Come Sit Beside Me


sit beside me

on this dark step

and wait with me

for the moon to rise.

Listen with me

to the silver words

as the moon cushions

the blue darkness.

Our hands join.

Our shoulders touch.

The blood alive

beneath our skin.

The warm night air

flowing in and out

of our lungs.

Do we hear the same music?

Do we see the same living shapes

in the constellations?

I put aside this idle curiosity

and bask in the rhythm

of our simple, silent


Mullein in the Time of Pneumonia

A tightness prompts

a constricting

that pulls a string

that moves in a creeping current

up to my throat

but the air tickles and

try though I might

I cannot suppress the cough

that barks into the night.

I slip out of bed

to sit alone in the chair

beside the sky-dark window.

It is then I hear in my lungs

the murmur of living Mullein,

even though her stalwart stalk,

budded in summer with buttery blossoms

stands dry and brown

in winter’s garden.

Stay with me, Verbascum thapsus,

for I am lonely with fever

and fear edges my breath.

Blanket my chest

with the soothing sage-gray

of your lush and velvety leaves.

We can be allies, I proffer:

help me heal

and you will always be welcome

wherever you set your roots,

be it in the lawn

the lettuce bed

under the apple tree or

among the pumpkins in their patch.

I never doubted her promise

or questioned her advice

and now, old friends,

with every spring

and grateful lungs

I watch for her return.