Poisoned Brine

Manchester, Maryland

Manchester, Maryland

I cast the words in your direction,
on barbed hooks, with vile bait.
I waited at the water’s edge,
and I learned a bit too late—
that all I had intended was to
catch and throw you back,
but the words had been so hateful
that the waters had turned black,
and you were dying in the deep,
while I stood with rod and line,
wishing I could reel back
words that poisoned brine.

Half Awake


Where only darkness heard me scream,
in that awkward state, half awake,
I fought to shake a poisoned dream.

So lonely, wretched, was the theme,
I feared that I would simply break
where only darkness heard me scream.

But I was tangled, it would seem,
in the coils of a satin snake.
I fought to shake a poisoned dream.

My senses slow, my pulse extreme,
my hands and lips began to quake,
where only darkness heard me scream.

Frantic, I searched for any beam
of moonlight. For sanity’s sake,
I fought to shake a poisoned dream,

that drowned me in a wicked stream,
and caused my heart and soul to ache.
Where only darkness heard me scream,
I fought to shake a poisoned dream.

Directions to Fitzgerald’s

Bolton Hill, Baltimore

Bolton Hill, Baltimore

Stop a yellow bullet with your bare hand.
Fire it again, and ride it through this land.
Journey up the hill, natives call the Mount.
Pass the obelisk and the sparkling fount.
Near the hub, where the weary will arrive,
the minutes left for you are under five.
Turn to face the way of pale, fading light.
Find Park and see how tender is the night.


Autumn’s Dancer



She found a place in Autumn’s hall
To dance among the leaves,
To pirouette in fading light,
And trump what Fall achieves.

Her variation went unseen,
By all but nature’s eyes;
Yet still she moved adagio
To Autumn’s windy cries.

Her toes were soft on dying grass;
She warmed up Autumn’s air;
And she knew well with every step,
Her soul would be laid bare.

How solemnly she stood at last,
And watched the moon appear.
She had danced on Autumn’s stage,
And silence was her cheer.


Hiding Spaces

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland


I find you in all kinds of places,
Cozy, little, hiding spaces.
Cornered with your little schemes–
Mischief (one of many themes).
Huddled just behind the door—
And only you can say what for.
Under beds, half awake—
Giggling on a daydream break.
Crouched inside your quiet nook–
Lost in pages of a book.
Each spot is chosen well,
But they all have a little tell.
And once found, you seem surprised,
That your secret has been compromised!

You’ll Count the Stars

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Last night you found the moon,
A silver sliver in the sky.
You leaned against the glass,
With wonder in your eye.

Soon you’ll count the stars,
There are more than you can know.
But never let that stop you
From giving it a go!

Note to Josie: Last night, at the balcony door, you were very excited to point out the moon and name it. We are looking forward to showing you the stars when we move to the country!

Dark Design

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

In twilight, tears catch
Dying light—
Rolling, falling,
Into the night.

A day’s regrets,
And lingering pain,
Will make it hard
To sleep again.

In moonlight, thoughts play
In the mind–
Spinning, rushing,
In dark design.

Jumbled plans,
And silent screams,
Comprise your night’s
Most fevered dreams.

In dawn’s light, breath holds
Newer air–
Deeper, longer,
But still unfair.

A day to live–
Another turn–
Unable to cope,
Unable to learn.

Note: The Swedish artist, Nora Rignell, created this sculpture. Nora was a neighbor and pseudo-grandma to Dan in Stockholm. During my first trip to Sweden, Dan and I stayed with her and her husband, Kalle. When she died, her husband wanted us to have this.