of Cana.

Let the rain pool into its liquid shapes
sinuous as a cat that pounces.

Let the rain murmur.
Let the rain sing a lullaby,
a post card from the ocean,
a mariner’s hymn.

Let the rain begin and end
in this moment suspended in time,
my shoulder blades clasped in your arms,
the bough above us, and the bud,
reflected in the puddle,
concrete now molded into shimmering mirror.

Alighting in the Meadow

The Indian paintbrush stands guard,
like one who shall not be moved,
sentinel next to the sage— and grasses—
whose roots she taps for nutrients and water.

John at the cross stands guard too
like a stem, or branch.
“You are the branches. I am the vine,”
the lover had said.

And, now, planted like the Indian Paintbrush,
the beloved is hushed as a blossom,
the upper lip of green flower understated
and tinged with red to attract the hummingbird.

The meadow is a green upper room
alive now with the whir of wings.

Daybreak at Bosque del Apache

Vested in down,
water wakes
as light cracks
over mountains.

Snow geese chime
like a heart beating.
Their wingtips are black keys
adding counter-rhythms.

Water wears
her borrowed robe of down
until wings lift—

Then it’s morning fly out,
and the river, unmasked,
bares her pores.


El Greco painted her
at a kneeler,
face upturned
to face the Unexpected.

In other scenes, the backdrop
is marble, granite, velvet
or wide blue sky stretching to the horizon.

But what do young girls know
except errands,
and chores,
and hope.

I imagine her at the marketplace,
eyeing the kohl,
but satisfied to haggle
for the price of an onion.

Who’s to say the angel
didn’t meet her
in a crowded crosswalk.

The membrane between heaven and earth
is porous.
It opens and envelops us unexpectedly
like a gauze curtain billowing in wind.

Onion skin, translucent
when held to the light,
is a membrane between two worlds:
moist round bulb, on the one hand,
and, then, the light-infused air.

The curved onion dome of an Orthodox church
is a thin barrier between life as usual
and life as it might be.

Gabriel delivers the message
and Mary grasps the onion.
On her face,
tears of surprise.


I did not need to transpose the key
to join my life with yours.

The seasons marked the time signature.
Cloudy weather was a riff
alternating with sunshine.

Lives intertwined
as the song crisscrossed:
Two hearts, one rhythm
like the ocean—
one force uniting
opposite shores.

A countermelody
nearly choked us
but rising to the surface
we caught our breath.

Even now, I find myself
between two worlds:
Neither sandbar
nor cresting wave,
I fall like salty spray
suspended in air.

Settling the Score


Photo Credit: Daniel Woodard

My life was composed
by another,
the chord changes
like changing seasons.

I learned to harmonize
with white keys and black,
circling back
to the melody
and the opening bars.

Even so, like the ocean
taking her cue
from wind,
when waves shattered
the calm,
I penciled in crescendo
and diminuendo.

The song was composed
before I could even sing
but I wrestled with the notes
and bent them.

Though I did not write the score,
I shaped the notes
and bent them
like a blacksmith shaping iron
on the anvil.

I did not write the score,
but the blue notes are mine.

Metamorphosis (2019)

I do not know which is the river—
the dry riverbed
or the flowing water itself.
Without the riverbed,
water has no shape
and courses over the land,
dragging down with it
trees, home, and flotsam.

I do not know which is the river—
the dry riverbed
or the flowing water itself.
But I know each riverbed
is unique, its contours imprinted
with the stamp of experience.
For each riverbed carries the weight of those
who swam its currents,
or waded in the melting snows that filled its arteries,
or camped alongside its sinuous shores.

I do not know which is the river,
the dry riverbed
or the flowing water itself.
But I know clouds
draw water molecules to the sky
and channel water endlessly.
Those molecules of water—
though lifeless and identical—
animate each living thing on earth,
shapeshifting as they move
from branch to branch.
Those molecules are visible
as dew in temperate climates,
and also visible in cold air
as we draw breath.

I do not know which is the river,
the dry riverbed
or the flowing water itself.
But I know that everything flows down,
even the riverbed erodes,
overrun and flooded by the sea.