Saturday, January 20, 2018


Thorolf Holmboe, "Hekkende skarv (Nesting cormorants)," 1903

I glanced up and saw a smooth spot
in the river's current—almost a lens,
a focus for my eye, and I watched it.
In a moment both fast and slow: the
needle-beak piercing the scrim, then
the rest of the bird, dark as wet slate,
holding the wriggling silver crescent
of a fish, or the moon, swallowing it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ballast seed

Perkons, "Purple Loosestrife," 2017

Also see Meyer's "How the Invasive Plants of
New York
Represent the City’s Colonial Past"

All potential, a mote, the glossy testa
keeping its secrets until the ballast box
is scraped empty, until the rains come.
And the rains do come, kissing every
pursed micropyle until (imbibing and
besotted, drunk and stirring) one coat
comes loose, splits open. An everyday
miracle, an invasion—a radicle nosing
down the way a newborn roots, eyes
closed tight, for another sweet drink.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Rembrandt van Rijn, "Woman Reading," Date Unknown

In a small stone building, dating back to
the Revolutionary War—this was where
we went to find treasures hidden within
a second skin of foil-stamped buckram,
or sheathed in Mylar. My small hand in
my father’s. The reverent hush, the mild
vanillin-tannic perfume of decomposing
lignin, cellulose. This was where time was
unbound, where a child like me could run
her fingers along a spine then listen in at
the grown-ups’ table, sit with ink-stained
dinner guests from ages past and to come.
I’d bring all my arms could hold up front—
my offertory, placed on a librarian’s altar.

Friday, January 05, 2018


simpleinsomnia, "Crying little girl reaches
for someone off camera
," uploaded 2016

The toddler—red-faced, wild. I can’t
recall how we’d soothe her, soothe
ourselves. Did we never learn how?
Her back stiff and arched, choking as
she sobs “NNNnnnoooooo,” perfect
tiny hands clenching then opening to
flail at the air. Oh, little one. Your cry
fades, decays as you’re carried past,
carrying me past now and backwards
to the edge of perception, to where
the audible spectrum dissolves in the
backwash of cosmic noise, your tears.

Monday, January 01, 2018


"Drachm of Ephesos with bee, struck under Prytanis,"
387–301 BCE, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Even Charon needs a place to rest, in the stygian
twilight—a place to put his feet up, close his eyes
for a moment as he waits for the next passengers
to appear. A houseboat made of reeds, a gift from
Ningal—no, we’d never see it, even if we knew it
was there. Sitting low in the water, blackened with
tar, sagging from the weight of a thousand million
coins given to pay for passage—prow and stern like
horns, like the edges of the thinnest crescent of a
waxing moon made of obsidian. Floating shelter for
the ferryman’s break. When the wind catches a cut
edge, the scow moans like a blues harp, the same
tuneless tune Charon hums under his breath once
back at work, loading. While he misses his moment
of leisure, he’ll gladly palm the light off our coins.