do not tell her how to be
or how to feel, what turns to take
along a road you have not traveled —
she is walking ground as yet uncharted
hold your tongue

steady her steps

she can no longer tolerate
the travel for the harvest celebration,
the winter gathering of family —
the cutting, dragging in, the trimming
of the tree

too symbolic

she no longer opens holiday
letters, doesn’t slit the envelopes
to set warm wishes, peace to swirl —
the air around her chills, she is loosening
her tethers

Laura M Kaminski
12 02 2014
in response to/inspired by Dave Bonta’s “Morale-building exercise” and Luisa A. Igloria’s “Instructions for the long march


When the land of day is burning
and I’m cornered by the flames, choking
on the smoke of excess obligations,

I flee to the ocean’s edge and fling
myself upon the mattress-raft, unmoor
myself from the hard continent

set the sheets and trim the angle
of the pillows, lift anchor, free myself
to float, let helm spin where it will.

It does not matter whether I cross
from the wave of wakefulness to sleep,
only that I loosen my grip upon

the wheel, let the sail of my mind
swing free until she fills with dreams
again, until I’ve found the sextant

and the compass, stood again upon
the deck, sighted a star, the dog
a porpoise drifting near the hull.

Laura M Kaminski
12 01 2014
in response to/inspired by Dave Bonta’s “Sailor’s Wife” and Luisa A. Igloria’s “Harbor” on Via Negativa

Tree Ring Cantos

I. airport geese

geese on the tarmac
look up occasionally, watch
large metal-feathered

humans set out on
migrations, sometimes wonder
if we know we’re late

II. stump 2

years pass, we know this:
all things reckon time in circles
orbit and revolve

why is it easy
for us to imagine these leaves
have always been old

III. lakeshore weeds

and why do we strive
for fortune, fame? these lakeshore weeds
are simple, common

yet they still set fruit,
array themselves in shades of gold
welcome their own end

IV. lingonberries

if we cannot, like
unassuming weeds be rooted
in humility

shift with the seasons
in time with trees and leaves and geese
perhaps we can still

share the same table,
feast with our better, wiser kin
on lingonberries

V. swirly weed skeleton

ready or not, we
will leave this place some rotation
and revolution

perhaps the question
should not be how long do we have
before departure

but whether there’s some
way for even our decaying
to be beautiful

VI. fly agaric

icebergs and mountains
volcanoes and okinamis
all share a teacher

this fly agaric
on the surface only shows us
little of itself

VII. old oil tank

it seems the carcass
of us, our species, our habits
will take centuries

more of exposure
before we grow into beauty
rancho la brea

VIII. roots

origins nurture
roots are footing and foundation,
knife spoon cup straw fork

arteries and veins
maybe change my name to Alice
take another bite

from the other side
of that fly agaric mushroom
shrink to fit, resize

to molecular
catch a piece of capillary
action, mind the gap

IX. stump

a prayer: let me age
generously, this limbless tree
both headstone and home

X. pine resin

is poetry not
a sticky sap that oozes up
through cracks in our hulls

whether we will it
or not, sometimes captures

a small winged moment
preserves it for eternity
memory, amber

Laura M Kaminski
10 23 2014
In response to the first ten photographs in “A nature walk at the airport