Wednesday, May 23, 2018


As I soak the ground where the clay’s
packed tight at the trunk, loosen its
chokehold, soften it, a thousand tiny
black ants bubble up—this chitinous
fountain, ants clutching pale seeds of
larvae, bodies profligate as the tree’s
yellow blooms. The ants, as ordered
in their panicked disorder as the beat
of my racing heart. I shudder—they’re
hidden again. The afternoon sun gnaws
links off the laburnum’s golden chains
until they’re licked up by a north wind,
dust devil of petals spiraling. Drifts of
petals, gilding the asphalt as a fat bee
settles, dozes off beneath a leaf. If only
you were here to see all this with me.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Thomas Howison, sketch of a gnarled and
fallen apple tree
, from an 1820 lithograph

My guess is, she was planted when the
cottage was built. Almost a centenarian,
neglected long enough that her water-
spouts were almost thick as her central
trunk; one low heavy limb snapped clear
off from the weight of her apples. That
was just after we’d bought the cottage,
before we’d moved in. She covered our
yard with windfalls; the cottage smelled
like cider for weeks, and it struck me,
how her generosity almost broke her.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Base line

Tom Gill, "Valley of the Shadows," 2013

Taking a measurement, in the sunlight,
before the rains come again. Unlike the
gentlemen surveyors who parsed and
parceled this earth with a Jacob’s Staff
and a Gunter’s chain, I frame my survey
by ear, by heart. Links in a chain pulled
tight—the base line the longest line in a
survey, made by our hands clasped, our
fingers twined until a measure’s marked.
Marked in loneliness past and to come—
the times when the chain’s folded away,
when shadows lengthen until we’re lost
altogether—this, my base line of love and
loneliness, scribed in the same measure.