i want to be clear in these lines
like a window polished with
vinegar and newspaper squeaky
transparent what i’m speaking
of is the sound of love how so
often there is a tension to it
sometimes a sharp-edged
sword and a bite of toothiness
a toothless grin sharp words
long hard to listen to wisdom
this all comes from a lover’s
mouth along with a kiss tongued
to heaven leaving no thought
at all i lean in with courage
ready for all of it soft and harsh
love is not for sissies

Because We Are of the Same Mind

We do not talk much
about certain things.
Not that I would name
them here, either.
Easier sometimes
to let the lips be still
or find other ways for them
to amuse themselves.
But I eavesdrop on your
breath and there
I’ve thought to hear
the sound of aspen trees
on the ridge, or perhaps
autumnal sun and the slow
way it leans into the canyon,
or maybe crazy jazz angels
riffing it up. If I’ve heard
them, I’ve made them up. When
I listen, I only hear your breath
linking what hasn’t been said.
We exchange messages this way—
a whole language with no verbs,
no nouns, no determiners, just breath.
There is sunrise and moon
in the silence. We both hear
what no one else could guess.

299–Another Chance

the rest has come and gone
4 days sleeping in a tent by
the ocean dripping away the
dirty laundry of spent lives
we cradle rest our heads on
sand and sea dreams hear you
quietly returning while we sleep
our innocence back into the boat
on the third day the whales
spouting slapping their tales
a wonder so deep the heart
still thumps its connection to
the ancient and present universe
love swings around and grabs
us for a dance we begin again
always a new chance another way to learn love

After Listening to Barry Spacks’ Recurring Dream

It is almost always the same. Just
before the play begins, I realize
I do not know my lines. It’s

okay, I tell myself. It’s happened
before. You have always been fine.
But the audience keeps filing into chairs

and the red velvet curtains are about
to swing wide and reveal the unprepared
girl inside who stands alone center stage.

This is usually when I wake up. Perhaps tonight
I’ll have the dream in which I have studied
my lines for months, I have memorized

every gesture, all my staging, and everyone
else’s lines, too. Perhaps tonight
when the curtains open, I will be ready,

though the heart still flutters wildly
with nervousness. And the aisles
will be filled with red and orange roses

and before I deliver my lines perfectly,
I leap from the stage into a pile of rose petals
and decide to take a long nap instead.