Thursday, January 30, 2014



Below the painted heavens
and the hand outstretched
of God,
are tiles,
unnoticed, not seen.
They, so small across, span
the length of the room, the
hall, the
holy place.

Circles within circles
flowers blooming from chips of stone
turned to jewels by sunlight.
The same light that does not 
fully illume that exalted,
vaulted, beloved ceiling.

Geometric pattern-dance
made from mosaic,
proclaiming "glory, glory,"
in softer tones 
overshadowed by Angel song.

Footsteps, stumbling over
as all cross.
Their heads are tilted up in awe

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A lost pencil

I just had it,
tucked behind my ear
and held there
by too thick rat's nest curls.
I've lost my pencil
the third one this week
to the black hole in my hair.

Now it joins the legion of bobby pins
and tortoiseshell patterned combs,
glitter from the year I was a faerie queen
and won "least surprising costume choice"

It's gone the way of styluses--stylusi?
and carved wood hair sticks
just an inch too short to stick out.
They should return when I shake out my hair
finger comb it into some
tiny semblance of neatness
but no.

wait, wait--no. that's a pen.
I was looking for that too,
and it will have to do
until I go to math.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dancing on coals

Dancing on coals-
9th floor.

The cutter boy extends his hand
callused from working with heavy shears
since the shops reopened a year gone.
Flames are in his dark eyes,
“Gussie, here.”
I can hardly breathe, so I only nod
and take his hand.
Morris leads me into a dance, wild, and racing
I have to catch up the hem of my skirt
so as not to fall and be trampled.
Things are too crowded by the doorways:
no room for two more bodies there.
My breath catches in my throat,
the clamor is growing,
the windows are all open to dusk-grey air.
My shoes are too small and not made
for dancing on coals.
My feet burn as I stumble.
“Morris, I need air, I need—out.”
There are bonfires in his eyes, his face is glowing
and he nods, still holding my hand.
As we push through to one window
where the air is cooler,
he helps another girl up onto the ledge,
then another,
so they can breathe as well.
I raise a hand to his cheek,
my feet are burning and now my eyes as well.
I have only known him for this year,
when he delivered shirtwaists to my table.
But I want to be beside him
and he knows without saying.
He bows, then helps me to stand,
my hands shaking,
in the window frame.
I put my arms around him,
and kiss him long
longer than we have.
The flames behind us are growing.
My eyes find his, and
he lets me go, then follows me.
It does not take a long time to fall to the ground

even from nine stories up.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A guided tour of the McKay Library by a bored Library Aide before her shift

Submitted to BYU-I's last poet Standing 2014

Hi! How can I help you?
This is the circulation desk, check in, check out, put money
on your I card.
Only I can’t do that yet,
let me get a supervisor for you.
This way is the Commons-
cluttered with the coolest rolling tables and chairs ever.
You can meet people here
and read reference books.

A bank of computers,
 yes, they all print to any printer.
We have handy dandy cheat sheets with a how to,
or I can show you
if you like.
 Just there, by the elevator:
the post a poem board
with a mix of art and doggerel
for your enjoyment.
Oh, those are the stairs,
but don’t go down to the basement.

Alarms will sound
and  the creepy things kept captive
down there, who knows what,
will probably eat you,
along with the Monday clean out lunches
from the break room
like my hot pockets.
Follow me?

Here are some of the general collection books.
Everything is sorted
by the Library of Congress system,
so forget you ever thought you knew dewey decimal
it can’t help you here
but I can
or one of those posters on the shelves.
but I’m cooler than paper (and paler too
as I’m always inside.)
Now, upstairs?

The tutoring center—math and writing
and all are here
above the east wing.
Make an appointment!
Down this way we have,
surprise, surprise,
more books,
even some fiction
(hush, it’s literature, old bindings with older text)
no, not Harry Potter
this is a college library.
Harry’s upstairs.
Also: study rooms! Perfect for writer’s circles
or private tutoring with friends
or hiding from zombie dinosaurs
(it’s been 65 million years since the last
but it never hurts to prepare.)

Past the special collections room
we have a bunch of neat stuff,
Like a book no bigger than a child’s palm
and Bibles just a few years younger
than dirt.

Shhhhhh. This is the quiet section.
turn off your phone
and for the love of Dickens
Or you may be mobbed by
over worked study-stressed students
and the odd octopod.
Third floor,
you can talk again.
No really.
You can even chatter as you browse
our popular books collection
and books for the young
and young at heart
(yes, we have Harry Potter here,
and Hunger Games
and a great many books
you’ve never heard of
but may fall in love with)

Down the hall is the computer help desk
in case your macbook gets the flu
or gives up on chemistry.
And if you’ll look to your left,
the dragons are loose
walk, don’t run, for your life.
elevator’s around the corner.