Ode to Liszt


Franz plays

and I create. Maybe

it’s not really Franz but

his songs, rhapsodies,

on a CD and I imagine

his hands flying, effortlessly

over ivory. Mine glide so

over canvas, splashed red.

He was under

the influence of a painter

and I

of a pianist.



Windows broken,
door long gone,
yet flowered paper Momma hung
partially clings to the walls.

The banister still stands, winds,
but will never see
Christmas garland again.

There is no bed
in the room where I slept
and ghosts of laughing children
run down the hall.

I flinch at the phantom,
little girl gone,
did she live here at all
or was she a story child,
crayon on manilla paper,
yellowed by time?

First published in Pegasus 2004

I Am


A Mexica warrior woman

bathed brown in sun

obsidian blade in my hand

a cannibal for survival 


a gentle gypsy

dark and sweet,magical

red-dress dancing

and many-bracelets laughing

at shifting shapes in a camp fire’s dying leaps


a hillbilly youth,

innocent as a fawn in dry grass,

peaceful, Earth-knowing

with a Cherokee heart

mountain twang, 


three women wrapped in clay,

bottled in blood and bone,

a collector of skulls,

a counter of hearts

and a giver of grace.