Friday, October 30, 2015


The Aberdeen Bestiary, Folio 63r,
"Bees make honey and skillful hives"

The bees have been busy, as, well, you know;
their fanny-packs full of gold pollen, bellies all
swollen and tight as bodhrán drumheads from
a surfeit of nectar. They’re fat; it’s time to bring
smoke to the hive, set them to drowsing, pry a
frame out and open their wax-sealed treasures
to pour into new vessels: 5-to-1 water to honey,
boil and skim, cool it down, yeast it, wait for it a
few weeks 'til it begins to dance and hum the way
bees do, the way fingers tapping the bodhrán do,
the way we will do once that hydromel's tapped.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


"Flint Knapping" by Travis S. on Flickr

Since those curled keratin shards
could be magicked, they must be
buried deep: dig a hole to China,
put your waxing crescent moons
at the bottom of that earth, cover
them up. But if the ground’s dry
and hard, it works as well to plant
two seedlings on the parings (for
example, one knockout rose that’s
seraph-red, one plumbago cherub-
blue), then gather chert left after
planting. If you’re lucky, you’ll find
two fine-grained stones to fit the
palm of your hand, ready, waiting
to make a flint-knapped heart.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


The sky’s the color of a raw oyster, shucked and
glistening, as I pick my way down quicksilvered
steps, moving into deeper water. A current wicks
up from my ankles to knees to thighs to belly;
I’m half in, half out when a bandy-legged swimmer,
small as a leaf, darts away. Being of a place and
time together, we’re somewhat kin; I wish it would
stay and tell me a story, but no. This isn’t a fairytale
where a tiny frog coughs up a magical scroll—it’s
a place where the wind plays with my hair, where
the pool cossets me, where whorls on my fingertips
make the trails I follow—ten small labyrinths water-
logged, wrinkling. I touch, then pull up on the ladder
out, re-entering the maze of what world I can grasp.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Joseph Mallord William Turner, excerpt
from "River Scene, with Carpenters at Work
Mending a Sluice," The Tate

You’d need to make an appointment to sit
with the sketch Turner made of carpenters
mending a sluice (faint tangles of graphite
laid on paper that still exhales vanillin and
lignin and lead)—but you can look online,
dream about locks, and flow, and the now-
unseen green of the countryside that day
he made it. We’re still in drought here, but
I can feel the monsoon coming. The sluice
gates are open—I can see the acequias, the
wells, the aquifers at last are starting to fill.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Photo by Andrea Booher, FEMA Photo Library, via Wikimedia Commons.

We can smell the smoke from here, and ash
has powdered the hood of the car. It’s all that
fuel left from years of drought that’s burning;
the shredded cedar, tufts of grass tangled up
with horseweed like hair in a comb, one spark
and it all catches. At night, burning bindweed
smolders then glows red, winks out: a field of
fuses that outlines the firebreak’s dark erasure,
a break too narrow to stop the spread.