Our Lady of La Zona Rosa

Like cowhide,
drummed and primed for the sunbeats
down and stationed by
cinder blocks and tarred streets,
the air is pulled tight.

The señora pads there 
among a menagerie of flowers
and then back to her scriptures
where she has been baptizing her self
with a prayer and 
“A Word from the Lord,”

in those holy waters 
since she was a niñita in the concrete
church of La Iglesia de Nuestra Paz. 

When interrupted 
she eyes customers
with a mixture of affection and hesitation,
some hands too careless to appreciate
her makeshift garden. 

She blesses them 
without withholding, 
without requiring justification

and she returns 

to her holy water, every drop
expectation, a tongue of fire.

First published in 2019 Las Positas College literary anthology, Magic Tricks, of Havik

Between Realities


Human stood there: pried, jammed wheedling fingers in the 
crevices because it had been found: the escape, the
distance, the divorce, the ultimate step-through.

The trick, though, is to pretend the door doesn’t exist at all

First published in 2019 issue of The Nassau Review

Salvadoreña, I Think About

her native skin, her eyes like moons
deep brown like the mystery of the
forest. You are here, I say over and 
over to myself  and to her, like a mantra.

My cigar, Hecho A Mano En La Unión El Salvador, reminds me of her. That is
a silly idea but it’s true. I breathe in,
hold, release/exhale. It’s all metaphor.

But it is all real too. The ashes
speak to me, that time is flaking away,
time is winnowing away, eating up
this moment like it eats up this cigar.

I wish that I could retain each molecule, each
drop of sand, each little miracle of space and
reality. But the candle wax drips down its stem,
hardening fast to the increments of time.

First published in 2019 issue of The Nassau Review

We the Madman (a villanelle)

“The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him---you and I.” 
                                                           -Nietzsche, Parable of the Madman

We sought the end of the divine,
gathering to discuss the matter in the square.
We cozened the moment; we knew the time.

The pious continued penitently; all’s fine.
We were whispering, they unaware.
We sought the end of the divine.

Lanterned legions began the climb;
the deed decided as they took the stair.
We cozened the moment; we knew the time.

A madman in our voice, in our mind,
the sun in fury gave a dying glare.
We sought the end of the divine.

“God is dead,” ambled down the line,
and our Mother could only stare.
We cozened the moment; we knew the time.

The day it happened, I stayed behind.
I lied, I told myself I wouldn’t care	when
we sought the end of the divine.
We cozened the moment; we knew the time.

First published in Volume 46, Number 2, Summer 2019 of Time of Singing

Ghost of Spring

Life has grown

Blooming verdure
plasters my vision
and roots make mad
mélange inside me.

The beauty of spring is that
I am ghosted, 
only a minor character 
in the theatrical victory 
of the season, of the revival.

First published in Volume 46, Number 1, Spring 2019 of Time of Singing


As migratory birds escape the chill, 
the denning black bear dreams of flowered spring,
and falling leaves which cultivate the hills
sign to the world of what the winter brings.
The lingering, the wanting for a kiss,
I played the hills when summer was in bloom:
Like Orpheus his maiden not to miss,
Eurydice too quickly to her tomb.
The vernal season skipped away too fast;
what once was warmth has suddenly grown cold.
I knew in frosty heart that love had passed,
for souls and bones and spirits will grow old.
     The migratory birds have flown below,
     yet cardinals contrast the coming snow.

First published in Volume 45, Fall 2018 of Time of Singing

The Teacher Reads a Final Note to His Class

“Tomorrow you will die.
In two days the worms will make their home in your body.
In three days you will be forgotten.
In four days the world will be no more.”

Wide eyes. Wide silence. 
Are they students still? Is there a definite line between one age and another?

“Four days ago the world was nothing.
Three days ago creation burst forth.
Two days ago you were unknown.
Yesterday you were a child.”

Shifting eyes. Shifting confusion.
“Sir, what about today?”

“Today was a part of yesterday.
Today is a part of yesterday.
Today is today.
Today is a part of tomorrow.
Today will be a part of tomorrow.”

Narrowing eyes. Narrowing question.
“What redeems the time?”

         There is a land below the light blue sky,
         Above the deep blue ocean,
         Past the final shore. 
         Corporeal and Ethereal have no meaning there. 

First published in Volume 19, Fall 2017 of glass mountain