A Dancer from Cathay

In the dimly lit pub
she dances barefoot
the bells on her ankles

She says she comes
from the far-flung East
in that smooth, rolling tongue
of the southern hills

Yet the men pretend
not to know

And the barkeep’s daughter —

She smiles dreamily
as she washes
their empty steins


Roses Behind Closed Eyes


You ask me to tell you of the roses in my garden
Instead of colors or the sunlight
I ask you to close your eyes so I can whisper
Of the heady scent that lines my driveway
The crunch of gravel the only sound
As petals brush across bare shoulders
You ask me to tell you of the roses in my garden;
They’ve overgrown like a runaway dream.

Red Wagon

Old Wooden Wheel

The rusted red wagon
Anchored by granddad on the porch
Once roamed the seas
With little boys battling Midway
And in royal gold filigree
Pulled Ms. Queen the border collie
On bumpy London cobblestones
It cradled the sod for mom’s petunias
And spilled with cloying sweetness —
A childhood Garden of Babylon.

Pretty Bow

If I tied a string to my wrist
Weighed down by a silver charm
And cast off the other end into the ocean
Would I be robbed by a dolphin’s nosy poke
Or tango with the eight arms of a great octopus?
Would I be nibbled at by the lionfish
Or find myself wedged between the pink polyps of coral?
I throw my lure and three vibration afterwards, pull.
Out of the ocean rises a clam’s shell, knotted in a pretty bow:

The mermaids have good taste.

Literary Appetite

My favorite thirst is the thirst for words
A turn of phrase as succulent as a peach
An image, silk threads glistening in a tapestry
A story on feathered wings and flight for the mind
To be hungry and to be fed;
There is no greater joy