My poetry chapbook Hound of Heaven was a runner-up for the inaugural Women of Words Award from Southern Hum Press and will be published this fall. Thanks, Southern Hum! I’ll include a purchasing link on this site when the book is out. Below, a sample:
Hound of Heaven
It had been raining days when the voice
asked me to pull over by the river.
Not a voice to be heard but simply a must:
the arm moves with the thought, no word says Move.
The branches cocked like muskets, spearing the sky,
were soaked black, clouds wind-whipped dogs
cringing like cavemen placating
the weather of doom they thought was God.
Is that all I am, that bared animal neck?
I had let the pearls roll from my hands like water,
thinking anything precious could save itself.
I was silently wed to the clever,
dazzled by small explanations.
Still I turned the car, slowed, stood under the fall
of cold silver needles like a sick child praying
be good and it’ll soon be over.
There were the reed-clotted banks and the fists of trees
and in the river only a projected world
no gentler, no more likely to change.
Till a soft wind, someone, ruffled the waters
and the trees cracked apart, lovely as first tears after a death.
Most deadly, most delicate, the jewel-toned frog
like a crown behind museum glass
tempts a perverse grab. Once name it rare,
monkey-mind will do anything for more.
The tiny scarlet body barely breathes,
on limbs like sapphire mined from colonies
to mount in a tourist-dazzling diadem.
Is power in the plough and jungles hacked
and spill of oil like pavement on the sea –
or clinging softly underneath a leaf
as our murky water, crowded air,
flows through the tree frog’s bright defensive skin?
Beauty-mad, how could we not lick and stroke
and die? Soft as a fruit and berry-red,
it tempts us to devour what we love,
to steal the crown of knowing everything.
first published in The New Pantagruel (2005)