Waltzing Matilda

Just gimme the magic pill. It’s pale blue, flecked with gold, about the size of a collar button. There’s a tiny map rolled up inside, minutely sketched on paper thin as a whisper. I’ll swallow it before sleep. On a new moon. And in my dreams the territories will uncurl. The trails will grow out … More Waltzing Matilda

Lost & Found

The steady hemorrhage of jobs moving south or overseas meant Michigan was in trouble long before the collapse of 2008. But by 2010, after a long and brutal winter, it felt like a ruined state, a landscape of shuttered factories and businesses, boarded-up towns, abandoned homes and thousands of families packing up and hitting the … More Lost & Found

Junk Journals

Start out with a red square, paste in a few favorite words, a bird or two clipped from magazines, and sprinkle in the sand of certain shores. Add a wrinkled roadmap with hopeful-sounding towns and disappearing highway lines moving at the speed of dreams. Glue down a few silky strands of baby hair, a flattened … More Junk Journals

Finding the Bones

When I look at the world I see compositions, still lives, washes, shadows, shadings, and sketches. There is a kind of peace in the arrangement of things, in the relationship of shapes, in the accidental perfection of a heap of stones and a fan of foxtail grass, a fallen feather, the brown angles of twigs. … More Finding the Bones

You Are Here

I used to wonder how my grandmother organized her thoughts and feelings. She came from a place that moved at the pace of a field horse and lived into times of aerial warfare, talking pictures, and men shot from earth like cannonballs to orbit out in space. But now I struggle with my own archives … More You Are Here

Kinds of Snow

The first snows are feathery and light, and in Alaska where my brother lives, the Aleuts probably have a special word for this sort of soft dry snowflower. Sometimes the snows come in icy face-tingling stingers or in fine mealy-grained pellety powder. Other days it falls in huge wet cluster-flakes, clotting the atmosphere and quickly … More Kinds of Snow

Little Palettes

When I was a kid, I’d set my mind sometimes to wake just before dawn. Before the day was swamped in noise, before peace was overwhelmed by crying babies, clanking spoons and pots and pans and cupboard doors, voices asking, arguing, insisting, car engines roaring like trapped beasts, while the weather report blared from the … More Little Palettes

Poets & Fishermen

The words sneak in between the salty slats and lean against weather beaten windowsills out here on the isthmus of schemes and illusions out here on this paper-thin peninsula where I wait with wind-scrubbed hopes and faulty tools, a leaky lifeboat hitched up to the back door just in case the seas come in too … More Poets & Fishermen

The Body Harp

My big striped cat nudged me out of a dream this morning. I was browsing in a dusty bookshop on a corner street in St. Joe. From the doorway, on a crisp autumn afternoon filled with golden light, I could see both the river and the lake. A good place for a business, I thought, … More The Body Harp