desire tumbling

Star Lapse

above ambient light
robotic telescopes
observe on mountaintops…
and chart star dust labors
of long birthings
in clouds of nebulae…
catch red dwarfs dying
their insanities of edge
all in light years tumbling

as inside that frigid vault
lovers close embrace
wrapped deep in down
their edges joined…
dispersing with the universe
through insensate space
mingling dust to dust
and tumbling in desire



yes…that honey warm
Fabritius goldfinch
of the two…
there on the right
with wings sun flecked
scarlet feathers on its head
it’s the pretty one…isn’t it
that looks at us inquisitive
cocked head…keen eyes
its golden aura ages smoldered
near fireplaces smoking heat
and men tobacco puffing
windows open to pull draft
and larks upon their lawns
and mockingbirds calling
in Delft evening shadows…

oh…that chill one
there on the left
restored by careful hands
with cathartic solvents
to his original intent
there…it’s thrown shadow
holds my glance
to its light source
and whitewash glare
and dull brass box
and claws that grasp a rail
and a chaining…
Oh…Christ…not chains!

Art by Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)

seeing shadows

sun shadow

I see your shadow…slant
in the morning
behind picture frames
in the front hallway
by our busted door…
then find you stuck
in envelopes…torn…
with no cards inside
beneath our dresser drawer…
think I hear you shout
to me…in afternoons
just as geese fly arrowed
toward the town…
then…near bedtime
I sweep your slippers
from underneath our bed
and wrap my toes
in emptiness

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Philip Koch

lion teeth in weeds


dandelion….from French dent-de-lion, meaning “lion’s tooth”

to cast a land with sorcery
weeds nestle…burrow deep
with incremental stealth
as tap roots pierce
hard soil near roads
or disturbed loam in fields
receptive to their riot…
some…like dandelions
bloom yellow teeth
on rigid milky stems
to open…close…
sun conjured
to lure honeybees
then at a witching moment
flowers trance…florets drop,
bracts arch to airiness,
and morph to globes
with seeded sails…
tempting breezes
with a breath of wishes

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Jean Francois Millet

Gypsy Boy

gypsy boy

In early May, bands of gypsies
arrived at her father’s farm
seeking spring water
and golden dandelions
to use for medicine and wine.
With grinds and clanks and rattles
they drove their rainbow wagons
on dusty Scrub Grass Road
to the bounty in his meadows.
Arms widespread and welcoming
he greeted them as guests.
He used their skill with sharpening stones
for his shovels and his knives.
He used their presence to mend fences
and just to tease his anxious wife,
for some county women feared the gypsies.
They thought gypsy women tempted husbands
and sold them wine and liquor.
They thought gypsy women stole young children,
luring them with honeyed sweetmeats.
No more splashing around rocks in shallow creeks
after silver flashing minnows.
No more raiding father’s fields
for warm peppers and strawberries.
Now exotic rhythms from drums and castanets
lured her to her bedroom window to gaze wide-eyed
at campfires sparking in the distance.

Then one morning with first light came resolution.
She ran barefoot to a lawn hedge,
spreading wide its thorny branches.
The quilt she clutched about her puddled at her feet.
There stood a tall gypsy just about her age,
his eyes amazing blue, his mouth a mocking grin.
“Go home girl… or I’ll catch you!”
Shaking…blushed she ran to the nearness of her house
uncertain if she should rush into her mother’s arms
or dance across the lawn.

Bonnie Marshall