a singing grid surrounds us
as we surrender to the comfort
warmed and lighted by the power
of PG & E until winter storms
with unseen energy overwhelms
the fragile wires that hold our backwoods
together with pioneers in this cellular century
snap! a tree leans too far and the hum
of refrigerators, computers and well pumps
recedes into the silence of 1940
where water refuses to find the sink
light bulbs get that blank, forgotten look
and time slows to a sepia photograph
at first the warmth lingers while carrying
wood to build a fire, lugging jugs of water
but after a butt-pinched walk to the privy
the socks wet from the puddle deeper
than the hole in the left boot ankle
hair parted by the deluge of water
and the drumming of rain on all sides
time shifts coldly backwards where
candlelight is not romantic – but vital
soup cooks again on the woodstove
tea seems ideal and one wonders
how the neighbor is fairing
The weight of night releases itself
shy, migratory, artless.
A morning of no spider juice
running on overtime – five thirty.
East still carries a horizontal
red wound left from a fading fog bank.
Acceptance of her smile when we slice
into the crust of our breakfast bread.
The expression on her teeth signals
a certain white like corn home in rows.
Our window front, Dutch screened
adjoining a spin of minds, two axis.
when it appears nothing is happening languages undress
a relic of St. Rita's thorn as chickens scratch in the dust
outlines of time and space against the Holy Spirit sees
one in a giant wheelchair, diapered, dreaming and funny
did you know the living fight over the dearly departed?
from a distance my mother watches us – everyone hated her
as a three-legged toad hiking the woods of California
a scene to be acted – shielded the bronze glint of a knife
clothes disappearing in the faith incense of veiny stream
as if going to a dance moth-like in a new homeland
On a creek as we go by so tender
trout-lovers are aware of teaming up with
spangled spawn, the light embodies
suspected foam on forked streams.
A couple squeezes black berries.
Sudden entry, a sliding promise
checking out a slow affection
the tongue still undecided
not yet focused
eyes into one another’s
return from exile
even the distance between houses
stretches as the view is veiled with water
that no longer comes from the skies
now the pounding wind-driven waves
breach the headlands to sweep over
sea meadows and up the forest hills
drawn down into widening gullies
veins straighten without roots to guide
in rising tides that pull and pour
rivers create themselves on all sides
safety in the center narrows
and with a mighty roiling rush
the sea sucks back its own power