Sometimes I Paint

July 1st, 2018

A stormy Sunday morning–in all the possible ways a Sunday summer morning in July can storm. But the heat has broken and the wind is a welcome thing.  As is the news that Prolific Press will be publishing my chapbook, Elemental, a set of 27 poems written to the Periodic table.  Also, Origami Poetry Project is going to publish a mini-chapbook of six poems from my chapbook in progress, A Field Guide to Here.

I was able to paint last weekend (painting above), and stealing from Van Gogh, I painted these spring into summer trees.

And now the sun is finding every rain-drenched surface. And now the curb is the bank to the kind of rainy summer river I remember damming and floating twig boats on in my childhood.

So, a childhood poem. A summer memory. Which means a road-trip and a.m. radio and the dog asleep in the foot well at my feet.


One of the things I remember my mother saying on a road-trip


If a police officer stops, we don’t know this man.  We broke down

a ways back and he was kind enough to give us a ride.


My father has left the trunk open, after getting the hatchet.

He’s chopping down the railroad crossing sign,

the pale yellow one with the glass beads that hold the light.


The rhythm of his hatchet, the crickets keeping time.

My brother’s reading an Archie comic,

the dog, sleeping in the foot-well, at my feet.

I’ve got the window rolled down, smell

the sun in the grass, watch the heat dance on the blacktop, wish

I could dance like that.  An orange bird flits in the ditch, a tanager

my mother tells me.


I can see in the side-view mirror

that my mother’s upper lip is sweating, her freckles glisten.

I connect them, in my mind, make a small dipper

from her lip to her chin to her cheek.  Just as I connect my father

to the hatchet, to the sound of it biting into the old wood

to this road, and all the ones like it, lined with telephone poles

their wires swinging  red-winged black birds.
My mother’s auburn hair

is tied up with a scarf, her shoulders, bare.

I’d give anything to rest my head on one, count

the seconds between each breath,

imagine I’m the air, this sweet summer air

that fills her lungs, imagine

I’m something too

worth stealing.

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