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Additional Poems

West Nile Virus

Re(verb), Winter 2006


I brave precarious dark

fear of the Nile, for just 

one taste of August night  

its long black, scree of stars

distant pulse


tread softly on the dim deck

a lament of myoporum berries--

purple rust to vein my shoes--

sit on the planks to sift

the night for weight


watch the partitioned sky

the orchard like a nullity

mountains a heave against

the heavens, an overflow of light

from stars, houses, planes


and what should be a moon-splashed

grid is the neighbor’s floodlight 

piercing a lattice fence

I close my eyes to listen--

crepitation of crickets


throat song of frogs

wood rats in the ivy

from a house a laugh

high like a peel, like bells

to shake the night loose


I listen, strain to hear the

whine of anopheles, mad-dog

transgressor of  peace, warning

the long probe, the blood feast,

the virus inserted like an afterthought  

First Reader


Flashlight Memories Anthology, 2011

The playground: swings, canvas swags

hung from chains, merry-go-round

monkey bars, hanging by my knees 

dress falling overhead, boys catcalling


All around, bushes with leaves 

we used as spoons to sip the taste of green—

that world, open air, freedom

In the classroom, desks in rows 

lined paper, rulers, taste of white paste

a woman who watched, bent to squeeze

my fingers around a pencil


My book, hard with a string-raveled corner

pictures--three children, blue wagon, 

red ball, a marmalade kitten 


Marks on the page, words 

the words and pictures

fitting together like buttons into holes

What made the girl laugh? 

what frightened the dog? 

the mystery hidden in the pictures

lay also in the bushes  

the leaves burning green beyond the window


The world inside the book the same 

as my world outside

all one—everything—

a key to a door 

the door a book that opened 

to a place where—suddenly—

I could go 



Across the arroyo 

a man is calling for his dog

Summer he shouts over and over

from the road, then drives

his white pick-up down the hill

stops and calls again

his voice growing hoarse

I heard the coyotes down there today

complaining or celebrating

in those short high barks

that freeze my dogs in place

shiver their hackles

Summer, I want to call back 

across the reach of space. Summer

I will echo on this August day

thick with a tired haze and

the smell of what’s coming



October Ice Cream


Oxidized blue, the color

of sky on a spring-mild day

the ice cream truck comes chugging

music box jingles a Pied Piper song

“Casey would waltz

            with a strawberry blonde”


Stops at the corner

to display its glorious side:

playbills in orange and yellow

and rainbow swirl for drumsticks

and bars, sickles, freezes

ices and cones


From across the street

the red-headed twins come

racing, tee shirts and elbows

and freckled arms flying

autumn hair lifting

ruffling in wind


The season does a do-si-do

at the crossroads—north south

summer fall—old tales

new ears, kids on the cusp

whirl in a jig as sweet as

an orange cream fizz





Jimena’s tracking through Mexico

cutting a furious gash  

rain like maddened hornets

rising water, everything on the move

cars, lintels, baby blankets, flying carpets


Her far-flung limit, thinnest edge

touches down in the garden

pauses still and brooding

wind reduced to languor

air like a wet cloth


Mexico's in the breeze

the extended quiet of margins

zephyr of cannela and prickly pear

while in the south, she still lashes

turns wells inside out

and cracks houses like seeds