Where for Art Thou Mourning Dove

The call of the Mourning Dove
Three times Three times Three times
Then is silent
I listen for its calling to begin
As it does time after time
But now Silence
Just far off rumbling
Of traffic
On El Camino Real

In my craving
To know all of everything
The thoughts and feelings
Even patterns of behavior
Of people I know
I love
Do not know
Only read about
In blurbs of news
From my iPad
And so I do not find it
That in the natural order
Of things
I want to know
The Mourning Dove calls
Three times Three times Three times
Is silent
Then either calls again again again
Or I would guess
Flies away

Halfway to May

It is the middle of April
Nearing the month of
The memory I hold
Has us on the beach
Sand under our bare
Watching the sun descend
Behind the Santa Monica
Clothing all we see
In the glory of

Is the middle of April
Fifty some years have
Michael is gone
My children    themselves
Are grandparents
My Beloved and I
In a place
Michael never visited
Never had been

When April is halfway to
Michael     my childhood
Friend      returns
With sand under our
Bare feet
As we stand watching the sun
Behind the Santa Monica
Clothing all we see
In the glorious colors of

Is There a Poem?

Is there a poem

Hiding in one of my
Is this a memory
Of hearing
In the distance
The Wild Geese
Create     migrating
To their winter

I Love them

Every fall
To see them
To hear their
On the wooden
Outside my bedroom
For them to arrive
With their familiar
As I stood
My head raised to the
My eyes following them
As they flew
One by one
In a straight line
Over the Eucalyptus
The Mountain Ash
Away   away
From my sight

I would call to
Bless you     Bless you
Be safe on your
Wild Geese
Safe on your
While their honking
Grew fainter    fainter
Until the silence of the
Wrapped around me


The Day King Died









It is 7:30 in the evening      a Wednesday

And the children have finished their supper     yes

It is April 4, 1968

The television makes a noise from the den

Behind the laundry room

He and I sit alone at the table

Bones from lamb chops

Splay over the plates

Empty milk-lined glasses

Stand on the landscape of the oilcloth

Like tree stumps in a meadow


I get up from the table finally

I want to wash the dishes

Put the kids to bed

He sits on at the table

Weary from riding to Chicago

On the 6:19

And out to Waukegan again

On the 4:39

And all the things that happened

In between


I carry dirty dishes

Over to the sink

And look out the kitchen window

My neighbor whose name

I can never remember

Stands above his galvanized tin garbage can

Holds a bag of garbage in his arms

Like a baby wrapped in a receiving blanket

And I let the water run

And stare at my neighbor

As tears roll down his face

I am shaking now

And lean on the white porcelain rim

Of the kitchen sink

Because a man whose name I can’t remember



Then my eldest son starts to yell

Words at first I don’t understand

Until a name becomes clear

Martin Luther King Jr.

As he runs back into the kitchen


My knuckles are white

From my grip on the white porcelain rim

Of the kitchen sink

While in my head I hear

A dream explode


Written in 1983, inspired by a Frank O'Hara poem, "The Day Lady Died"

“Feed my Lambs” -JC










My day is almost over

Light lingers on far off


But cannot hold the sun

That moves below the sea’s


Leaves a clue of its descent

In a small pink cloud


Supper comes

When day is closing

Thoughts of those

Who won’t have this


Rise inside my mind

Fill my heart with a living



“Gather ye the harvest”

Of wasted food

Do not throw away

What does not sell

What isn’t ordered

Off a menu

Sold by dates

Not long past

Give to the homeless

To shelters

Where the unwanted


Wasted food     so much


Enough to feed the hungry



Image credit

Miss Mouse







An aura of judgment

Surrounds me

Invades my growing years

Settles into my consciousness

I take it as truth

It is who I become

Hesitant     shy

Afraid to take chances

Holds back     holds back

Cringing at judgmental words

Spoken around family dinner


Between Father and Mother

Words critical of other people

Known     unknown     of me

I live my nickname

Miss Mouse

Hear a voice

Inside myself

Tells me over

Over     over

Don’t try     don’t try

What if you fail

What if you fail


I listen to the voice

Play life safe

Unadventuresome     fearful

Of everything


I blame no one

There is no one to blame

Save my own self



Only remnants of the aura

Remain in my consciousness

Like wisps left from a morning


They pass through my awareness

Are gone


Aura—“a distinctive atmosphere surrounding a given source” –New Merriam-Webster Dictionary

—June 2015


Sister Moon


Tonight a crescent moon

Thin like a strand of silver


Wisps of cloud move around

Her gentle shape

That disappears as a marine




Comes to command the night



Waking in early hours

After midnight

I look for the moon

Look for Orion

Out the bedroom window

Earth’s rotation

Brings them to me

Different hours

Different nights

Orion with reddish mars


Sirius below

Her brilliance shimmering

In the dark


Many times

The moon is come

Is gone

Before I wake

But many times

Its light falls on me

Through the window

Many times

I see the moon

Go down

Behind myaporum

Its face fractured

Like broken glass

By the branches

Made whole again

When it rises



There is an energy

That connects me

To all of them

My spirit sings

In the night

Claims the moon

As sister


Left Out (2015)

circa 1940











Feeling left out

Follows me like a winding

Mountain road

Curves around     around

My childhood years

Into all the chapters

Of adulthood

That come after

It takes root

I feel sure

This discomfort of aloneness

The Thanksgiving Day my father



Father’s place at Grandmother’s table

For Thanksgiving dinner to be served

At one o’clock sharp

Stays empty all through the meal

I have no memory of this Thanksgiving


I am seven years old

Can only now

Imagine what the atmosphere

Feels like surrounding the


Gathered for Thanksgiving dinner

This Thanksgiving Day


No one can know

No one can guess

My father is on a train

He is leaving my mother

Leaving me

The emptiness of feeling left out

Begins this Thanksgiving Day

With only Mother     no father

In my home

A need to have what others have

The same size piece of chocolate


Is born



A school of many years

Is passed

I abandon judgment to these


Opening wide two doors

One to my mind

One to my heart

Nothing that happened

Owns a consequence

Everything evaporated

Into the ethers

Gone     done

I am only the observer


I am free


The Music of Silence


The Ethiopian government bombed a kindergarten in Mekelle, the capitol of Tigray, August 26, 2022.









Is there ever silence in war

How do you find silence

With bombs falling from the sky

There is no silence in gunfire

No silence as tanks and artillery

Rumble through the streets

How could there be

In chaos only noise exists


How can children grow

With no silent midnights to sleep in

Who thinks about children

When planning a war

Who remembers what it feels like to be a child


Oh     if I could

I would buy my own country

Gather the children

Like a bouquet of flowers

And give them the music of silence

For there is silence in birdsong

There is silence when wind blows

And the leaves on trees dance

There is silence as a brook

Meanders down a mountain

Over rocks

There is silence in their own


I would say to the children


Listen to the universe

Listen to it silently move through

The hours of a day

Through the sweet silence of the night

And take this silence

Put it into yourselves

And there you will live

In Peace

-Winter 2000
*repost from Thunder from the Mountains

Cricket Music


Note from the poet:

This poem was written in honor of my beloved husband, Stephen, on his 87th birthday. Stephen knows how much I love hearing the crickets, and so calls me to an open window to hear what I call Cricket Music, as the sky darkens and night is falling.



And the sound of its

Beautiful rhythm

Repeats     repeats     repeats

The same sound

I heard when I was a child

At Grandmother’s

Rented summer house

In a suburb of


We called The Country

The same song

Same rhythm

Repeating     repeating     repeating

The mysteries of mysterious


Melting into the rhythm

And the voices I heard


As one voice

I hear now

Singing one certain


Over and over and over



Come to this open


My dear man calls to


It is the time between

Day and Night

When the sky loses


Out the open window

I hear them

His gift for me

The beautiful rhythm

Of their song

Repeating     repeating


-August 6, 2022