More from my chapbook

From my chapbook “Spinning Pins,” forthcoming:


The weaver sweeps and makes coffee. This is filling a pot with hot water for coffee, cold water for cleaning, hot water for coffee, cold water for cleaning. She walks to the cupboard for grounds, to the sink for water, cupboard, sink.

The painter brings a white cup and sets it on the step. He lays his tools and brushes along the table. The master wants a mural that will gather up the acres and roll them out again along the wall, ponds and horses suspended in summer or late spring, but the painter can only see tiny things—the nub of a peony shattered by a heavy rain, four brown eggs on a brown plate carried by the weaver’s younger sister. He stares for a long time, without seeing. Ash on the stones.

When the weaver is standing at the sink, he presses his hand into the small of her back and says, “Come walk with me.”

She puts down the coffeepot and they look left and right as they leave, guilty.

Into the barnyard and through it quickly, not walking close, until they come into the woodlot and toward each other, bending to examine a grotesque rubbery fungus like some alien brimmed hat attached to a stump, then out again into the lonely hayfield, usually private seedheads swaying, a bunting at the edge, brilliant blue on a low branch.


Simple words

Daughter zeroed in today on the drama of a chapter ending in her book:

“Something had happened. Something was wrong.”

I would not have noticed these words as written objects, but I am glad she did; hearing them repeated in her quiet reading voice, layered with excitement, was lovely.



Mostly mantis egg cases

Chapbook excerpt

From my chapbook “Spinning Pins,” forthcoming:


Correspondences: pumpkin to moon to light bulb.

Bird’s breast to nest.

Just as the body of the bird both shapes and inhabits the nest, the house is human-sized.

If it is too small it may put the mind in a shell.

But if it is too large, it oddly replaces the body, because while its half-acre rooms and aggressive facade might inflate its occupant’s standing, they also render his body a pathetic miniature when set against their proportions.

A horse enters a stone barn through the man-door. Wild turkeys, half a dozen, heave themselves into the tops of tall trees.

“there is Being”

I identified wild ginger on a hike the other day–Sunday–and I’m still feeling glad. When I was a child, there was almost no sense in which a particular species existed in reality: One could read about anything, but having an encounter, even with an earthworm, seemed somehow impossible–not in the sense of being impractical, but just on an unreal plane, like fairies. Now I am learning a few names, a few forms, and it opens a universe of possible and immanent meetings–suddenly, quietly, something is there. It is a thrill.

Wild ginger produces its blossom right down on the forest floor–this one was concealed under leaves–because its pollinator is a crawling beetle, not a flying bee or moth. The flower is pale red and looks as durable as a helmet.

A type of balance

Plants make houses for ants inside special chamberlike leaves, and then ants build up detritus inside the houses, and the plants grow roots through the ant duff so they can help themselves to nutrients. “In effect, the ants are paying rent in return for a place to live.”