1. Unspoken

As night spilled into the sky and spread,
I was content to watch you fall asleep.
There’s always so much left unsaid.

Too many times, too many words led
to eyes weeping out hurt miles deep,
as night spilled into the sky and spread.

So I learned where not to tread,
and that reprisal’s mine to keep.
There’s always so much left unsaid.

Jabs kept you distant and finally shred
your defenses with blows, cruel and cheap
as night spilled into the sky and spread.

I’ve seen love hang by a ragged thread
or left in a sobbing tattered heap.
There’s always so much left unsaid.

May dreams dance freely in your head
dearest; we have no tears to weep.
As night spills into the sky and spreads,
there’s always so much left unsaid.

2. Let Go

Open your hand.
Gravity pulls. Wind swells.
Everything settles into place.

3. Cutting Back

One seed, shaken out
with crumbs from a tablecloth
weds with loose earth and decay.

By mid-September,
a yellow-flowered vine
curls through the back of the bed,
a sagging zig-zag mess
of tangled leaves and stems,
where anyone could overlook the cantaloupe
ripening in summer’s decline.

4. The Flock

Great clouds—
warbler, sparrow, thrush—
assemble, swell, and,
in a rush,
tilt across the sky,
descending on dry stubbly fields
to feast on corn.

Motion (or is it emotion?)
comes and goes in seasons
of need or intimacy.

We align. We separate. We connect.
We keep our distance.

5. Kitchen Ritual

A faint damp scent
works its way towards me—
chopped greens, raw and wet,
and something cooked too long
on the stove.

Insensitive to denial,
our dog paces his eternal procession
around the kitchen island
hoping for any morsel.

I’ve stopped looking in the mirror,
even that last glance
before heading out the door.

Routine falls away.
Expectation falls away.

I start to pray without words.

6. Coneflowers

Their summer luster lost,
they still entice
finches to perch
and nibble a few remaining seeds.

After I cut them down
and raked the bed clean,
summer decided to take its time
and linger long enough
to let crabgrass and nettle
settle in and spread.

7. The Physiology of Sorrow

I never noticed
its slowness,
how my blood
curdled and wept,
as its tears crept
into invisible
spaces
between my cells.

Bring me the sudden rain of hard country
that will not sink beneath the land
but rush over rocks, through gullies
sweeping branches, stones, and sand
over dams
to a wide and
brimming lake.