Monthly Archives: April 2009

End of a Season

I wanted this to be special.
I want to say, “Please, wait, go slow —
savor the breath in this “Yes”, full
of all the words there weren’t time for.
Between winter and spring a door
swings open, laughing at them both.
New leaves flirt with raindrops, bend low,
bow, and bounce back up, full of mirth.
Is it the same for you? Maybe
this is the time to shift away
from studied measures, wait to see
what happens next. What do you say?
There are times for scripts and schedules,
times when they are only for fools.


Beds in catalogs, starchy and stiff
Beds with old quilts, silent and limp

Beds for babies on their mother’s chest
Beds for lovers, too (hush, no crying [out])

Beds that roar with the sleeper’s load snore
Beds that creak when someone rolls over

Beds that are empty in rooms meant for guests
Beds stacked with stuff (to seem like someone’s near)

Beds with tangled sheets no one has straightened
Beds so pretty you’re afraid to crawl in

Beds on the couch when you have to get away
Beds on the floor when you need a place to stay

Big beds, little beds, long beds, narrow beds
Busy beds, cluttered beds, tight beds, lone beds

Time for us to find our very own beds


Look at all those stripes,

edges, arrows, oblongs, scales!

There is a rhythm to its rest

that is ready,

the snake’s wedge-head cocked

at an odd angle, waiting.

Inspired by this momentile


Windchimes hide inside walls,
but will not be silent.

Storms bellow back and forth:
“Hot!” “Cold!” “No, hot!” “No, cold!”

until kids shout at clouds,
“Make up your blankin’ mind!!”

and their mothers hush them,
horrified. Tentative,

that is how our eyes meet,
blowing past hot and cold,

completely missing warm.
Tulips in the grass shrink

from the chill, barely buds.
If they would ever bloom

they’d blush pink on white. I know —
they’ve bloomed before, you see.

But now, who knows? Maybe
they forgot how. Maybe.

How to Put a Fan in the Window

1. Wrong: Is it cold? Is it cool? Is it warm? Is it hot? Where is it hot? Inside or out?
1. Right: Check the temperatures inside and out. Make sure it is cooler outside than in, or has lower humidity and is close to the same temperature. Close means within 3 to 4 degrees. Fahrenheit. Not Celsius. Close means within 2 degrees Celsius.

2. Wrong: Messy, messy. That’s dangerous.
2. Right, pt. A: Check to make sure the area around the windowsill is clear. This means not a lot of stuff that could fall against the window or the fan. “Not a lot of stuff” means “not any stuff”.
2. Right, pt. B: Check to make sure the areas around the plower plug, power cord, and extension cord are all clean and that nothing is laying against the wires, especially not paper or fabric or stuffed animals.
2. Note: Be careful not to mention the risk of electrical fires or the student may develop a fear of electrical appliances and be unwilling to use electric fans. Ever.

3. Wrong: Careful! Careful! Stop! You’ll break the window!
3. Right: Check to make sure the window is not locked. If it is locked, stop and unlock it before attempting to raise the window.

4. Wrong 1: OK, open the window.
4. Wrong 2: Raise the window. Yes, all the way up.
4. Wrong 3: Careful! Oh my God! Is it broken? Jammed? Can we get it back down a little?
4. Right: With your right hand, carefully grasp the bottom window panel by the built-in grip along the lower edge. Place your left hand under the top frame of the same window panel (illustrate what you mean by showing this yourself). Very gently but firmly press or pull slightly upwards with both hands at the same time. If there is notable resistance, do not force the window, but pause a moment, then gently repeat this motion two or three times. Let’s do this together so that we know how much resistance is alright and how much is not. Once the lower window panel is free of the ledge, you may raise the window to almost where it would align with the upper window pane, but not quite all the way. Make sure that the inner glass window and the outer storm window are both open, and that only the light screen window remains between you and the outside in that section of the windowframe.
4. Note: Be careful not to mention the risk of breaking the window, or the student may develop a fear of broken glass and be unwilling to attempt opening windows. Ever.

5. Wrong 1: Put the fan in the window now.
5. Wrong 2: This isn’t that hard. You know what to do next.
5. Right: Pick the fan up by its handle with your left hand. You may wish to support the bottom of the fan with your right hand. Position the fan facing outward approximately in the center of the open window space. Slide it carefully toward the screen, checking the alignment of the upper window frame to make sure that there is a slight amount of space for the fan’s dial. What I mean is that you must gently slide the window you opened earlier back downward against the fan’s frame, as if you were closing it. This is to provide support for the fan on two sides to help hold it in one place. Otherwise, because the fan vibrates, it may wiggle loose of the window. If that happens, it might fall, which would be noisy and unpleasant. Sometimes, when you “close” the window against the fan’s frame, you need to reposition the fan a few times to get it in the right position. The right position would have the bottom of the fan touching the bottom windowsill, the top of the fan touching the bottom of the open window with the window pressed against it, and the dial of the fan pressed gently but firmly against the frame of the open window.

6. Wrong 1: Turn it on now.
6. Wrong 2: The hum comforts; the fan soothes; the cool air moves through the room as gently as snowflakes, as dandelion fluff.
6. Right: You should now turn the fan dial one click clockwise to turn on the fan. Listen to see if the fan hums evenly, or if there is an irregular rattle. If you hear any rattling, check the edges of the fan to make sure the window frame and windowsill are pressing against it firmly. If you aren’t sure, let’s do this together a couple times to make sure you know the right sounds it should make.

7. Wrong 1: Don’t forget to open the other windows.
7. Wrong 2: In sleep, it is that thin cool thread of air barely shifting that brings ease.
7. Right: Check to make sure there is another window open in another room. The other window should be in a room on the opposite side of the house, and may be on another (lower) floor. It should be open 2-3 inches. You may sometimes have 2 or 3 windows open aside from the window with the fan. The open windows (if there is more than one) should be in different rooms, and maybe in rooms where people want to sleep.

Weather Villanelle

The radar is hot with orange and red —
“High winds, large hail,” the announcer drones.
The coming storm feels sluggish and edged.

We waited for hours, now time for bed.
Worried about sleeping, my son moans.
The radar is hot with orange and red,

Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Detroit form a wedge
of suffocating air, windborne “stones.”
The coming storm feels sluggish and edged —

my mind is buzzing with words unsaid,
disordered fragments echoed alone.
The radar is hot with orange and red.

Outside mourning dove nestlings have fledged,
but the next batch of eggs are building bones.
The coming storm feels sluggish and edged.

“Turn off the lights,” my dad always said,
now it’s computers whose circuits could blow.
The radar is hot with orange and red —
the coming storm feels sluggish and edged.


stems, buds, petals all
blown sideways but still clinging
no sakura these

Crabapple Blossoms


beaten metal bent and glaring in sun
static frisson sparking from a danceball
hot handrail gone mercuric and molten
rough earth silvered with a slick liquid life
scotoma shivers against my eyelids
mirrors, there are mirrors everywhere, everywhere


a lovely face covered with powder
and rose petals,
a cluster
of faces
cloaked in gray ash,
smooth as an oil slick.
skin covered with ink.
hair covered with feathers.
we are not burning,
we are not
we are
sitting near
a gap, a small chasm
staring mutely at each other.
there is something about this,
this beauty that aches,
that aches
but does not cry out.

This was written in response to this momentile.

Beauties (Momentile, tinydancer)

Witness the Day

…..clusters, their throats small crayon sunbursts.
a wrought iron fence
…..rusts, faded sage paint peeling
…..over bare dirt with slippery end-of-winter leaves.
a knotty pine telephone pole
…..rough and studded with staples from old posters and papers.
…..clenching their cool colors in tight fists.
…..pours down steady for hours,
…..bisects the manmade,
…..the manhole cover yin and yang —
…..half puddle, half grid.
last year’s berries
…..shrivel & pit like clustered bubbles,
… downshifting to maroon, then bitter brown. Meanwhile
the lady cardinal,
…..her chest shaded like wheat fields,
…..her face like a peach,
…..perches on an asterisk of twigs
…..surrounded by fireworks of blooms as red as her mate,

Female Cardinal

Female Cardinal