“Mud Season” in Flyway

My love for winter expires in March. (Icicles twice my height shutter my window right now + 8″ snow is scheduled for this afternoon.)

So here’s a poem about beloved mud season, which won’t be for a while here in Minnesota. Just holding out for spring ephemerals, open water, and dirt.

This poem was heavily influenced by Elis Regina singing Águas de Março on repeat for days (é a lama, é a lama).

Read the poem in Flyway.

Two poems in Canary

Read “Impenetrable” and “Inversion,” two of my poems about climate change, in the environmental journal Canary.

The last few winters I lived in upstate New York were eerie. One February, we opened our windows to beat back heat, and still I couldn’t sleep. There was something about that windy, too-warm weather that felt untouchable, like I couldn’t affect it, out of my hands. Just how things are now. The poem I wrote, “Inversion,” tries to call out that strange, unjustified resignation of agency I felt in the face of what we’ve made.

That same winter, I read about these reindeer in Siberia unable to eat enough to survive because warming, weirding temperatures have left the lichen they rely on trapped beneath far more ice and snow than usual. Over 80,000 have died in the last 10 years. Here’s the photo of frozen reindeer that I couldn’t stop thinking about and wrote about in “Impenetrable”:

University-of-Lapland-Reindeer.jpegPhoto by Roma Serotetto, University of Lapland.

I’ve been unsure how to write about climate change. But Kathleen Dean Moore and Scott Slovic’s Call to Writers follows me to every page. Writing about wildlife in a far-away place or the way a crocus blooms too soon might seem too removed, too small respectively. What about the inequitable human costs? What about moving beyond just grief and witness? I’ll keep trying.

“Movements” in Ecotone

Cover of Ecotone "The Craft Issue"I am so honored to be in Ecotone‘s Craft Issue, hot off the letterpress. Please buy a copy, subscribe, or have your library subscribe because it’s wonderful. The issue features Martha Park’s illustrated “Portrait of a Vacant Lot,” Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s reflections on color with embroidery by Humayrah Poppins, and my humble lyric essay about cello lessons, among other wonders.

Not last spring, but the spring before last, I took up cello lessons. I promptly fell in love with my teacher and her way of teaching. She gave me charming metaphors to help me visualize myself moving in the right ways. They worked, magically.

I also fell in love with a recording of Jacqueline du Pre playing Elgar’s cello concerto. She moved me, the images my teacher gave me moved me, and I moved with my cello in hopes that we might play something beautiful eventually. But to be honest, I also fell in love with beginning: being an amateur discovering the simplest things, attempting and hoping and imagining myself into something new. Even playing one right note thrilled me.

My essay troubles the ease of the maxim to visualize success. The body and the mind do not always match. But how beautiful I find our legacies of trying. How inspiring we can be to each other even so.

“Recovering” in The Hopper


Once, I lived alone in a house by the sea for free. I thought the place was haunted in a good way. Deer in the meadow visited often. I couldn’t drink the water so I didn’t think much of the well, until I found out it was uncovered. I found out because a deer fell in.

“Recovering” dreams an ending for that doe.

I’m in love with The Hopper. A talented group publishes beautiful pieces, all with an ecological focus. I hope you get lost in their archives and check back often.

Image: Deer in the Forest I | Franz Marc | {PD-US}

“Knot” in Camas

Yesterday, this arrived in the mail:

2015-12-19 15.36.05

Camas is a beautiful journal out of the University of Montana. They represent, to me, the intersection of ecology and art, which is where I always want to be in poetry. Their Winter 2015 issue is themed around movement.

Anyway, tucked between a David James Duncan story and a photo by Julie Biando Edwards, you’ll find a poem of mine. “Knot” is about the movement of energy and matter through time and about different kinds of knots (tangles, trees, and wedding rings).

I’m flying to the midwest today, and I’ll gladly bring this gorgeous journal with me to read while I’m moving through the air toward home.

“What I Kept to Myself” featured on Pacifica Literary Review

ISS023-E-32397_lrgA year ago I wrote a poem which is actually a cautionary tale about what happens when you hold in your sneezes (or your secrets), and you think you’re in control. It’s also about oil spills. And dishonesty.

Pacifica Literary Review is a beautiful new literary journal out of Seattle. I’m really thrilled to have “What I Kept to Myself” live on their page today, and in the archives for always. 

(Thanks NASA for this image.)