Thursday, November 10, 2011

Miles per Life

Miles Per Life

Every day, I drive from my street

onto the highway,

rush to 55 mph

slow to 45

then 35

through town.

From home, to home

always an inching back

or zipping forward

from sign to sign.

Today, I turn the age

of the youngest speed.

The years will accelerate

in rising order

regardless of which

way I’m heading.

But in the realm

where I prefer to move,

I’ve lived each limit already,

can look back at my linear self

driving linear roads and wonder

why I focus so on numbers

why I sigh at yellow lights

and cross-walkers.

I always make it home.

Home—more than the number

it wears to be found.

Age—more than the speed I live it.

Both—just figures

to help me know

how close I am.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Fig of It

I find a fig tree circled

by its own, fallen fruit.

The carpet of rot permits me

to pull a soft, ripe drop

of sweetness and eat.

O, audible flavor!

The fig’s each seed

tells the mouth a story

of what may grow

with right soil, light, and rain.

Each seed of my life

asks to grow, tended, into

a useful, beautiful yield.

Each seed blooms toward fruit

with every hope of sharing

its own reward.

I mourn small losses:

figs that missed

a table of friends & cheese,

figs that won’t know

the steep of time, jarred

‘til winter hunger wakes them.

Make my life this:
a ready harvest

given, taken, tasted.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011




Samantha, the dog I thought a “he” until just before her owner left her with me to join his friends kayaking, has disappeared. One minute, Sam’s splashing in the rocky shallows with me, the next, all I see is the cliff we climbed down to get here. I’m left with the sound of the river and hot August sun. And the diesel truck back up at the road. The hill and truck are enough of an adventure. The rapids eight kayakers just put into here don’t even register.

My whistle’s worthless. Sam!

I’m driving shuttle for people who love to ride fast rivers. I love to sit beside a river, let it go about its business. Right now, that business includes moving eight, bright boats for hopefully enough water miles that Sam will come back before I drive down to the take-out.

I read somewhere that dogs respond better to lower tones—they carry authority. I lower my voice: SAAAAAM. I look for a place to sit, find a scoop of rock chair’d by time, and watch the frothing. One thing about waiting, it makes you pay attention. A racked buck bends to drink on the other shore. A red dragonfly is followed by two blue. The summer-exposed boulders stair the river down with thick, white water. The roar around them is so loud I can’t hear any thoughts but water’s. I wonder if I envy wildness and flight. Another bit of the river’s business is to speak, I think. Its voice is constant, like God’s. As with both, I’m not always listening. Listen.


Beside the unstill waters

of the Salmon,

I have been calling

the river by its nickname.

Sam the dog isn’t here.

I am.

The river is—

with red and blue boats

with red and blue wings

with me finally glad for my stillness.

Loss makes way for being found

by a river in the full sun

of late summer,


but unready to return

to a stationary world.

P.S. Two days later, the message comes: Found: lost dog across the river. All is well.