Welcome to The Archives. Here reside poems that I have been lucky and blessed enough to have published elsewhere as noted. As poems are accepted, I will note those forthcoming publications. Please support the literary arts by subscribing to old-fashioned print magazines and following poetry on line.


Forthcoming: poetry in Stand Magazine (2020) and in High Plains Register (2019); prose poem in Artists Field Guide to Yellowstone from Trinity University Press (2019)


The Figure on the Bus

For Leslie Smith, who writes beautiful songs


I used to be that figure on the bus,

the one who hated the four rides

two each way each work-a-day day


of the year. Now I have been turned

into The Mom, the one who is expected

to hand out compliments, and, as necessary,


The Look. Often the same young woman

sits beside me. Buds to ears, she sings perhaps

only for herself, but I like to think for all of us,


a beautiful voice making me feel not so old,

or perhaps, because like the driver who takes

his time to close the doors behind us, we are tired


of the slow rush of things, and so little more than

the words hello goodbye hello can lift us both

dawn and dusk. We lean into what ordinary grace


we find: a cityscape streaked and smudged,

bus windows fractaled by sleet and rain, the flash,

the pulse of artificial lights carrying us home;


the haggard faced young man who never gets on

or off; those two hatless girls shouldered together

whispering into book bags; all of us without name


tags or the address cards parents once pinned to

our jackets because they knew we would be lost.

Is it enough now that I watch out for all of them?


--Appeared in Stand magazine, volume 16(2) 2018


The White Horse


If the white horse had arrived one moment sooner, one moment later, it would have arisen just the same—left flank, head, shoulders and mane, single eyed, unblemished or blemished—and just the same, if it had been another horse altogether, say, appaloosa gray, galloping to beat the thunderheads transforming the stubborn day, here on the Wind River Indian Reservation, here at this very corner, here on this very bridge, here in Wyoming, here, where what we say and think on any particular 65-mile-per-hour highway—that, of course, we drive faster than the posted limit—the painted lines retracting one no-account place from the next, and it would not have mattered, whether the white horse’s quick-twitch body had swept out of the willow bottom, whether its white hide had not been flayed to the car’s grill or across the asphalt’s hard canvas, whether the Shoshones chasing the white horse had been drinking or not, this slow suddenness stopping us would not have mattered—akin as it is to counting coup, loss and death—and still.

*

What it is that cannot be said about the one-way mirror that lies between you and the reservation when you report the accident: that you looked into the glass with just the right angle and saw moments being passed like notes between classmates who once threw darts at your adolescent and pimpled face, at what was unfashionable about your dress, hem safety-pinned or scotch-taped, making you wish you were someone somewhere else, instead you were white-skinned and extraneous here as well—the language being spoken though the words sounded the same, that when later you asked for it, the report, as nonexistent as the BIA cop who'd investigated the scene and carefully filled a yellow ruled legal pad with names and addresses of victims, now nowhere to be found, the cop transferred out of state, that when asked to, you believed the Indians never drunk, the horses harnessed to a 4 am dream, their now-clumsy carcasses never dragged through the tactless grass, and the whole incident confused with an emergency videoed for TV.

--Appeared in Northern Lights, 1989