Within each foliate head of hydrangea, small 
winged bodies hiding from the rain. 

Our hands brush against them, curled,
when we snip the stems.

The startle is skin, one moment
stepping outside of itself. 

Thoughts and prayers

To White Hall, where all the morning. Dined with Mr. Chevins, with Alderman Backewell, and Spragg. The Court full of the news from Captain Hubbert, of “The Milford,” touching his being affronted in the Streights, shot at, and having eight men killed him by a French man-of-war, calling him “English dog,” and commanding him to strike, which he refused, and, as knowing himself much too weak for him, made away from him. The Queen, as being supposed with child, fell ill, so as to call for Madam Nun, Mr. Chevins’s sister, and one of her women, from dinner from us; this being the last day of their doubtfulness touching her being with child; and they were therein well confirmed by her Majesty’s being well again before night.
One Sir Edmund Bury Godfry, a woodmonger and justice of Peace in Westminster, having two days since arrested Sir Alexander Frazier for about 30l. in firing, the bailiffs were apprehended, committed to the porter’s lodge, and there, by the King’s command, the last night severely whipped; from which the justice himself very hardly escaped, to such an unusual degree was the King moved therein. But he lies now in the lodge, justifying his act, as grounded upon the opinion of several of the judges, and, among others, my Lord Chief-Justice; which makes the King very angry with the Chief-Justice, as they say; and the justice do lie and justify his act, and says he will suffer in the cause for the people, and do refuse to receive almost any nutriment. The effects of it may be bad to the Court.
Expected a meeting of Tangier this afternoon, but failed. So home, met by my wife at Unthanke’s.

the news
touching us
too mad for madness

touching her child
they bury us
day and night

escape lies
in the ground
among other people

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 26 May 1669.


So much unseen breathing.
Linden and pine; magnolia.

Bent willows, stoic 
oak. I was typing "sounds," 

but wrote "wounds" by mistake.
Perhaps there is no mistake.

Everything in the trees, under
the trees, bursting their lungs—

which is what we say when 
too much of anything spills over.

Rain Writes, Wind Erases

"...it rained so hard last night,
I could almost see the wind—"

                            ~ Prateebha Tuladhar

Someone said the word obliterate.
Meaning an erasure so hard, 
nothing remains. 

As children we were told
not to whistle too loudly at clouds
so they wouldn’t come too close.

The world must have whistled 
in a great chorus. Or that’s what
we might want to believe.

But wind and rain have 
their own voice, their own

We are always trying to put
our unformed words
into their throats. 

Therapy animal

To White Hall, and there all the morning, and thence home, and giving order for some business and setting my brother to making a catalogue of my books, I back again to W. Hewer to White Hall, where I attended the Duke of York and was by him led to [the King], who expressed great sense of my misfortune in my eyes, and concernment for their recovery; and accordingly signified, not only his assent to desire therein, but commanded me to give them rest summer, according to my late petition to the Duke of York. W. Hewer and I dined alone at the Swan; and thence having thus waited on the King, spent till four o’clock in St. James’s Park, when I met my wife at Unthanke’s, and so home.

making a catalogue
of misfortune
my eyes rest

on the lone swan
in the park I met
my wife at

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 24 May 1669.


river in November light between bare woods and mountain

Mind the gap they said
and I didn’t. There’s
a storm wind but
no storm. Children
play in the distance

or maybe fight. Don’t
mind me I murmur to a deer
trotting past while I type
this on my phone standing
still as a tree at dusk

just vibrating a little
from a Swainson’s thrush
on his yearly trip north.
I’m mindful that everything
human in this hollow
comes from the gap
between the mountains

but to the birds it’s all
one ridge—a high way
made of wind and forest.
To mind the gap means
to keep going.


(Lord’s day). Called up by Roger Pepys and his son who to church with me, and then home to dinner. In the afternoon carried them to Westminster, and myself to James’s, where, not finding the Duke of York, back home, and with my wife spent the evening taking the ayre about Hackney, with great pleasure, and places we had never seen before.

called by a church
to myself

finding in the air
a place never seen

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 23 May 1669.


I waited with the Office upon the Duke of York in the morning. Dined at home, where Lewis Phillips the friend of his, dined with me. In the afternoon at the Office. In the evening visited by Roger Pepys and Philip Packer and so home.

office at home
her lips dine with me
on site

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 21 May 1669.