•December 4, 2020 • Comments Off on


all within this envelope of atmosphere we teem

contained terraria, terrestrial and saturate as sea

•December 1, 2020 • Comments Off on

as the birds fail

they plummet up

      to earth

A Small Decline

•December 1, 2020 • Comments Off on A Small Decline

Sit beside me on the humped couch I am

less of what I was and more, am

probing for the tooth

that went oh years ago

beneath the pillow


the rain moves off

•April 5, 2018 • Comments Off on the rain moves off

a simple meal of haddock
wild rice mounded on a blue plate
sesame seeds and salt on the palm
the fruit of grasses and grain fields
a fork laid out, the tongue loosed
from prayer into appetite

Writing practice starts

•April 5, 2018 • Comments Off on Writing practice starts

there was a time when my father fancied a new stethoscope and eased it from the packaging cradling the diaphragm breathing the rubber perfume until it warmed almost to the temperature of my mother’s skin the tubing bland and unassuming as a mud snake

in the corner cupboard a white bowl full of shadow and dirt and withering small potatoes arms like weak tentacles reaching out toward the others’ dimpled bodies and heft brought out in to the light they look cold as if the dark had been a better womb the shoots chitter and catch at a neighbor as I try to separate them out for planting


•February 7, 2016 • Comments Off on

And we begin it, our story, with where we’re from: the civilized side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the small farming-built town of Mossyrock, Oregon, the yellow trailer in the Cedar River Trailer Park with a pair of Huskies sweating in the summer heat. We are also our mother’s generous hips, our cousin’s defensive stance because he stopped growing at five feet tall. I know the circle drive outside the green door of my high school days in a way I won’t know this short blind driveway until I leave it for good.

Byatt on Byatt [Excerpt from an interview by Sam Leith, The Guardian.]

•February 6, 2016 • Comments Off on Byatt on Byatt [Excerpt from an interview by Sam Leith, The Guardian.]

“The minds of stone lovers had colonised stones as lichens cling to them with golden or grey-green florid stains. The human world of stones is caught in organic metaphors like flies in amber. Words came from flesh and hair and plants. Reniform, mammilated, botryoidal, dendrite, haematite. Carnelian is from carnal, from flesh. Serpentine and lizardite are stone reptiles; phyllite is leafy-green. The earth itself is made in part of bones, shells and diatoms. Ines was returning to it in a form quite different from her mother’s fiery ash and bonemeal. She preferred the parts of her body that were now volcanic glasses, not bony chalk. Chabazite, from the Greek for hailstones, obsidian, which, like analcime and garnet, has the perfect icositetrahedral shape.”

This is from my story “A Stone Woman”, a fairy tale about a woman who is turned into stone – or into many kinds of stone. The stone is a metaphor for grief and for ageing and stiffening. We are always being told language is inadequate to describe things. I think it is endlessly inventive if we pay it attention. I love all the buried metaphors in the stone-names. Thinking and writing are making connections. I once gave a reading in a university where a student said self-righteously “You used a word I didn’t know in that reading. Don’t you think that was elitist of you?” I replied that if I were her I should have rushed to the dictionary in glee and delight.

•February 4, 2016 • Comments Off on

It’s as much about this. The moments spent leaning against the bole of a pine, 12 feet above the ground, on a plank platform. The tree creaking a lullaby. The hours curled on the clover sweet grass. The day so still. What green means seeping slowly into the skin to define grass.

•February 2, 2016 • Comments Off on

At the low end of the field runs a creek flickering in and out of tree shadows, the color of steeped tea. I test the tension of an eddy and it dimples like fabric; I slide a hand into its cold glass glove and begin running my fingers over slick stones. The intent is to flip the right rock to send a crayfish scuttling out of its shelter in a small cyclone of silt. But even release does not disturb her.

Night Migration

•November 10, 2015 • Comments Off on Night Migration

There is a black shape, a dark drifting thing that haunts my vision. Not amorphous but solid. Though I know it is a thing of rods and cones, an anomaly of the eye, it has as much substance as the holly tree pressed against the kitchen window. It will not come when I call it but shies always to the side. This morning I folded down to slip on a shoe and found a small pin feather stuck to my ankle. Another hooked and clung to the smallest finger on my left hand. What have I eaten in my sleep: was it sweet and tender or did it need gnaw and render by my canines? It may be a remnant of night migration, the body making manifest a path dreamt between the lower atmosphere and God. But I think the shadow has something to do with it. Why else the furtiveness?