Come, Be a Body

"...poems of so precisely a human scale that they feel spoken quietly by a friend over coffee. Or walking at dusk. Or sitting on the creek's edge. And while that friend yearns for understanding, ultimately it submits to mystery." -- Ross Gay

from the new collection:


           for my mother, Anne Rosemary

Floatwalking home

early June rain

muskywetearth aroma​

voice lost

music-making done but

music still ringing

in my ears when

a new smell greets my nose

familiar, full, sweet.

Eyes follow scent, up-up

to shiny wet leaves,

full white blossoms.

Hello, Magnolia.

I knew it was you before I saw you,

thought, Maybe Magnolia

recognizes me too.

By my own olfactory

signature, part smoke-sweat,

part lime-milk?

Or a particular wave of heat?

Perhaps, a secret shimmer

that only tree can see?

My mother, a lover

of lemon balm, basil,

sweet annie, rosemary,

her fingers crushed

each leaf for me,

releasing a codex

of complex fragrance

just below my nose.

But not for pleasure alone.

For the knowing, too:

a way to find friends

in hollowed out spaces.

And now—for her—nothing.

No tang of lemon balm,

no sharp oregano.

No stink of gasoline

to raise a fumey

finger of alarm.

If blind, then Braille.

Fingertips would trans-

late dot to thought,

the hill and valley

of a lover's face

to heft and shadow.

If deaf, hands could sign,

a manual ballet of meaning,

poetry, literally, in motion.

But who can report

on the air, lilac-thick,

and who translate

this language lost:

smoke, moss, river, pain?

How will we ever know each other


Cover art by Elizabeth Murphy of Dos Madres Pres

To order, visit your local independent bookstore, Dos Madres Press, or contact the author at [email protected]