The following poems from Dancing Mockingbird have been published in various literary journals.


Animal Words

Thick fog denses a pirouette in freeze-time.
Sound and distance founder, lost in mist and soft, dark air.
The far line of the white ice is lost in the murk-mime,
the sand sill looms silver on the frozen lap of the lake, there.
I hear your voice from farther up the carriage line,
too soft to catch the words. A horse coughs in answer.
When I find you, the mare swings her face toward mine
and you turn, your hand upon her flank, ever the dancer.
I brace to your breaths upon my cheek. You speak
animal words that make me laugh and give me thrills.
I am rendered roan and randy, stallion sleek,
and shivering in my withers, atremble at the thills.
You lean in close to scent my must and smile,
then stamp your foot and whinny, all tease and beguile.
    ~ Gravitas, 2020.

A Sleepless Sense of Found

Fog gathers all night on the oak above us,
        in the meadow all around us.
As the stars step back behind the mist,
        the curled brown wetted leaves
        stitter down through the branches of the tree.
We lie close together in our bags, talking.
We steep there, we sink deeper into the share
        as points of correspondence pile up
        in layers from our stories.
My hungry tongue and lips turn demure,
        my wonder rises with the hidden moon
        until a sleepless sense of found enfolds me.
    ~ Sixfold, 2019

Darkmoon Time

In darkmoon time
the shadows eat shadows
and every thing
is thin and wailing.
    ~ Tatterhood Review, 2019

Desperate Squeaks

A peeper the stillness peppers
with his desperate little squeaks,
saying, Here am I—find me, find me!
Alone in the dark, like the rest of us.

But he’s persistent, driven by something
deeper than the silence, the absence
of an answer. Or maybe the females
of his kind don’t voice their interest,

their quiet progress toward his call.
Could be he’s not alone at all.
Nor am I. For now that I
truly listen, he’s got my ear—
companionship is just that near.
    ~ Loon Magic and Other Night Sounds, 2019


Across the meadow
        white shadows of footprints
                filled by windblow
    ~ Gyroscope Review, 2019

The Perseids

In the mountain pond the stars
step out onto obsidian,
water smooth, a dark as deep
as star beams are lean.

The dome above revolves,
the last indigo fading
into background black
for the wheeling constellations.

As lightquiet counterpoint
to bullfrog songs, the moon
rises. A loon cries. The restless
winds lay down their sighs.

Through the night we doze,
awaken, snug deeper in our bag,
watch while the soundless Perseids streak
in extra terra visitation.

    ~ Inscape, 2019

Trail Maker

The trail maker—
I want to meet her.

She swings me ’round the boles
of the bigger beeches,
then along a slope
with skinny naked trunks
and thin winter sunlight
through the open understory
slanting just so,
in late afternoon.

I love the little curve she made
that skirts the stone and fern there
at the bottom of the bank.

She took me through a meadow
thick with thistle and sumac
and the smell of goldenrod,
then up into the rock formations,
entered from the finest angles
for surprises in the mazes.

I want to warn her:
that orange trail
is rank with savage rose—
one year, maybe two, before
it’s strangled by the thorns.
But I suppose she knows.

She goes where the tanagers nest.
    ~ River and South, 2019

Rainbow Raiment Muse

The road falls fast to the valley floor
        from the headwall down the ridge,
        tangent to the hamlet cradled on the flat.
The light, thin with Colorado height and rose flush,
        pales so slowly to Rocky dusk
        its patient hand feels exorable.
A little squall drifts above the quiet village streets below
        and I can trace the running line of rain there.
To see it whole and distant small like this,
        racing the slanting light—
                I would freeze this instance view.

But the four wheels are peeling down the tarmac,
        and soon we’re coming level with the cloud’s crown.
From here the grey mass seems parked in shafts of gold
        and my moving reference frames the storm to human scale
        till I’m a pip beside its bulk.
Then melting in and upside-down amount the top-lit hulk
        a rainbow glows. All fleet passage stops,
        and I know only moment.

But we race by and I must imagine
that the storm itself walks on
        into the cool loom and moving darkness;
that no even town could turn it;
that soon it would sag off the mountain, spent,
        while just this noon it was windflaw tumid wet,
                and yet . . .

Long past the mountain’s hidden feet of night
        and all the days that since have passed,
        the moment lasts:
                the slanted shafts,
                the little ball of storm,
                the evanescent hues of the mystic smile—
        all this while, they wear for me
                the rainbow raiment muse.
    ~ Gravitas, 2020

You Are Leaving

This monstrous looming,
distant but oncoming,
like the smoke of a burning
village cloaking the landscape,
promises a razing.
                Ash falls,
thickening in the non-light
in a courtyard deserted of footfalls.
The fountain is dry.
                Night draws nigh.
The scent of ends chokes out “Soon, too.”
    ~ Sixfold, 2019