barbarians at the door
their heads on backwards
gossiping with the dragonflies
they seem nice enough
ask me how I am today
but they already know
they are a little supercilious
I don’t trust them
and attempt to close the door
but the dragonflies hover
in the hinges
knowing I will not hurt them
the door stays open
the barbarians try to convince me
to join them on a walk
down the lane to see the fox
and to ask forgiveness
but the fault is not mine
the barbarians tell me
we are all at fault
and I can’t fault that logic
but I remain unconvinced
the barbarians screw their heads on
rightly and walk off
saying no matter
they will ask for forgiveness in my name
I watch them lumber off
then the dragonflies become unhinged
and I want to follow
but I do not.









He’s white. Like snow. A neighbor calls him Casper. Though he moves like a small ghost, slinking through the vineyards, he’s not friendly. Maybe he was once, but life has dealt him a weak hand, and he has to play it where it lays.

Like any good hunter he’s familiar with every tree, and rock, every fox den, and squirrel drey in his travel radius. He has his landmarks. I see him resting by the cairn of flat rocks my niece constructed last summer. She buried a treasure, the feather of a blue jay. The cairn marks the spot. Out of the path of the vineyard tractors I imagine it staying in place until she’s grown. She’ll forget it ever existed. Until one year while she is in the midst of a life-altering decision, I’ll lead her to it. Seeing it again will flood her with memories, all those carefree days of childhood. Miraculously, her decision will be made clear. These things happen.

By then, by the time she has set aside her stuffed animals, and taken on the demands of adulthood, the white feral cat will be long gone from his hunting grounds. But, she will remember him. She’ll remember how we tried to adopt him, how we left him offerings of food, how we spoke soothingly hoping to coax him to come near. But, he was too far gone, his fear of humans too pronounced.

in the wild
the hunter and the hunted
memories of moonlight


Bjorn at dverse asks us to write a haibun, and Hamish Gunn asks the same every week…

Thanks for reading!




My backyard...

My backyard…




Nearly a month until summer,

and already a heat wave.

Ripples of warmth rise from the vineyard

like a mirage one sees in movies.

I imagine ghosts, spirits, spectres.


Twelve years I have lived among these vines.

Three pets lay buried, deep in the dust:

two cats and a much beloved dog.

I watch the wrinkles of air

and imagine the dry bones as a fine powder

rising heavenward, if there is a heaven

though I truly doubt there is.


If there is a heaven it is populated

by animals, and children, playing..

an adult free zone.

Not even a Mother Teresa deserves an

eternal reward, don’t you agree?

More likely we return to right all our wrongs.


Great clouds of dust rise in the hot breeze.

I can smell it. It smells like money.

Thin tendrils of springtime vines rise

heavenward, toward the sun.

They are rewarded for their adoration

with fat red grapes bursting with sugar.


Where once apple orchards thrived

rooting the soil, feeding children, now

Grapes ferment into dark bottles of money.

and the unfettered soil lifts and is borne

many miles into the spectre of a future

governed by the dry bones of sacrifice.




Édouard Manet (1832–1883)

Édouard Manet (1832–1883)



the cat curls on the table
wedges himself
beneath the flat screen television
almost instantly
he is asleep
and twitching
the antihistamines knock him out
and I feel relief
at his relief from a terrible itching
a food allergy at last diagnosed

out the window
six inches from his head
I watch the relentless rain
sometimes a breeze slants it northward
but mostly it falls ruler straight
while the cat’s tail hangs
like a dowsing rod
pointing at my affection for him
and for the long-awaited rain
that fills that void
you know the one
and overflows the old ponds
and the frogs chant mantras
of universal goodwill


Claudia at dverse asks us to sketch a poem of our surroundings…

To the Untrained Eye

©susanna jarian

©susanna jarian

songbirds, exactly six
sit in the naked apple tree
watching, resting

I, at my desk sit 
(though not naked)
I imitate the six songbirds
watching, resting

to the untrained eye
nothing much happens

but I know better

I imagine a train hurtling
down the track
destination unknown
any destination will do

so long as I get there
and I do, I always do

in this quiet space
a window to the songbirds
in the bare apple tree
no coffeehouses for me

I travel on a train
or a hot air balloon
or in a convertible
my short hair spiking
in the wind

I reach my destination
the end of my journey
the end of my story
the last sentence
for this single day

For Real Toads.. Kerry asks us to write about our Creative Space…where we like to write…


©Judi Barr

©Judi Barr

My neighbor has a beautiful old barn shot through with holes. Sunlight flows through these holes as if placing a spotlight on each individual tool, a shovel or rake, a hammer and crowbar allowed to lie on the floor as if too exhausted having performed its task so well it cannot climb to its allotted peg on the ancient walls. Disarray. It’s lovely. The bats like this barn. Upside down in the rafters they peer through the holes in the roof, keep an eye on the moon careful to stay clear of the light that pools on the scented straw where deer wander in from the vineyard to sleep a spell always up and away before my neighbor wakes. My neighbor would like to be rid of the bats and their guano, but they refuse to leave, no matter what she does. Like the swallows of San Juan Capistrano, they always return. Every night in summer I wait for them to emerge. A small pointillist cloud. Spots of ink disperse, reappear, as a spiral, a caterpillar, a triangle, sometimes a butterfly.

For Samuel Peralta’s last post at dverse… he asks us to write a prose poem..

A Clearing



by the cold fingers of fog
I vanish
right before your eyes

reappear within minutes
a deer at my side
for some odd reason
she is unafraid

is it my demeanor
what does she know
that I do not
do you see me differently now

fog tiptoes around us
careful not to disturb
my deer and me
we travel beyond your purview

but she is not mine
my deer
any more than I am yours
my dear

crows take on the jays
Sharks and the Jets
as we, my deer and me
place our bets on the bobcat

it’s a challenge
finding our route
the fingers of the fog tugging
at our ears

like naughty children
who refuse to answer
our mother’s entreaties
to return home for dinner

satisfied the fog retreats
we’ve passed the test
my deer and me
a clearing within a clearing

we are contentedly alone