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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.

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All my life I wanted to tend roses
But the wind ahead of the storm sent their petals flailing.

All my life I wanted to create light
But the wind on the heels of the sunset extinguished it.

All my life I wanted to create beauty
But ugliness raised its fist as stealthily as the undertow
And crushed everything my hand had touched.

All my life I wanted to share beauty with you
But now all I have left to give you is
All my life.

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Though I cannot fly
airborne as an arrow
still I feel the airstream
the way wind fingers my hair.

In my fingers I feel it too—
my breath escaping through
the pores of my instrument,
my fingers hovering over fingerholes.

Though I cannot fly yet
with you I would take the risk,
our breath releasing from our lungs,
our lungs inhaling like a sail.

Breath by breath, we spend
down our days, prodigal
as maple’s winged seed pods
floating down to earth.

My breath escaping through the pores
of my instrument,
hollowed and hand-carved
light as bird’s tibia or femur.

Our breath released and restored
in fits and starts-—you at the keys,
my fingers at the ready
where flesh meets breath.

We too are winged seed pods
spinning from the maple,
falling breathless—

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Three gold petals
Form a vase
For the stamens

Whose stems bob
Against a backdrop of
Blood-red crescents

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All week the poet
cast lines of poetry.

When it was time
to resume a morning hike,
the notebook–
lodged under a log–
was forgotten.

The fisherman advised:
“Catch and release.”

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I’m a getaway vehicle for passion,
an accomplice to crime.
I swoon and I swelter.
I sip.

Bar hopping
from blossom to blossom
I imbibe
but leave no trace
of my coming or going
save for the slow swelling
of seed into fruit,
save for my jointed limbs
replete with pollen.

Love falls where it will
as Cupid shoots his arrow
so too the wind carries
the wings of the maple
and acacia seeds set sail
on the ripples of the stream.

How seeds travel and hitchhike
like love letters
or pollen

Or time travelers
stealing glances,
the electricity between us
answering the primitive call
of desire.

P1010534It isn’t the broken shards
splinters of light
rain and hail
or the crackle and creak
of cicadas in the trees.
It isn’t the sun
blistering your shoulder
or the rocks, sharps in the stream,
poking underfoot like cactus spine.
It’s the step into the unknown
one day just like any other.

At a crossroads in the landscape,
forest folds into shadow.
Two worlds intertwine
and you’re thrust into a new one.

You could be Neil Armstrong
disembarking from Apollo.
You could be a fledgling
angling down from your nest.
Watch how everything settles—
the spider in her web,
the seed in its pod,
the red blush in the golden apple.
Even the arrow returns to the quiver.

But not without giving pause …
you turn, and the sun,
ever so briefly,
stops in her tracks.

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Sometimes I want to live transparently,
like the spray of the ocean,
suspended before it crashes,

or translucent like stained glass
that casts no shadow but transmits light
in a mosaic of colors.

But I would settle for being opaque
as rock,
like the moon,
who reflects light:

the moon,
who, even when overshadowed by earth’s silhouette,
perseveres
and offers her thin sliver of light,
her radiance more brilliant
than that of all the stars combined.

Kapok Tree 1
Wind shook the blossoms of the kapok tree, and the petals floated down.

I knew children who sucked the petals of the kapok.

I wanted to share that sweetness,
but when I tried the kapok,
the petals did not register sweetness on my tongue.
To taste the sweetness
of the petal of a kapok
requires taste buds
that know want.

Wind shook the blossoms of the kapok tree, and the petals floated down.

Though my days once blossomed with nectar
I think I know enough about lack now
to taste
the sweetness
in a kapok.