restricted access Talking to God on County Road H
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Talking to God on County Road H

I think you are here,somewhere

where oceans of starsonce fell into orbit,

rolled up on the shoreof the skies,

and grew where theydied and blew up,

seeding in gasto make some new suns.

You could be the Space Roar,the red swirl of Jupiter's Storm,the Alien Star,or that crab who lives on Mars.


This morningI want to keepthe rosy light

that surfsin the violet, [End Page 173]

two flickersof cream

that know what they willbecome,

as the sky reels inits cup of flowers,

and I walk out beneath,beneath it all, in this skinI bare, and love.


I watch the soft mouthsof range cowsin the hot desert, eating the lastbale of alfalfa.

They are black,so beautifully black,breaths wet and greenas they sway towardmy empty hands.

I watch a pair of finches,who follow me to where I washmy hands, quiet finches,good-looking ones, whoflutter in my runoff.

I watch a horsein my neighbor's small field,this one I love I have brought a pear to,all white with a dark half-moonthat cups her left eye. [End Page 174]

She gets wild when the trailer comes.She will ride to Nine Mile Canyonto live for the summerbetween sky and sage and juniper.


The poet loves textureand wicked drama.

She wants the scentof sunrise in cadmium yellowon her paper.

She wants the blue hipof a mountain,the white-gold of a blossom,

the bee, the bee insidethe glass crystalof a frozen tulip.

She believes inthe ancient furnace,a bitter orange in the fridge.

She opens an envelopeto a small creditthat saves her.

The poet wants to holda water hyacinthinside the creekof her heart.

She touchesa watercolor brushand fears for the animal. [End Page 175]


God, I remember prayingto you, you who were the fatherof a son who was kinder.


God, you are a manplaying pianowith childish fingers.


God, you are a woman,a robin, a tiger.


My friendis so sick.The chemo has been overmonths ago.

Her dayworships the wayshe used to be.

A pianist, a poet,she doesn'thear, is dizzywhen she stands,

eats the tofuof lamplight, tofuof coffee grounds,of snow, of skylong and promising. [End Page 176]

My friendjiggles a butterflypencil and opensthe wine of her writing,the wine of beaksat the feeder,the wine of cold tea.

She makes sure her dogsare lean and happy,running for the ball,the special biscuit.


I love the husky notesof the yellow-headedblackbird,

this scouthere all day, fenceto spruce, his song

a cactus with shoulders,sure as a mermaid's,inside this ancient desert sea,

his gold hoodand coal bodylike sun on Chicago.

He calls from my clothesline,my red gate, my crabapple,here to look for water

in our desert,this body, this light,this voice. [End Page 177]


There are no answerswhen I pray for more lemon balm,less starlight,a few straggly hollyhocksthrough days of diamond-cutting heat.

What comes from the calls of magpies?Two sprigs of dilland one green hummingbird.

What swirls in my mug?An ounce of dark chocolate.

God, I have finally put out sun tea.I have lost the wild monkeyflower.

What days will not open?Those inside the rodeosof rainless clouds.

What happened to my windows?They're etched with dust.

A bright yellow beelives one day on my screen,and then dies holding on.

I have bought a delphiniumbecause I love the depth of its purple.

I will conserve dishwater, pee, spitto water it. [End Page 178]


My neighbor saysWhat could be betterthan beansrefried by someone else?

After my mother dies,she whitens a scarfmy mother crocheted for me,irons its...