Wednesday, August 16, 2017


somewhere in here
a flower pot pumps out this vine
sustenance from where
I shudder to think
roots dig deep
vines tap my shoulder



Carla backed up so she could see the reef better. A tessellation of almost-identical shells, each occupied by something vaguely resembling an octopus, individually as intelligent as a cat, and about half the size of a cryopod. As in a coral, the "animals" were connected, forming one colonial organism. It sounded like the cell right in front of her was the one that had spoken. Last time, the colony had been much smaller, and it had not understood her next question.

"Which one of you spoke?"

I am only one. There is no one else but you.

That was interesting. The first few visits, she had not been sure it recognized her as an independent entity. And the language lessons she'd broadcast from the buoy seemed to have been assimilated. Was it gaining intelligence as it grew? She went through the rest of the questions, recording the answers.

"I'll be back next year. Your health and prosperity."

As on her previous visits, it only responded to direct questions.


You have returned. Why?

The reef was huge, extending several meters above sea level and for kilometers along the sand ridge. The base was lost in darkness. She hovered above the waves on the seaward side. As always, it seemed that the polyp directly in front of her was the speaker, though she never could see an organ moving or vibrating. She set up a slow leftward drift of the skimmer, to see if the conversation stayed with the original polyp or moved with her.

"You are my research project," she said. "I study you, to find out how you grow, how you think, what you do." The reef was silent for a bit.

Again, why? Small organisms that I eat don't visit me. Only you visit me, and you are not like anything else I know.

The voice moved with her, transferring seamlessly from one polyp to the next.

"I visit you because my people want to learn about others. Because we are not alone."

Another pause.

Do you know others like me?

"I don't," she said. She and her Thesis Committee had agreed to say nothing about the fossil reefs stranded 100 meters above sea level. The reef spoke again.

I will create a motile form. It will transport my essence as you do for your "people." There will be more like me. They will speak with you.

Your health and prosperity.

Publ. Daily Cabal, 2009

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


if it ever stops raining
the mowers are going to mow
if it ever stops raining
we'll plant the winter crops
if it doesn't stop raining
kudzu will cover the city
that might happen anyway


lots of room
below the 3-meter contour
hyperconsuming immigrants


Small world

So Jimmy, his mama want sugar to bake him a pancake, so she send him to the store with a dollar for a sack of sugar. But soon he come running back. He got no sugar.

"Mama," he say, "ain't no store. The street, she just end past Auntie Louise trailer."

"Jimmy, go ask Auntie if she have sugar," his Mama say.

Soon Jimmy come running back, with a cupful of molasses. "Auntie out of sugar," he say, "she send molasses."

So Mama stir up the molasses, flour, and she see she have no egg.

"Run Jimmy, fetch me an egg from the chicken house, so I can make you a pancake."

Jimmy, he run out the back door, but he come right back. "Chicken house gone," he say, "but they was one egg in the grass," and he give it to her.

Mama crack the egg into the bowl and she stir up the batter. She pour the batter in the skillet. This will be one fine pancake! But when she flip the pancake, it land on the floor and roll out the door.

"Jimmy," Mama shouts, "fetch me that pancake!" He run out the door and down the road.

The pancake roll past the mimosa tree and its pink fans hanging down, past Auntie Louise trailer and her lilies, over the plank bridge, and Jimmy run after. When he get to the other side of the bridge the store be gone, but the pancake keep rolling and Jimmy keep running. He running by the cow pasture (the cow, she chewing her cud), and he see his house just there beside the road in front of him, chicken on roof. The pancake keep rolling past house and mimosa tree, and Jimmy, he run faster, for to catch it. Bridge, cow (still chewing), house (Mama in the doorway), tree, cow, house (Mama shouting), tree. Pancake keep rolling and Jimmy keep running. The road, she keep ashrinkin', and pretty soon it be just Jimmy and the pancake, the road rolling up behind his heels and he catch the pancake just before everything be gone. Jimmy take a big bite. It the best pancake he ever have.

Publ. Daily Cabal 2008

Monday, August 14, 2017