April 10

At Chico Hot Springs, Feeling like Raymond Carver, Thinking about Richard Hugo

You can’t live in Montana too long

(if you have a certain kind of bent

for reading and drinking and mountains

in no particular order)

without meeting Richard Hugo

out there somewhere.

He’s a quote a friend tosses out

before he hands you a beer,

He’s a book you find

in a heap of poetry and fishing magazines

in a bathroom at some party.

Driving Montana

is one of his best,

you thought today

(like many days)

driving Montana

West to East today,

and, really,

not even all that far East

but enough that you saw that antelope,

you wondered about that ranch house,

you wished you had time to pull off

at the stops with No Services.

And in this hotel room now

with no phone,

no TV,

the bathroom’s down the hall,

you wish you could buy Richard Hugo a beer

at the bar downstairs.

April 8

The Tulips

Against the odds,

the tulips are coming up.

In fact, they appear to have multiplied.

I don’t mean the ones

by the fence.


Who plants white tulips, anyway?

Doggedly returning spring after spring,

I suppose I could dig them up,

transplant or replace them, but

I probably won’t.

Resilient annoying flowers.

No, the ones I admire

were the loners,



strangely pushing their way into corners of the yard

where no one would ever plant,



Then we trenched and tracked and excavated

the whole yard

to move the water supply

and I was startled to see

curly yellow-and-red stripes

gamely emerging

from the pile of clean fill.


April 3

In the Coffee Shop

She’s saying hello,

stretching arms for a hug,

almost before I see

who she is.

(There’s a name for it,

this problem with recognizing faces.)

She looks healthy, alert,

sundrenched and smiling,

and I can’t help watching

to see if she scans me,

my wintery pallor

and newest pounds added;

I wonder,

is she wondering

if I’m doing OK?

The last eight or ten months

are flipped through — the basics.

She mentions she’d like

us to come out this summer (they’re

still at that place on the river)

and with that we finish,

I’m onward, she’s off,

we’ve connected,

we’re good,


am I OK?


Poem 2

April 2

Oh, just because

the tulips are poking up in little burly clumps


this morning there was pink

mixed with the gray

over the almost snowless hills


even though

opening windows for fresh air

seems like a reasonable thing to do

on a Saturday afternoon while stripping beds

and shaking carpets


despite the fact

that meadowlarks and bluebirds have made

their presence known,

I’m not taking off the storms

quite yet.

Poems? Why not.

I haven’t been writing much lately, so why not start a challenge this month? It’s going to be a hectic month, lots of travel and things, but this challenge (National Poem Writing Month- NaPoWriMo) is a snack-sized one. There is a prompt provided by the challenge every day, to use, or not. Happy April.

April 1


If you knew what you’d find with your eyes open, 
There’d be no sleep on your wheel. 


from “Rigtrade” by Paige Taggart


No sleep on the wheel

The hamsters used to

Reproduce. But not

like the gerbils did.

Spring thaw

I caught myself singing while doing the dishes tonight.

I heard myself making pee and poop jokes with Alden several times over the last few days, catching his startled, delighted double take and peals of disbelieving laughter.

I saw myself say Yes to a friend who asked for help, a small favor, really, but one that might have seemed too much, a few months back.

I noticed an emotion before it controlled my reaction, a few times, small things, intersections, conversations.

There is more light in the days, there is more day to stretch out in.

We have more space in our house and spaces that are beautiful and more functional than we have ever had. This house, this rebuild, this labor of love, this leap of faith.

Like hibernating badgers emerging from winter sleep we uncurl, stretch out and seek company, welcome friends, spill into the yard and the streets and greet neighbors, make food, make music. We’re finding each other, too, here at home— strange, because we’ve been right here all along, but we see each other, blinking in the light, “Oh hi!” The wonder. “I’ve missed you.”