“…inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce, and that is who we are.”
                                     -Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena


That word can only be lived,

not shaped by the lips, not pressed

out by the tongue, but expressed,

syllable by syllable, each time

we encounter our essence

in the wilderness or open

wide to love, each time

we weep with deep sorrow or feel

truth’s wings flutter, each time

we meet souls who mirror our own

or give without return, each time

we stop trying to pronounce that word

we wouldn’t understand anyway.

Desert Wishes

Desert Wishes
for Casey

May your spirit find space

to stretch far and wide

under that big, open sky.


May your soul recognize its truth,

its wild and radiant essence,

reflected in the fierce sun.


May you feel your strength,

solid and humble, in the rocks

surrounding and holding you.


May your heart expand with wonder

as each grain of sand reminds you

of your own abundance.


May you notice your own brilliance,

your incredible light,

in the glow of each moon.


May you discover more questions

than answers under the stars, trusting them

to lead you into infinite possibilities.


May your spirit join the wind,

soaring and delighting

in currents of freedom.


May you enjoy peace in the stillness,

and sweet sleep, rich with dreams

of what lies beyond knowing.


May your soul see the depth,

the many layers of its beauty

displayed in every sunset.


May you hear animal voices

aligning you with the purity of instinct,

all that is true and alive within you.


May your heart speak freely,

filling the canyons with wise words

about loving and being loved.


May you find what you need

in this landscape, raw and real,

as you sit, explore, and listen.

The Poet Wishes She Was a Poem

The Poet Wishes She Was a Poem
“I believed that I wanted to be a poet,
but deep down I just wanted to be a poem.”
                                    –Jaime Gil de Bieda


And isn’t that the truth,

that those of us trying

to use words as nets

for capturing all that is real

and raw and true

are really yearning to be the nets,

that we might actually feel

the delicate wings

and slippery bodies

of purity, honesty,

wonder, and anguish

fluttering and flopping

within us

Say it Hot

Say it Hot
“…when genuine passion moves you,
  say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.”
                                           –D.H. Lawrence


If you allow

sparks of truth

and beauty to ignite

what is tender

and alive within you,

there will come a time

when you can no longer

contain the fire,

when you must spit

that flaming ball of yes

into the world

and risk burning

the whole place down.

Not Yet

Not Yet

As you nestle into my pillow,

I smell the lotion

that one of the technicians

must have had on her hands

when she held you down

for x-rays this morning. I reach

to pet you, feel the knobs

of your spine, feel shoulderblades

jutting from you like scree, feel

the vet’s prognosis splintering

me, recalling the conversation

I tried to reason my way through

with all the right lines

about your quality of life

being more important

than invasive treatments,

about dying

being part of life, my voice

beginning to tremble

when emotion snuck up

and pushed reason out

of the way. And tonight

my hand shakes its way

across your brittle coat

while I revisit our agreement

that you will let me know

when it’s “time,” but tonight

you just nestle in further,

purring, stretching,

letting me know

it’s not yet.

As If I Needed a Reminder

As If I Needed a Reminder

I managed to lose the trail

after misinterpreting the sign

and not looking far enough

in every direction, which,

on any other day

would have been fine,

even fun, a chance to scout

around and explore more,

but not today, not

after waking up two hours early

with my heart trying to sledgehammer

its way out of my chest,

not after sobbing over breakfast,

then sobbing even harder in the car

when a radio story on gratitude

left me thinking that what

I’m most grateful for right now

is making it through the past

several months without completely

coming undone, and then sobbing

even harder when I realized I have

so much more than that

to be grateful for,  no,

today, instead

of an opportunity

for adventure, today

losing the trail only meant

I was lost.