N  a  p a  l  m     H  e  a  l  t  h     S  p  a  :     R  e  p  o  r  t     2  0  1  0






The Crippled Doe


dreaming as I rounded

the bend, my paddle still:



a wounded doe

                        hobbled into

the stream



the wound, fractured thigh or

muscle torn in wild dodge thru trees

(hunters’ missed shot?)


seeing me, she turned

frantic, swimming

ahead. ears

            laid back to listen.



I slowed & gave her room,

yet she did not cross,  came up



            & hobbled along sand bank

then back into the racing currents,

finally crossing,


standing on the shore—

she   did not plunge

into cedars & safety, but

stared directly


in my eyes as I passed, still—




“Alone and scared without her, how do I move on?”


go the gym and work out—sweat & pump endorphins.

swim one hour; rediscover your love of precision strokes.

go to a good action movie & get lost in it.

explore a wilderness or city trail—

do it with friend if possible.

take the ferry to parts of the city new to you—

bring your camera.

go to a concert & shake it with strangers.

hike local parks, up a local mountain if weather permits.

go to museum & learn local native culture,

flora & fauna, history—

study totem poles & learn their codes. 

what kinds of canoes did they have?  what songs in shared hearts?

go fishing.  go camping, kayaking if you can rent a boat cheap.

what poet genius sprang up on these riverbanks?

who shaped the town & made it what it has become? 

what legends imbue the place with character? 

go to Christian church or Jewish or buddhist temple & observe

what you can learn, listen to the messages. 

practice group meditation or yoga at YMCA if you can.
go take photos or films of local sites and post them on Facebook,

discoveries of the world you inhabit.

Go to homeless shelter and volunteer time.

Go friendly with strangers and share kindness with those in need.






rush hour wreckage smoke & fumes below:

flashing ambulance screams away.  beyond,

concrete angels blow trumpets in all directions—

pale moon on eastern horizon. here, orchids cascade

above crown of thorns’ red lips. paper on the desk: 

25 Afghan women & children incinerated—

a mistake.” 




Flight to Phoenix


in seat staring out window at clouds,

I look into my empty hands—

think of his face, my own a mirror

thru which I can see him

& in his, the pattern of my being.


I followed his canoe, early evening, he

looking back as I swam my first long half-mile

as he later followed me up Bright Angel.


how much

sorrow we both contained, how many tears,

            madness we passed

& left, to keep the heart secure.


he was a deliberate hiker thru sage & castled butte,

his camera imaging the mirror of our days:

a fly on yellow cactus flower near walls of vishnu schist,

the son in full stride on switchback below,

the thousand-year handprint in sinagua doorway.






I felt him

            near me as I descended the stairs


the falls we had shared roaring beyond—


distant thunder

crowds on the viewing deck

and below me,

tannin foam swirling cloud designs—


he was there

beside me, briefly—

then I was alone, the wind lifting the leaves


the laughter of my grown children

coming up behind me.






my mother disappeared

in swirling waves


when children & friends

poured her ashes


into the river near her old

bedroom window


my sister reached into the bag

& scattered the last ashes


across the water, slapped

her hands together,


dust flying out: wild rose

on the high bank beyond




Out the door


white dogwoods’

thousand eyes

float in the breeze: 


the computations

are finally done,

days unravel in


that half-seen

country where

hillsides spread


with trillium &

solomon’s seal.

ah, moonlight.




Gulf Spill Curse




dead spirit curses


us still.  may the


crowd drink


what remains

after fish & fowl

die & local folk


close shop in tears

in the bloody

shrieking sunrise. 




Dark Evening


neighbors’ silhouettes

sit on their porch watching


taillights disappear

into the night, the stars


winking above, the long work

done.  what songs must they


be singing around campfires

& hearths, over stoves


as friends come to sit,

on the other side of the world?




For Antler, after the storm


after whiteouts & deep freeze, the moon hangs silently above mounds & river,

currents move beneath ice jams & broken trunks, mad traffic racing beyond—


on Madeleine Island elder ghosts shape birch & pine, craft crossing waters to

spirit an old woman to sundown, last ripples before the moon, still mirror

where faces stare back in the dark:  for the poet has paused to sing the last


elegiac lullaby for she who bore him to this life, his hand tenderly pulling aside

aging tresses that she might see the clear day.  the silent hours pass & still he is


beside her in her calm passage, even his poems flown beyond him now,

still in the back pockets of coast-bound boys, in the hands of he who dreams

he’ll strike a pose atop El Capitan, who strips naked & worships the sun


atop Audubon, those racing to the wild shore for succor, attuned to the elder

murmur along the silent path now become Broadway, Manahatta.  still


the poet passes the night, pausing only to share sighs with his other side, his

lifelong love who faced down Death & sang to tell the tale.  still his hand

clasps his mother’s in Time’s sureness & dreams that once bore flesh,


the childhood song that promises light in shimmering lake & waves—sing

softly in his honor, her honor, under the moon by the great lake’s shore.