salting the earth

use the salt, you insist
having stayed my hand
concluding: it’s cheaper

i stare open-mouthed
as effectual you turn
and stride sternly away

so very cunning are you
clinically capable even
of extracting such woe

from the very earth
you unwilling inhabit
salting her dusty flesh

for you have i this land
too repeatedly raped
baring roots to the sun

grass have i torn from
refuge soil toiling
like a man possessed

covering dirt with stone
have i shorn the earth
of life—yet hope resides

and now you decide that
i should salt this earth
to ensure its utter demise

i grunt in resignation
grab the bag, confirming
how quickly life withers

beneath your touch

Salt Lake City 14 Oct 2012



I awoke this morning
to a different world
than heretofore known
altered most irrevocably
more determined pristine
and though I wonder
at this transformation
my passing confusion
was surely unfounded
for know you in truth
its ready explanation is
far less opaque even than
the most fundamental
axiom upon which truths
are said to be conceived:

it is, my beloved, you

who with bruised hands and
in strands of silken sorrow
a tapestry of tender joy
have so wondrous woven,
constructing even out of
catechismal chaos and
anguish of flesh and spirit
a lush and fertile garden,
a house of harmony and
enduring hope wherein
these thy boisterous bairn
may bounty and blessings
reap that you have sown

and may it yet be that in this
abode of accord and peace
in some welcome visitation
that I too one clear day,
should you trusting permit,
discover a place of my own
at your side, in your heart

Salt Lake City 15 May 2012


I returned to the garden today, unexpected
where once it grew tall and lush and green
and utterly and fiercely unconstrained.
Setting aside my pen, I decided to wander.

Tell me, do you remember it at all now
how it once flourished freely and full
how the plants did thrive and blossom?
I do, you see. I remember it all too well.

I remember the lilac gazing regally down on me
its scent suffusing the air with white perfume
my senses reeling with pleasure and promise.
And the roses crowding together, courageously.

I recall the joy of forcing open the earth,
massaging the soil, feeding this child, this life
of mine, this bed of bounty and agrarian trust
planting it with peppers and eggplant and thyme.

Sweet memories now, yes, only memories
of a place buried beneath the hard stern gray city
you approve, bereft of life, cold and managed.
Spontaneity suppressed by your need for control.

But wandering thus I did discover a single spot
in the corner below the fence where dirt prevails.
I bowed down, pushed aside the leaves and dust
and touched the earth in hope and lingering fear.

I dug and raked and dug some more, lifting
rocks and roots and decaying residue of the past
and as I worked, a smile graced my sweaty lips.
Maybe, I thought, maybe I can make it grow again.

Salt Lake City 07 May 2012