Willamette (A Dish of Apples)

“The forest edge is a few hundred yards away from the village, past two wooden crosses wreathed with herbs and rowan. Deer, lynx and boar live here, beavers and wolves and—further south—a few bison. I am sitting on a bench with my back against one of the houses, at the end of a summer day,Continue reading “Willamette (A Dish of Apples)”

Diamond on a Windowpane

“It is as big and depthless as the sky itself. You can see the curve of the earth on its surface as it stretches away for miles to the far shore. Sunset has turned the water to the color of unripe peaches. There’s no wind. Sandbars and wooded islands stand on their exact reflections. TheContinue reading “Diamond on a Windowpane”

The Remaining World Away

“To live here you should be a friend of rain, and fifty with a bad job on the freights, knowing the freeway soon will siphon the remaining world away and you can die unseen among your photos— swimmers laughing but the day remembered cold.” —Richard Hugo, from “What the Brand New Freeway Won’t Go By,”Continue reading “The Remaining World Away”

Jetty (I Am Home)

BRIGHT AND EARLY Out of a bad dream’s Smoldering ruins, A flight of crows’ Bloodied and dripping wings Soared high over me This morning Like flying scissors Snipping at threads, Making my puppet head Jerk sideways, My feet jitterbug On the patch of ice in the yard. —Charles Simic, from Master of Disguises (Houghton Mifflin,Continue reading “Jetty (I Am Home)”

Written in the Air

LAST DAYS OF WINTER The storks in the ice on the window panes have blown to the riverbanks where a Dalmatian bounds, towing daylight with its dropped leash. All the poems of black coats and wool scarves on an evening bus are transpiring from their sweetening musk into the prose of bare hands. At last,Continue reading “Written in the Air”


Driving, for most of us, is what psychologists call an ‘overlearned’ activity. It is something we’re so well practiced at that we’re able to do it without much conscious thought. That makes life easier, and it’s how we become good at things. Think of an expert tennis player. A serve is a complex maneuver withContinue reading “Automatized”

Interiors (I)

A recent spell of illness and days of heavy rainstorms, strong even for the rain-friendly Pacific Northwest, have lately kept me indoors and looking inward. Contending with this imposed domesticity are the ways we inhabit, through imagination, multiple places simultaneously. And it’s with this compressed vision that I attempt something different with a new series,Continue reading “Interiors (I)”

Bluegrass Family Band

On the way home from a recent trip to the Olympic Peninsula, I stopped off for a stroll through historic Poulsbo, where I came across this bluegrass family band. They played well, but weren’t too lively. I kept waiting for even a toe tap, but not many came. But as I sat and listened, IContinue reading “Bluegrass Family Band”