To the God of Small Things

Some say you are a lesser god,
dominion only over salt shakers and paper clips.

Not for you thunderbolts, a marble seat
on Olympus,

Nor the mythy mind of Sunday Morning.
But it is to you I’m grateful

That my keys are still in my right-hand pocket this morning,
that the glue on this envelope sticks

After I lick it.
The god of my knurled brass bushings

That are so reliable - no burning bush
here, but brassy sure under my fingertips.

When “bad things happen to good people”
things are so manageable with you –

The cheese I spilled on the floor that our dogs
jumped on before I could get a paper towel –

Well I’m not the Biblical Job 
sitting in my ash pit over it.

OK, fine, I swore, I denied you thrice, sure,
but it’s all OK. The dogs are happy, even if

A little gassy.
The floor is swept clean again now,

I have a fresh cup of coffee
and a bagel.

Miz Quickly


The fox says "you are not beautiful."
The gazelle says "you are a shrimp."

The ocean does not suffer fools.
Shrimp swings in nets across the docks.

I touch your cheek, move a lock of hair.
My fingers are twisted shrimp, boiled, pink.

Night leaps – darkness flys, turns, is gone.
Beneath stars I shrimp, I crab, I snail.

Miz Quickly

The Banyan Drum

I couldn’t winnow it down to just one title for each word, so here are two each:

The Banyan Drum

Dirt Squat - Life Under a Banyan

Turnips at War

Turnip Country: Dirt, Fiber, and the Lord

The Jinx and the Fortune Cookie


Scatter/Gather: the New You



Stationer to the Pope

Miz Quickly

Notre Dame

Like you, I watched Notre Dame cathedral burn –
a thousand years of prayer in the rafters
feeding fires hotter than devotion, 
a millennia’s fervor of hands and fingers 
pressed together like a flame.

“Our Mother” indeed. Though not mine.
Nations did not watch, no helicopters overhead filmed
what burned in her, how her brilliance 
consumed and engulfed the prayers of my family,
all the wreckage once that light was out.

What part of the flame, what color, what heat
is insanity? The blue? The white?
What raging fuel in the mind – 
timbers and rafters of the past? Gargoyles 
like whispering gas jets?

They said when she was a girl on the ranch
she built a shrine in a corner of the chicken yard
and prayed to Jesus every day, on her knees in the dirt,
before her brother honked the horn 
of the school bus he drove at 14.

And we mourn. And for a moment together
we all pray for something holy to rise back
from the ashes. If not our souls, that the stones
holding up our walls
might be saved.

Miz Quickly

Ferry Rats

These men grease, torch, drill, and jigsaw
the ferry engines back to life
so that the world might again run on time.

Diamonds in rough boots and grubby life jackets,
they preserve for us the jeweled movement
of appearances.

I mumble greetings each morning
in the early darkness – 5, 5:30
as they drift from their cars to the docks

and they mumble back
as if we both know they are not to be seen
or their world acknowledged.

An arc weld for sunrise.
Below decks, 
hungry motors growl. 

Miz Quickly


Deep in the earth – 
your finger a carrot – 

you want to claw back 
from the rooting, 

from your soul 
plugging dikes in this world 

with only your body to give – 
hands, arms, chest 

to no avail 
in the endless sea of 

too many cars on River Road 
early in the morning, 

the trees up the hill dumpy 
and dead brown, 

your neighbor Noah's twin pugs 
flooding the sidewalk, 

only rainbow stickers 
in a window high above – 

and this: the terrible sound 
of worms at work in the dirt, 

gravity's grim smile 
as it wins at boules 

against the sun and the moon 
and puts its arm around you 

in victory. Will your bones 
rise up 

a stick man, a scarecrow, 
a warning to scavengers? 

Or will they tunnel 
ever down, 

ribs sharpened and honed 
against stone 

dueling with tree roots, your toes
playing footsie with weeds.

Miz Quickly

Foxtrot Delta Tango

A rabbit will teach you with its teeth –
your finger a carrot –

the long hole difference 
between hedge-hidden doors

and lucky feet hanging ten
In the pocket,

between buck-wild buckshot
cleansing the palate,

and the hunter's game bag 
empty today –

between labyrinth and maze,
between Labradors and maize,

between dog stars and hunted
in the corn or the cosmos

because you leapt so hard
you shot to the sky 

and didn't turn around until Sirius 
was upon you with diamond fangs,

Canis Major and Canis Minor
baying at your heels, 

until you go to ground
until you visit the Minotaur again

and answer his question:
Is the road straight, or does it break?

Will you return the way you came?
Or all is lost?

Keep your kits close,
and your own skin closer.

It takes two to tangle
deep in the earth.

Miz Quickly