This entry is part 6 of 29 in the series Conversari


Not heat but warmth — what doesn’t burn, what can safely be clutched to the breast. No ring of fire, frantic with popping & hissing & quick to burn out, but something charcoal-slow & full of mysteries: a cup of tea, a mug of black coffee. A love that rewards long looking: sunglasses aren’t required to cut the glare.

In the middle of my life I don’t dream of sun-drenched olive groves but that dark & pathless wood whose charm was sadly lost on Mr. Alighieri, where if you stand still & listen, you can hear like a distant waterfall the wild bees murmuring overhead. Up there the heat & the unseen flowers. Down here, I wake to a mouse tugging on the warm thatch atop my head, reminding me we are never truly alone.


See the photographic response by Rachel Rawlins: “For you.”


This entry is part 11 of 73 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2011-12


Everything gets scrubbed with an old towel
torn in two, then soaked in water and soap
and bleach: baseboards, the kitchen walls,

the stone tile backsplash behind the stove.
Then bulbs are replaced in light fixtures,
the closets emptied of clothes that have

outgrown their use or usefulness.
Someone mentions that this furious
cleaning at the start of the year

has reference in the Bible, but I have
no memory of what chapter or verse. All
I know is the old soul wants to slip

away from its old moorings and into
a clean new outfit that smells of laundry
on the line. Thinned of last year’s flaking

whitewash and scoured of any traces of mold,
it wants to travel abroad and check itself
into a little hotel in a country it’s never

been to, slide the key card in the door
of a room where the sheets have been
turned down just so, and fluffy towels

wait on the rack. There are two perfect
chocolate bonbons laid out in welcome on
the pillow; and outside, the whole city waits

to be explored by morning’s first light.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.


This entry is part 10 of 73 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2011-12


From branch to branch, past the old garden, a bird drums high then low.

Translation: Compact and green, unripe
like plum before the idea of plum.
Deceptively quiet, the trellis
alive with energy. First day
of the year: did you feel
the switch? Something sings,
reaching through each
register. The aperture
never closed.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.