Rambling in a Time of Plague
I roam the hills
behind our Catskills Home,
find autumn plants
I’ve long ignored,
memorize their names—
nodding ladies’ tresses
hoary mountain mint—
sacred, like a Mass, or museum,
or the tiny wooden church
in Brittany where I felt
God’s presence, once.
Fifty years later, I returned.
It was made of stone.
Epiphany by a Small Cascade
You are not
an active volcano,
the ring of fire
of a tectonic plate.
You are not
as the surface of the sun:
not magma, not lava.
Yours is not
the power of
a mighty river.
No, your body is
a quiet place to rest,
a mountain waterfall
over ancient rock.
The Japanese Maple
In last night’s fire opal dream, I saw
the Japanese maple you nurtured from
a tiny being to one three times your size.
This afternoon, I noticed sitting there
an Eastern Meadowlark. Mornings I feel
like a pearl diver, discovering how
our maple tree will appear today.
In Autumn, it bursts into orange
like an earthquake’s aura.
In winter, it hides under the snow
like a galleon. Hummingbirds hover
in spring around it. And in summer
I sense from the window
a glow akin to the green of olivine.
The maple tree out our window
could be anywhere, but it’s chosen here:
our hamlet on a hill above
a creek flowing through mountains
that began life as a river delta
three hundred fifty million years ago.
BIO: I am the editor of Here: Poems for the Planet (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), and the author of two poetry collections: Proof (Spuyten Duyvil Press 2012), a University of Wisconsin Press prizes finalist, and The Fifth Generation (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016), and three chapbooks, and translated into French Lee Slonimsky’s sonnet collection, Pythagoras in Love/Pythagore, Amoureux, (Folded Word Press, 2016). My poems appear or are forthcoming in, among others, 32 Poems, American Religion (IU Press), Baltimore Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Colorado Review, and Rattle, and in several anthologies. My new collection was a finalist for the 2022 Cider Press Editors’ Book Prize and the 2023 Marsh Hawk Press Prize. I live with my husband in New York City and in the Catskill Forest Preserve.