Lady of the Night


Her face is frost etched glass
floating in the blue-black winds of the night;
She illuminates footsteps hushed
on decayed and dampened leaves,
and grieves for freshly planted souls
who have turned from the light of day.

Her midnight corset is tightly laced
by the dazzling tails of falling stars,
and she moves in phases
with the hushed and tempered grace of a
childless empress wandering forlornly
through the cold shadows of winter’s garden.

She seduces the wolf and the poet with
equal ambivalence, each of whom
compose for her dream-soaked arias
and haunting sonnets that speak of
promises which will not be kept.

She mourns her powdered reflection
as it ripples across frozen lakes, and
hides behind silver-lined clouds when
she can no longer bear the loneliness
of her shadowy journey across granite
mountaintops and sleeping meadows.

At last, in the cool, grey light of morning,
as the sun softly caresses her porcelain
cheek with warm fingers of breaking light,
she sighs but once, then slowly fades into
the rose colored blush of a new day.

Appalachian Woods


Our lives can best be understood
in all the things we craft from wood
The dogwood laid our cabin floor
hung knotted pine our shanty door

Six bowls we carved from fallen maple
a burnt mahogany sets our table
A dozen spoons and forks by hand
hewn perfect fit for every man

And woman, too, with pocket-knives
whittle tokens of our humble lives
Soft wicker thatched this rocking chair
and spruce the toys sprawled everywhere

In wooden homes that we have built
we hang on pegs our history quilts
Each patch a memory lovingly stitched
our purses poor, our lives quite rich

Our beds and wardrobes never falter
we hand-carved those from summer alder
Our coffins, too, of stout mesquite
for when our journey is complete

In wood we find our heart’s desire
or pain if come the wayward fire
And even so, most grievous sin
not to build from wood again

So now you better understand
how we live upon this land
Within the forest, and it in us
in God we hope, in wood we trust


Snippets of stolen conversations that we weave together,
as we wind our way through the crowded boardwalk;
tattered threads woven in a story quilt warming us with
unfinished possibilities.
“And then she laughed so hard her spit hit my face,”
floats lazily by on air scented with ocean spray and
tilapia fillets drying in the summer sun.
Must have been hilarious and we can imagine his astonishment and
hurt as he wipes his face. Our smiles widen.
“But I gave him twenty dollars and he simply disappeared,”
offered by the descending clipping of heels upon the faded wooden planks.
What an inexpensive grift that must have been!
Did he take the twenty straight to the bar,
or perhaps he died that very night before he could return her call?
A thousand alternate endings.
“The doctor gave me six months, and that was a year ago!” Small
victory if he only missed it by a few months here or there.
Sadness descends, but we keep on walking, our ears fishing for a more
uplifting contribution.
“…it’s either me or her…but not both!” and we look at each other knowingly
…a snippet stolen from our own story just two weeks earlier.
I am suddenly deaf and no longer amused,
and our hands release
as the cold waves crash into the supportive pilings.