every year
when the seasons change
and the dogwood loses
its flowers
i wonder if it will bloom
again next year.
an ice storm
broke the center branches.
they are so fragile now.
in the heart of it
they reach upwards
bending strangely from the
damage caused.
early in the spring
when it is as bare and
bleak as the world
around it
i sigh and say,
‘maybe i’ll
have to cut it down
this year.’
a few weeks later
the buds form
and the leaves turn
into rich green.
then the blossoms explode
and the center
is covered
hidden from the world.
in this moment i forget
that i ever
considered cutting it

oh where oh where oh where oh where
that is how this poem starts
in my mind.
i asked myself, ‘do you recall
where you left that emotion?’
but i couldn’t.
so i just bought time
trying to wait it out
by asking,
oh where oh where oh where

a whip breaking
the silence of night;
stooping too low
against a frigid breeze
that even flesh upon flesh
couldn’t warm.
i will not
be remembered as such,
but echoes said
i would.
the same voice that
whispered love to my wrinkles,
and in the same breath
scolded me for
unlabeled erotic poems.
now, i will remember
you as such.

i placed delicate lily petals
on the floor
and lit candles.
the light crept around
the darkness,
along with the sounds of summer
and the heat –
such heat.
i can’t remember your taste,
a memory i can leave
in the past,
but the lily petals,
how they curl inward,
flesh toned and sensual,
they remind me
of who i was –
of who i am –
even as i willingly
release memories of you.

these wide eyes
like legs spread open
is this really empowerment 
i see the shadow
being pulled along
but whose arms hold who at night 
resting with another
not in your nest
is that the recognition you seek 
flesh flesh flesh
but that’s not courage
true strength is surrender
a need to hold 
the longing for passion 
somewhere within
beyond the stained sheets
and the hot nest
you cradle a desire 
for another lifetime