Oil has seeped into
the margins of the ditch of standing water
and flashes or looks upward brokenly,
like bits of mirror—no, more blue than that:
like tatters of the Morpho butterfly.
How young were my boys when I moved them to a town, . . . Read more
If the trout died it would not be
as motionless as it is now,
in a current a man cannot
stand in and under which looser
stones go tumbling from their sockets.
Across its back it seems sunlight
is what’s swimming, . . .
My obsession with borders was born all at once in three different countries, depending on who you ask. I was in my early twenties, biking with a friend across the parched soda plains of the Askai Chin. For weeks we traversed this high-altitude wilderness, a land spread wide as wings, . . . Read more
Not to worry. Each morning
after you kiss my cheek
and lock the door behind you,
leaving me alone with my body
and this house to walk it around in,
I’ve plenty to do. Monitoring
the meat defrosting on the counter, . . .
She stood at the window and watched me.
How long she had waited for me to wake up
I dared not ask, nor could she have answered,
her jaws woven shut by the undertaker’s twine,
a trade she knew well, having taught herself
black work by night in the attic, . . .
Jack, today I played fast-and-loose with a bottle
of Prosecco and a coconut cake, and now,
an hour later, I’ve got my knees tucked to my chest
because it feels like someone’s mistaken my head
for an oyster and is shucking away, . . .
He was always the smallest, in any room, “an Atom of a man” somebody said (the word existed then, although not in our later sense); but spunky, quick to rise to a righteous indignation and to support it with a whirligig of fists.
“Terrier courage,” one of his schoolfellows called it. . . . Read more
My garrulous neighbor, Walter—a red-nosed U.S. Army Major (retired)—gives me books, volumes that he snatches up at the occasional library inventory purges at the University of Idaho, where I teach. Some are good, others not as good. Some I park on my bookshelves, others I recycle or use as doorstops. . . . Read more
The white peaches announce themselves on the kitchen counter,
quick scent flinting alight the worm-eaten dawn,
the clean-edged note almost mineral, so unlike
the vague, pulpy yellow of girlhood:
the backyard peach tree bowed down with too much
sun-bruised fruit, . . .
My father was on his long taxi journey when my mother said she might have a crush on someone. “Someone who doesn’t do quixotic things for quick money,” she flounced. In the year before the little shuttle I had been in real love. That boy’s rare blood disease made me overqualified in the matter, . . . Read more