For Susan
May 10, 1951 – September 7, 2015

there is silence now.
i walk the fields,
damp with rain and dew,
to the orchard.
and there
i pace amongst the rows
of apple and pear trees
i went there to be with the stillness.
a stillness that i attempted
to evade.
in the stillness
i am with your passing.
i can now
be with it, hold it
as one does something fragile and sacred
the stillness is palpable.
the days have slowed,
a shift in nature is present.
and it forces me to sit with that
which causes discomfort.
there is barely a breeze.
it tugs, pushes and then rests.
overheard, geese in a perfectly formed v
migrate.
i came to the stillness to hold
your passing.
you, harpist.
you, free improviser.
you, radical.
you, friend.
you, second mother.
you, nurturer.
you, gift giver.
between the rows
i stand motionless.
now and then a pear falls.
its release sends a branch
into motion;
upward and buoyant.
like a conductor’s baton
calling us back
to time, to the moment.
and then, the fruit,
maybe perfect
maybe rotten
… maybe,
… maybe.
hits the ground
with a thud,
unique
personal
perfect.
i left the known
to sit with your illness.
the knowledge of your great
rest that was coming.
with your passing
i take the gift you gave me.
a gift of delving inward.
into the raw
and divine.
a gift of awareness,
of moments and moments
strung together.
like pears hitting
the damp earth.
like a gentle gust
through rain laden leaves.
like a flock of geese
calling out to each other on
their ancient migratory route.
each moment unique.
each occurrence holding a moment
in a moment.
each one not fully adding up
the sum having nothing to do with the parts.
the parts, life in motion,
life awake,
as you rest.

last night i dreamt about V_____.
what does that mean,
to dream
about an ex? I awoke
wondering where she
is, how she is doing.
the dream was weird,
in it we just drank
tea. the last time we met,
before our lives
drifted apart,
she drank black coffee
and i drank tea.
the coffee was so strong that,
with every sip she made a sort 
face, a wrinkling of her nose,
a look of repulsion.
but it was too late,
she wouldn’t add milk or cream
or sugar. she hated showing
weakness of any kind.
that’s all i ever wanted to show,
i wanted to expose
all that was within me,
to lay it out
on the table, raw.
that was so long ago. 
now i drink my coffee black 
and as strong as possible.
i drink it for hours until i’m almost 
sick.
i don’t even think of adding
milk, or cream, or sugar anymore. 

to see that from
within;
to give craving
title and place. 
lines upon flesh
drawn in earth
cyclical markings.
rich, carbon
rubbings
blurring borders
with past
and present.
marks indicating space
and time,
linear and non,
tell of longing.
repetitive
and endless
like breath
connected,
like breath redirecting
awareness to the moment.
the gesture of holding
addiction close,
of cradling the self unforgiven, 
to re-examine frailty,
to reconsider weakness. 
repetition 
gives form to longing, 
it reveals craving.
presence,
an embodied body,
lines mimicking breath. 
carbons presence,
its lack of presence;
the extension of my being,
from innermost
to finger tips.
onto linen,
to surface external,
to give form
to the unformed,
a portrait of the unsaid.
farther, still,
longing to dust;
to residue,
momentary existence,
held
and held again.
and held again.  

brother can you
hear me

we used to
toil in the fields

side by side
soil under nails

brother can you
hear me

how much
have we aged

perhaps it has
been a million years

brother they
cut me

labor gave me
broken hands

have you seen
my spirit

the seasons changed
the sun shifted

mother is wet
rains beat her raw

brother now what
of love and loss

rich soil deep
within calloused hands

brother where is
the full sun

how do we
return from this

how do we hold
both of these worlds

brother i was not well
this is strange

i want the earth
tangled within me

to strip bare
and return to it

the kettle begins to whisper
it is morning and it groans
to life as if against its will
my cat nudges my leg
‘i am here’
it seems to says
with no demands on me
a frost has settled
it covers the world
in crystals that flicker
in the shifting morning light
i am torn between
joy and heartache
between running towards
and running away
the jeremiah of the past
is leaving
i am not sure
how to say goodbye
i want to make amends
i want to wrap you up
and tell you of the pain
i was going through
the pain that was the beginning
of my transformation
i want to bring you with me
to carry you over
the jeremiah of the past
fades each morning
fades like the frost crystals
in the shifting morning sun
there is such joy here
in this new world
but the heartache
has followed me
perhaps it will
follow me always
into every new jeremiah

the white night-shirt
in my sock drawer
no longer carries
your scent
when it did
i always found
it hard to describe
the smell
of the lacy
garment
the scent was not only
of perfume
but of a body
not only of a
body but of a soul
a soul that
held me in such a way
i wanted so desperately
to keep the smell
wrapped up within the
fibers
wound tightly into the
silken threads
but it didn’t hold
try as i might
it didn’t hold
now winter has arrived
and the delicate cloth
is the color of the snow
and lost within
the bleakness
of memory

in the first
light of
dawn
the trees
shed snow
a gentle wind
has taken it
i stand
and watch
it will
never be
such
trying to
hold
the fresh snow
against the
wind
i know
this and
i believe you
do too
you can’t
quiver
now
with arms
like branches
those of
another tree