Girl as Birch



compliance      pliant,

ancient lenience

according to a (faulty) credo:

any agile gesture
equals allure.


Then, when wind abates

stature regained, a realignment

silent-limbed      liminal,


resilient as a branch

pushed from the path

and springing back.



Girl in the Mirror


Did I finally

for an instant

leave it — leave it?


Depart without.



Had I always been
placed to please,
shoulders tight, my hands
in every photo held
carefully, one nestled
  as a teacup, in the other?

Neck upright, a stalk, no,
a swan,
head turned ever so
vaguely away,
never direct
nor uncalculated for effect ––
left arm lowered
to lap, right


My gestures adjusting
to repeat, reflect, repeat,
deflect in mirrors.

rather, snitching
glances, in bistros, car windows, ponds, spoons,


glazed by daily artifice.


stylish. A mannequin
in cantilevered cowboy boots stitched with butterflies,
long skirt, shoulder-padded jacket, wide belt, hair angled ––

See me please see me

Eyes on me, all
eyes especially
my own, imagining
eyes imagining 


Until that sighting, unplanned in dark glass,

at the train station, hair untamed, uncontainable

me, too shiny in black raincoat, untended,

in drizzle. The frizzy spikes of hair jagged,

my too black coat with its inside reversible

flutter of flowerets in green and purple,

too sugary, worse even than the unremitting

shadow, myself, projected, that anyone might see.

Lonely.  Empty English side street.


Barrow Street

In Red

Harmony in Red, Henri Matisse (1908)


Enough red to end
all desire for sex –– reflected

in a stern countenance.
A stance mocking

any sense of rapture.
Neck, collar-entrapped,

right hand gripping
an epergne as though

it needed protection
from restraining vines,

frenzied bouquets.
Hair crouched on bent head

like a heavy squirrel.
Two chairs, incompatible in scale,

failing to suggest depth.
Nothing as it should be,

but that tumultuous red.
Blue vines mounting redness

crawling up red walls, grasping
relentless red.

A paler red, vinegar
in the cruet, must be sunlit,

but such an obvious lie:
there is no source of light.

No outside, no
actual world. Only the faux

window out. No


Green Mountains Review


Knife of peasants,
alpinists, artists. Thick-
bladed to scrape leather,
carve cheese, untangle vine,
release trapped lambs, hack
out ice, slice flesh.
The real
ones, carbon, sharpened,
oiled, darken in a man’s hip pocket,
fit the palm perfectly,
snap open when he knocks.

Likewise, horsemeat,
scrawny rabbits, small boned, gray,
for sale, without shame
dressed in fur, ready for him
to skin them into stew.

He’s brought pear wine,
unlabeled, illegal,
bows in courtly folds,
prying, savoring.