from Letters Under Rock
Blue dawn brightens
Pleiades, icy sun,
And hibiscus like snowflakes
Planted as totem.
Against the drifting fog,
Three guardian trees
Imprint the shrouded mountain.
I vibrate in the unbroken
Starlight as mist,
I am the white-lined sphinx moth with brown head and thorax
flight like a hummingbird. My body too large for its wings.
A placid lake performing a moth ritual each morning
before the night travelers sleep. They tell of a face
in a mollusk shell who shares a story. A prayer written
and burned thanks the night for moon and stars
that navigate my path. I bring healing to others
the moon's halo.
At dusk wildflowers speak of seeds blown to the sea.
A young mother battles cancer for years,
Her sister lives in the rocks by the ocean,
with her baby-
they sit in the sand and
rock to endless rhythm.
A shadow song:
Safe. Small. Nature is large. I want to feel small again.
Stand in the center of the oak tribe,
interconnected trees where roots mirror branches
encircle my feet. Trunks almost hugging,
sun filters golden through green leaves
with yellow edges as season shifts.
I turn, place my hand on the rough trunk,
and ask, How are you?
Well, for the most part I am good, answers the oak.
The Ponderosa pine standing alone nearby
causes some friction through its prickly personality.
Likes to debate the take-over of the forest by squirrels.
Duir arrives to discern the poisonous from the safe.
She implores me to follow her to the silver firs.
Drink this tea of rounded pine needles for inflammation.
Tastes like drinking the forest, windblown and expansive.
Ingest to connect with the nature that you are,
Next, spider wants to spin a home between my ribs,
transitory and pure.
from Moon of Many Petals
1. a cross-country race in which each participant uses a map and compass to navigate between
checkpoints along an unfamiliar course
Mio plants jellyfish borders
on both sides of the stone path. The swallow digs
each hole. Mio drops with a plop
the bulbous membranes. She is numb
to the sting. This marker reminds her
of the chrysalis growing
inside her womb. Mio paints a watercolor
of her lost coastal home. The swallow never tires,
holding the split paper noren outside Mio's
window to block the desert barbed wire view.
craves ramen noodles
in the middle of the night
clams buried deep
Past Life Meeting
reflection of tree trunk
slices through lilies
one younger and taller
Great-Grandmother flowed into the room
with a tender rustle of her feet wearing
large and small peony blossoms kimono
and heavy bamboo pattern obi. Her kimono
crinkled as she resided on the tatami mat
across from my winged soul.
Do you have a message from my granddaughter?
She asks for ancestor protection in her
forced home. Send peace and hope
for her heart to beat as I kick in the middle
of the night inside her. In the relocation
camps no one has secrets anymore. I ask
that you comfort her when I stop breathing.
I turned into a paper kite butterfly and walked
on the palm to the outside of Great-Grandmother's
hand for a long time.
You must go now, she said. In the future,
Granddaughter will not speak
of the camps
or of you.