The Fallacy of the Atomic Clock

Steadily unfolding a
Swan takes forever.
But that time is not quantum
Or atomic.
You can’t divide it into even segments
Like slices of bread or teaspoons of vanilla.
Time jerks to a stop then lurches forward;
As if everything were connected with rubber bands
And pulled from the front by a distracted child.
Yet, after years of mastery, a crisp white square
Of paper can be folded into a bird.
The steady unfolding takes forever.
The steady unfolding of an origami
Swan takes no time at all.

Leaving for Westport

Somehow you knew you would end up here
As you slipped past
All that gray water
And hesitated just above the Columbia River
Which may have been a good turning point.

But you passed through all of the
Overhanging vegetation
Darting among other silver bodies
And passing through still pools
Between jaws with rows of angular,
Jagged teeth.
Until a clock inside of you turned
You finned through white water
Releasing roe, then hesitating
One moment longer
Until black rounded stones
Began to nestle against your silver flanks
And air and rain and sand
Entered your gills
And I came along to
Marvel at that perfect fit
Between volcanic rock
And flesh.

An Anatomy of the Heart

I woke in the last
dark hour,
climbed over you and
turned to bend down
and kiss your cheek one last
time goodbye.


you smiled and moaned back a
goodbye as I slipped out
with my duffel to drive north
while nimbostratus slid over the sky
sealing it shut like pine tongue moving
down a dado groove
leaving only wetness and rain.


I returned to an echoing,
cold house with thousands
of words looking up from the page
and people staring back at the
burned look and pallor
of the disquiet


I hitched forward
to my completion
as the world halted
and the last drops of water
fell on the wheel
ceasing the perpetual grind
leaving hulls and germ
trapped between massive weights


There are only four minutes
for paddles to be retrieved
and anxious looks exchanged
and capacitors to fill.
Bystanders watch, listening to the
high whine then shriek of the
ready buzzer as hands
are lowered to chest
to deliver the great shock
of life.

The Himalaya

By now the summer has
Pushed the himalayas back
the thorns to brown
the leaves to dustiness
And everything else
mustered into the fruit.

Summer’s hand is gentle;
how it massages bramble
in its soft flesh palm
next to lifeline,
Adroitly working
even as those first low
clouds breach the horizon
to sweep in a whisper
of something else
Pleading for you
not to reach an arm in
or try to sidestep
between the canes
Like a legend passing
into another season.

Continuing the Math

On the row and column ledger
All the positive and negative
sums of months
The Broccoli and motor oil
that combine to make

I stand on the side walk
after a night of pacing
sending the furniture crashing
down to the floor next to my feet
Breathing heavily with fingers
fast running through furrows in my
Hair, my forehead.
Now, after that night
With a cup of orange juice
and snow falling
all the wrenched fillaments in
my heart smooth
but not so much that
I can’t still feel the braille.
Looking at my hand
Running my index finger over
the palm, carrying the nine
I can’t figure it
The math still eludes me.