you must tuck the fallen leaf into the left cup

of your bra

to record it on your heart.



June Marsh Jive


Bur-reed spike blossom jitterbug

a call-and-response two-step.

Or four-step. Why not?

Pollen stagger and drift,

Garters uncoiled slither

Mojo. Juice. Magnetism.

On the low down. Bluet duet,

marsh wren rattle, willow

wag and waltz, pin-tail tingle.

It’s in the air. Le Jazz Hot.





My mother and I are the same

height, have the same measurements,

same build. I weigh 30 pounds

more. Osteoporosis is hollowing

her bones, like some god preparing

her for flight. Her memory

is hollowing too, leaving a thin

shell of fear over dusty space. When

my mother dies I will come

out of the closet. We both wait,

crouched and wings up as flight

nears. Still, may she not lift off

in the middle of some night

when I am visiting her, shifting

to find a comfortable position on

her damn hide-a-bed. Freedom

shouldn’t feel that guilty.


(Published in Poetry Motel, 2003)





When Grandma stopped going

to church, then stopped

making sense altogether, we

called her eccentric


When my mother drove

until lost in the state she loved,

we called her mixed up.


I wonder what they are

calling me. . .

Sexy, I hope.

Of Wading in Wetlands


I wade knee deep in spring’s watery soup:

loop of duckweed root, loose muck, turtles

sunning on uncertain terrain of muskrat path,

canary grass, mounds of tussock sedge.

Boot toe catches an edge of surprise –

the sudden whinny of wading birds

or hydroplaning ducks. It is work to stay

upright, distracted as I am. I grab one stem

of dogwood by one hand, just a finger

and thumb – one slender wand

sleeved with tender tongues of leaves.

There is no salvation here, no staunch staff

to take my weight; simply a red-barked

branch as centering point that’s worked so far.



The Climate’s Changed Already


I sit on the edge of the bed

wearing as little as possible.

Sometimes even the thought

of movement starts the sweat.

I’m listening to bird bustling

through the double pane

window. Adenoidal robins

and busy body house sparrows

penetrate air that would

be easier to inhale if I had

a coal shovel – breathe one

briquette at a time. After five

days of rain the world is

fifteen shades of green

with a few of those silly

red-leaved flowering crabs

thrown in to show how

humans must fool with things.

Just now I’ll sit and watch

the small locust sprout

lift and twist in air as heavy

as Wagner. Then maybe

I’ll get another cup of tea,

look for something to wear.

Slowly. Very slowly.

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