January 2021

From Surviving to Thriving


He is effortlessly himself

Light blue eyes

And a messy ginger beard

His chest hair creeps

Above his white tee shirt

And I am left dizzy 

With the caress of my waist

We kiss among August fireflies

We laugh so hard over coffee

And when I’m in his arms

He smells like bonfires and sawdust

Like forests and home. 

Artistic perfectionism

Let me start an art of presence: What’s right in front of me?

Grassy soaked puddles reflect bare trees, interrupted as I slosh through in my black rain boots. Brown dead leaves on the ground, coyote tracks in the snow, and two deer in the distance I almost missed with my head down 

writing this. 

there is a path, a longer way, and I take it, to think more on the futility of art to make you feel better. It is an addiction that doesn’t feed unless it is the art of enjoying the show, joining in, documenting the present. The art of enhancement, at least for me.

So much time and effort to escape the moments of my life.

The grey still pond. The patchy snow. The red Chevy pick-up juxtaposed with the dull-hued grasses. The old farm machinery on the horizon.

Let me use my genuine voice. Let me see things as they are. Let me enjoy myself, creating.

A grey ambiance

Blurry winter sun

Lavender and yellow sky

A grey ambiance

Light orange mushroom

On a log that is the den

For creatures unknown

A peeling birch tree

One gunshot far away

The crunching of leaves

Black cherry towers

So heavy, tall, and dark

The creaking of pines

November Morning

Bluejay lands on branch

Chickadees eat the ragweed

Sky is a pale grey

Pinetrees reach toward the sun

Needles cover the earth below

Dark green boughs; still, cold air

At home with the land

A red tail hawk flies overhead

I sing to myself. 



I sit at the fire and see the hills of my home. Or rather, not my home, for they belong only to our eyes (as much as anything can belong to anyone). But I’m beside the point which is about when I look at those hills. I think about the haphazard crossings of other lives with mine. I think about the reflection of the trees on the pond. There’s a row of pines and red berries on branches. This is my home. I think that I’ll look at these same hills when I’m dying. But mostly, I think about chickens. 


Chickens in the cold, pecking, fretting, and groaning. Chickens running and tottering, flapping their small wings. Chickens huddled in the shed, making their comforting sounds. Chickens’ eyes get heavy as they fall asleep with the warmth of their sisters. Thinking of them, I won’t have nightmares tonight. 


But often I do have nightmares. Looking at the yellow and grey evening sky, I think how chickens, sadly, do die. A mink’s massacre…a kindness after injuries…Accidents. “This is why I’m not ready to have a child,” I say over breakfast. But I accidentally became a chicken mother. 


If I told you to picture a bird, I bet you would not think of a chicken. Chickens are seen as commodities, not animals. Chickens, in truth are thinking, feeling beings. They can remember and tell apart over a hundred different chickens. They have social hierarchies and close friends. They solve problems. They feel happiness, frustration, and grief. Chickens are people. We are chickens in other forms.


Six remain this morning. 

I swear their eyes got wider. 

Some have blood on them.

Layered cream feathers. 

Hefty yet delicate. 

Red faces, gold eyes. 

In those eye I’ve seen

myself, since they were babies.

They aren’t stupid. 

I think of chickens.

I wonder what it’s like

inside their minds.

I cry for the flock.

How they clung to the bodies.

(How they search and call for each other, still.)

All we can do now is heal.


I sit at the fire again, feeling cold. The cherry trees stand out on the skyline, stretching towards the long cloud, silhouetted by the white hills. When things go wrong, we must come together. We are creatures of instinct. If we cannot do this, the hurt is deep. I’ve known that hurt. I belong now. I belong to the forest, the hills, the garden, my rabbits, the deer, the grass carp and largemouth bass. I belong to the cherry trees, the ducks, the chickadees, the harriers, the swallows, the coyotes howling in the distance, the fox yipping. I belong to the grove of pine trees. I belong in the woods, in the pine grove, in the lake, warm in my bed, and by the fire. I belong with the chickens. When bad things happen, we are drawn together, huddling to stay warm. We tend to our flock. 

When you love, life is brutal. When life is brutal, you must love. 

The stratosphere breaks

Light and airy thoughts

Sky cracks of yellow, white, and orange

Brilliant sun through slate lavender clouds

Blush orange and cream horizon

Steel blue shapes, moody

Drifting whisps

Dusty rays of light descend

Ink on my cold hands

I long for community

And fear others humans

Navy hills loom

A pheasant thumps her wings

And disappears into the pines

Four crows fly overheard

Talking to one another

Humans belong to the land

Humans belong to the sky

And I have a clear vision of myself

(Writer, artist, healer, builder, animal) 

Then the stratosphere breaks

Revealing baby blue. 


My pale naked form

In the white window light

It’s Christmas and it’s snowing

Thick, warm air radiates

My walls are baby blue

My angled ceiling is larch wood

My blankets are soft fleece

I begin my reconnaissance

Of belly fat and cellulite

Of unruly dark hairs that poke out

Of the scars on my thighs

Whose origin I’m ashamed to recall

Of so called

Hip dips

But this time I halt

These reprimands are just habitual

Perhaps, maybe, bear with me….

My body is sacred

Male, female,

Or person on a journey

To be as I am, terrifying

But worth it

Just like my ancestors

I take this awkward, two-legged form

To the animals, we probably all look mostly the same

The ancient/Celtic wisdom before Rome

That we are creatures of earth

The queer realization

That we are moldable clay

With solid frames

Our bones outlast us

This once horrified me

I read of a lesbian feminist

Who said we may parade as men

With privilege

But the archaeologists 

Will know the truth

This is absurd

But made me feel trapped

I dreamt of sanding  down my hip bones

Was there a way?

I was a frankenstein monster in my mind

Where is the border between gender affirmation

And endless dysmorphic struggle? 

I would transition, and still not feel alright

Testosterone gave me

The gift of my light beard

Fashioned me a baritone

Made me able to exist

Estrogen gives me

A shape and a softness

I now cherish

In which I feel at home, for now.

My pale naked form 

In the white winter window light

The expansive air

I breathe in deeply 

My own body

With no judgement

Just love

As a landscape

The Good parts

You and I in tiny blue camp chairs

Under a tarp in

The pouring rain

Making up a fake comedy show

And laughing

Our asses off

Sleeping in the RV

The sound of the river and mooing cows

When I rode a tube in the rapids

And almost got sucked under 

a fallen tree

The first time we were really alone

You went to undo my jeans

To find I had tied them

With a knotted string

And you laughed

Because it was something

You would also do

We saw dolphins

We saw owls

We made our own light shows

And watched Star Trek in bed

When you had chest surgery

And insisted on

Watching “I Love Lucy”

In the hotel room

Until 5 am

And I let you

In the mornings

When you demand

“Where is my coffee, boy?”

And we always laugh

We always laugh

In the good parts

Those fucking flags

-January 6th, 2021 

Those fucking flags

Navy with white font

Make me nauseous 

As we pass them 

On the country roads

That lead to our 

Hidden paradise

I counted four today

When we went to the

Feed store

Those fucking flags

The yellow ones

With the snake

The confederate

What are they thinking, tonight?

Should I be preparing?

I suppose gun shots are normal out here

But I can’t get used to them

Yesterday I made eye contact

With a man my age

With a sticker

On his pickup truck

And when will the neighbors

Know who we are?

Can we keep them

From finding out?

I met Mike

He wants to be your buddy

He wants you to join his gun club

(We have no guns)

In my purple plaid, leggings,

hoop earrings and light beard

Who does he think I am?

Or Steve

who shot a deer who limped onto our property

And you helped him carry her away

And said you need to wash the blood

off your truck bed, pronto

and he asked, “the wife?”

And you, not dishonest, said, “yes.”

Do Mike and Steve talk

at the gun club?

Have they seen us holding hands

in your pickup

in the parking lot

of Tractor Supply?

You hug me tight

And say we’ll be just fine

I agree 

that’s a lot of “what ifs” 

This is our land

This is our dream

But those fucking flags

Those fucking flags

Those fucking flags

Two Selves

The child says he will not sleep

Until he writes the perfect poem

The adult says, yes, he will

And turns out the light

The child says he’s afraid of the dark

He’s afraid to sleep

He’s afraid of nightmares

The adult says, “I love you.

You’re safe.

Hold my hand.”