The Sky is Falling

When the Old Man fell,
it interrupted all scheduled programming,

including Brittany’s tenth birthday party,
where I was one minute feeling,

to pin the tail on the donkey,
and the next waiting,
to hear the sound
of a pin
falling.

Falling,
like ashes,
ashes
from the sky
in Oregon.

Fifteen years later,
children circle around me,
as if I were campfire,
to tell stories of their favorite hikes,
as if they happened yesterday.

I circle around what happened yesterday.

Climate-Change-Fueled Wildfires
Pollute the Air, Make People Sick.
74 Acres and Counting, Burning.

Things My Mother Gave Me [That I Did Not Ask For]

shoulder pads
a cigarette burn on my left shoulder
her middle name
a battle with me at the middle
second helpings of mashed potatoes
too little pride to succeed, too much to ask for help
how to win Monopoly
how to cheat
how to cheat the system
Nintendo 64
an excuse for asking:

“Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Really, are you sure?”

love

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The Raw Touch

Never is honey as raw
as its origin flower,
at the moment of dehiscence,
giving in to the release
of seeds, pollen, and the quiet

that comes after —
the spontaneous opening
along a single crack
of built-in weakness,
where the wound fails to heal.

Mark how the wisteria behaves,
dripping from a ceiling
in the 1900 block
of NE Schuyler Street;
how its winglike petals

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4

What makes a favorite number is enigmatic.

The answer to how many blades of grass
whistled between my thumbs
on that hazy summer afternoon,
bored to death, but still sweating
only childhood — how many didn’t?

The rhythm of counting clovers by color
white, white, red, blistering red
not minding the stinger,
on the instep of my index finger,
which proved the sweetest score.

The shape of that room in my memory
with unpainted concrete sidings —
aged into a mosaic of brown specks
of old blood — that seemed to fall in
no matter how I squared them.

My favorite number is four. There is no reason for it.
It is just how it is, so far as I know.



What Remains Vivid Now

the memory of the pansy, bold faced, persisting

through whiplash weather.
March 14: snow.
March 15: storm of pollen

over the mountains,
across the flats,
down into the valleys —

everywhere,
everything,
flourishing
all at once.

It was my first hay fever,
I think, but it is hard
to think back.

So much happens each day.