On Hiking In Northern Washington

The Nooksack bends around my
dream to swallow nature whole
An asphalt life is drowned by
falls sourced from a glacier’s shoal

Above me trees wearing sleeves
greet the Sun, the stars, the dew
The mossy pines disbelieve
the river’s thund’rous adieu

Each prone stone I chance to meet
quenches a September thirst—
coaxing hands, a trance complete,
a plump boysenberry burst

The moths of fright take flight
the weight of my rucksack wends
a green appetite snakes right,
the way the Nooksack bends

My first try at an ae freislighe for the YeahWrite Fiction|Poetry challenge. Read more poems, short stories, and personal essays by clicking the badge.

To the Friend Who Isn’t Reading This

Which person do you need
me to be? The man standing
solid on a sinking pier,
toes in lake, eyes
scanning the surging storm
(even the elms are hellbent
to run the other way).
We are all trees
tethered to this moment
and to the next and the next.

Or do you need the woman
who escaped the storm
by diving through it? Lakes
always mimic what they see.
She is the reason the pier
is flagging to hold us up,
to keep us dry, to allow us
to walk on opalescent water
like Jesus bugs or distrust or
skiers framed in life jackets.

Decide before the fog gathers
between our fingers.

Written for YeahWrite’s Fiction|Poetry challenge. Click the badge to read other stories and poems. Early draft. Constructive criticism welcome.


One sequin, Venus, stitched to recent night
A mourning dove on gnarly sycamore
The glint of Sun off failing satellite
Gray marble rolled across an onyx floor
My hope you travel safely home once more
The universe, our humble patch of yard
Til your return it’s here I will stand guard

Early draft of a rime royal for YeahWrite. Constructive criticism welcomed. To read other fiction and poetry, click the badge above.

Ceremony Enough

the grooms danced with their fingers
pointed toward each other

the emcee, wearing a crimson crown,
talked over the clinking of wine glasses, and

the 90s techno-house music only the gays like
churned for our hips

we’d forgotten how the other looked
tied up in suits and buttoned to the collar

so when friends joked that we were next up
to order creamy invitations, to book a fedora-ed swing band,

to shuttle around town trying samples of lemon cake,
we seriously considered it

but after so many chicken tikka dinners eaten,
seasons of The Simpsons watched,

funerals attended, dishes washed,
and lullabies sung to tabby cats,

we decided life was
ceremony enough

Left To Thieve My Day

When I was 5, I had a long night. I slept through
a fire alarm a whole day Christmas night. I wandered
out of the way to get a hundred years old. Angry,
my mother is a little more than I can afford to pay
for a new job. My father went well as I’d hoped,
and I had to be left

I followed my friends to the show today
but I didn’t want you to be there. Enjoy this game
but it’s hard not to love the original. I hope I can make it
better because I’m not sure I know what I want to be. At midnight,
the moon and I was thinking it would be terrible but it wasn’t
the worst I was just thinking of the night and if it doesn’t work
I will still have the same thing I just thought it would be terrible
but it wasn’t the only thing that you have

Wolves and bats have been there for years and now
they are all about the same way. An owl and I have been pondering
how important is it for us to actually eat food from our land
In the morning? Will try once more to seize that near happy,
tired of thieving my day!

This is a collaborative effort by the Fun With Words class. Each participant used predictive text to finish a prompt I gave them as an exercise on using surprising language.


first let the nacre of that word coat in your throat your throat then throw the stone

lovely in its speckling up to the threshold of your mouth your mouth let it ping off your

uvula clatter the back of teeth an orb in the pinball machine of your body your body

enough with the swallowing the swallowing hook a smile reach this first need out like a

native speaker smooth the stone the stone with your sandpaper tongue remember how

consonants are broad and slender how the Irish skip skip skip the scarp of sentences

yes hope the cello-voiced Inishmaan waiter catches and keeps it in his pocket his pocket


what if we flip this crimson doubt
release each expectation lark
to skies refilled from looming drought
would we still form a question mark

beneath astonished flannel sheets
our viscous whispers drench the dark
forgotten hist’ry made complete
would we still form a question mark

If I’m omega hanging, high,
above the finite point you spark
would I ignite or gratify
would we still form a question mark

(Photo credit: Quintin Gellar/pexels.com)

Writing this kyrielle for YeahWrite. Click the badge above for more poems and stories inspired by prompts.


Can I be your quicksilver—that slick Forever,
that satiny poison you long to have near
but are too afraid to taste?
(Even the shadows under your feet radiate)
And may the line you walk
between the steel pillars of this city,
the threads you lay on gum-speckled sidewalks,
down regretful subway tracks, and over the rocking
boats docked in their places in this universe
be my orbit as well?
(You contain an asteroid cloud; you contain the Sun.)
And if you whisper Yes, Nathan, of course—
do I become comet or moon? Ignited or cratered?
Zooming or quietly watching in the dark
(such sweet poison) the glaciers of our understanding
expand and contract, the oceans swallow and rebuild islands,
the storms spiral and pummel and disintegrate and reemerge
across the geography of Years

Writing for YeahWrite #356. The prompt was using the words radiant, expand, and orbit. Click the badge above for more fantastic poetry and stories.

Amphitrite, The Forgotten Goddess

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 10.15.41 AM

[Image: page 241 of All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Most of the text has been blacked out. The remainder reads:]

The girl waits with her fist
she          the ocean
knows rope and drowned pleasure
her fingers whisk tidepools
her toes wonder how much
is true she simply listens
her bedroom fills with
scallops          whelks
she assumes the morning
will deliver neighbors

This is an erasure poem for Yeah Write’s Challenge #353. Join us by clicking the badge below.

Original Text:

ATLWCS p 241