1. One Thousand Places to See Before You Die
2. Commitment and Puget Sound
3. Nightlong
4. Where Your Heart Is
5. The Amber Necklace
6. The Professor’s Nap
7. Lake Almanor
8. Smile For Me, Moon

1. One Thousand Places to See Before You Die

The back of my neck as you bend your head,
my hair against your face.  The spaces
between my toes, laced into your fingers.
My knees as they loop up over
your shoulders.  All four of our hands
putting clean sheets on the bed.  The skin
inside the crook of my arm opening
toward you in a night no longer secret.
The eyes of all your family setting you
free of their barbarous expectations.
The bedroom windowsill in dawn-slanted
light of our thousandth day together.
The same thing on our ten-thousandth
day.  I think I’ve lost count.  You’re
better at math than I am.  Come,
help me out.

Published in South Carolina Review
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2. Commitment and Puget Sound

Morning in the city of espresso,
we sit with our paper cups
on the ferry deck, a bellyful of cars
beneath us, Bainbridge Island ahead,
my mind full of metaphors, yours
with plain facts. No, I forgot
the polarizing filter, but I can see,
through the navigational haze,
mountains there for the climbing.
If I take this photo they won’t show up.
This is a matter
of knowing what’s real,
of having the means to reach it,
smooth water, solid steel,
and a very ordinary amount of courage
when the engine starts.

Published in Cloudbank
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3. Nightlong

Like spoons, we scoop each other’s curves
out of lonely night into delicious
sleep, feeding each other dreams,
skins of steel graced with silver
as moonlight leaks in at the window,
the sky rearranging darkness
into pale colors of morning,
like spoons we spill each other’s light
into each other’s laps.

Published in Lilliput
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4. Where Your Heart Is

In the right place, you said,
as you wrapped your arms
all the way around me,
your gifted hands
in their right places, too.
Then your mouth was
in the right place, then your
whole body was, and
while there was flesh between us
the moth of the heart on one side
and the moon of the heart on the other
beat constantly against it
with their familiar rhythm:
connect; connect; connect.

Published in Briar Cliff Review
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5. The Amber Necklace

So many steps were needed.
There had to be forests, there
had to be insects biting, making the trees bleed,
there had to be rising sea-water
to tow it all under, brace out the air.
There had to be heat, and pressure, and time,
making some things harden
and others, volatile, depart.
Then what remained could tumble
through the tides of the Baltic,
come to rest on sand,
be gathered and smoothed and rubbed
and pierced into beads, graded by color,
every one its own story, the tiny hurts and bubbles,
the fragments of intercepted lives,
a long loop, your gift to me
warm at my neck, a strand like drops of honey,
winding around us both.

Published in Lake Effect

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6. The Professor’s Nap

You lean back in my blue chair,
stirring now and then to say
you’re not asleep, snoring in between.
It is late in the day, it is late in the year,
it is late in our lives.
The shirt pulled tight across your belly
fills me with regret
for all the years I was not there
while you accumulated weight.
You mean to be thinking
about the weight of the universe,
how some parts gather, pool, and sink,
and how to teach this to the young,
but you keep slipping into dreams
that catch in your throat.
Chrysanthemums sag in a vase
on the coffee table where you’ve propped your feet,
the cups and papers pinned
in their struggle toward the center
of the earth. My life slides into your lap.
You open your eyes.

Published in Briar Cliff

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7. Lake Almanor

The moon fresh out of Michigan
hauls up at last in the Sierras
shining backwards across
the Great Lakes to you
and forward across the Lesser Lake
to me, blue eyed man
blue eyed night
blue eyed lake in the
blue mountains.
One white arm to eastward
and one white arm to the west
offer an embrace you hadn’t
counted on:
to be fallen in love with like that,
it doesn’t seem sane.

Lady of the Lake, I lift
the magic sword,
the sword that was broken.
Blue steel plunged in this water
comes out whole again,
steaming in moonlight.
Is your heart the anvil?
Is your heart the forge?
Blue eyed singer
deepen my blue dreams
until I have drowned and risen
and freed you from your search
for the treasure of long ago.

Published in South Carolina Review
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8. Smile For Me, Moon

On your way west, a white
letter D in the afternoon sky,
a grin of merriment
halfway to the meridian,
smile for me, moon,
a message of days
getting fuller and riper,
more beautiful with time,
whose smile could that be
that I am reminded of?
every night better and brighter
than the last, and when you must wane
I want to go with you
deep, down deep, into morning.

Published in Timber Creek
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