Sample Poems

Clear Cut

A robin circles the new
sunlit plain,
scattered broken branches
and sawdust piled around stumps
aren’t familiar, though her instinct says
this is her green canopy
protecting her from sun,
crowded with century thick trunks
she dodged
on daily routes to forage
seeds, unsuspecting grasshoppers,
so around and
around she flies and
flies, eyes
dark as woodpecker holes,
search for the forked limbs
high above
cat and fox jaws
where she laid twig after
twig from flight after
flight, but
her open-mouthed young
screeching for food
aren’t in sight,
just dirt-settled air and the forest floor
where saplings with first leaves
pressed together pray
they’re never found.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.  Published in Poetry Quarterly in November 2014.

Too Bright

The liquor store window holds
his leaning weight, shoulder
pressing glass in the usual

early morning meeting
as he awaits the lock’s opening click,
fluorescent bulb buzz and clink

of bottles, soothing music among
birdsongs, rustle of winded leaves,
with trembling hands eager

to empty his paper cup of coins
so he can unscrew a cap
for the day’s first swallow.

His stare shifts from laceless shoes
to the memory of walking down
a tree-lined street with lunchbox

at his side, stepping over crack
after crack, holding his mother’s hand,
heeding her strong as whiskey warning,

voice slicing air, her back
bruised by his father’s fists.
Rays peek over roofs to feed

insatiable morning glories,
set birds into amorous flight,
and ants working at his feet

burrow homes beneath
crab grass roots, shelter
from spider’s jaws, careless soles.

Squinting, his hand shields
the brilliance and he shuffles
into another day’s shade.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.  Published in Poetry Quarterly in November 2014.