Dear Horizon:



When full moon appears from your left elbow
during our evening drives home
it dashes our distance to pieces
that separate but do not scatter:
a half carrot in a lunch bag
a football-field-length phone call
the birthday of Edward Neary, co-worker,
and a maple donut solo in a pink box ―
all grazing our mental fields
alone, yet unwilling to leave the herd
which we know is simply because of the interval
(exact) between each ray of reflected light
and the gossamer facial features
of that satellite rock,
the new dusk shadows below your clavicle
that relinquish half their darkness
to the moon’s ascending draw
as she departs from you,
illusioned smaller distances between ourselves
and that illuminated saucer,
horizon’s body gift
to an insignificant evening.


Has anybody ever, down all crisscross
tracks of time here,
introduced themselves to you
“Hi, I’m Robert – and you?”
or wanted to take you home
after drinks beside your heart-shaped
mountain lake?

[An observation]

I’ve noticed how birds
and also planes and clouds and satellites
are always flying into you.
I see how you accept them
from all angles, glowing at night
or glinting in morning sun,
wheeling or gliding
or settling among a flurry
into the vast nest of yourself,
into the dark horizontal curtain
back of which lies
everywhere else
around this strangely curvy


Surely it is the gentlest lovemaking
the way you take the sun into you
each night, both of you
lost to us for hours
until he goes his way each morning
an upward path that is away
and also toward you.

[A realization]

I thought you were dodging
my eye, in hiding
for a rare hour of solitude —
until I remembered:
you are anything met
by sky.
The blooming bay tree, ivy-covered fence,
door jamb and hawk
are you. The place in my eye
where atmosphere’s color
meets the last outer atom
of all I can touch.

[Talking about me]

How strange to be myself horizon,
head jutting into the blue,
a line of cirrus
whispering through my hair
and the slight glassy gleam of my eye
accepting the flight of two distant birds.


and when at last the wrinkling moon,
now waning, crawls composedly back into your shadows
in her ever alluring reincarnate lifework
and pieces fall back together,
like puzzle bits perfectly fitted
but still showing all their rills and seams ―
carrot, phone, birthday, donut
all held again in a portrait
of living here, you and me, horizon,
making our own edges
again and again
perfectly delineated
and lit, even without
that loving moon,
even in the circling darkness
held, adored,
encompassed in my eye.


From it is enough to see your hand by. Copyright © Lainey S. Cronk 2016



for animal grit beneath our skin,
blood cells traveling
neither fiercely nor brightly
from entropy to entropy

for clenching calendar squares
in twitching fists,
a muddle of memories
and muscles
pulling our eyes down, in,
focus dwindling
to the last trickle between intention-crusted stones
where the final minnow,
the final water-skeeter
live out their final minutes

the pursuit of truth
disappears down allergous byways
the hope of listening
bogged down in the endocrine system

as we sit around this table,
and breathing beneath bay trees, attempting

to talk.





it is enough to see your hand by

I’m officially a fan of CreateSpace. It’s a free service (unless you sign up for paid support) that allows you to publish books through their print-on-demand system, sell them on and CreateSpace, and make them accessible to bookstores, libraries, and academic institutions. It was great for me as a kick-in-the-pants to develop and organize some of my writing, learn a little about stuff like layout and ISBNs, and see a finished product that is a real book (the quality is surprisingly good)! My book of poems, it is enough to see your hand by, is now out in the world!


Still the Feet

His socks were white

and young
like frolicking lambs of spring
like light on rain
like owl down

made orderly and strong
by the efficient hum of machinery
the patient weft of time applied
to make a small room welcoming
dry and clean, a decorous home
for oft-trodden feet
to hide brightly from the world

you can almost imagine them
down at ground level
reading a novel, switching on the side-table lamp
as evening falls, as the shoe sunsets
the light of distant fluorescent bulbs —
settling in to a leather armchair
the well-balanced soul
the directional tow

of forward motion
as ordinary as existence.

His socks were black
then, extended in stature
and deepened in shadow
argyle flickering in and out
with stripes, a stoplight polka-dot,
then back to black

and noble,
like the dark side of a redwood trunk
like a suitcoat shoulder-shifted below stained glass
like moonless night

the anchor to a dazzling world of light
and language, a career careening
through personalities and time
and a thousand shifting shining movements
of the face, the hands, the heart

while in the sock-room
still the feet, pleasantly forgotten
reach chapter twelve
and turn another page, couched
in midnight.

Put Your Feet Up

Let your sock-clothed toes
greet each other like sibling mutts
at the end of their patron limbs,
a pair of bridges that built themselves
between you and a yellow-wrought chair
then, satisfied, crossed their ankles
sending messages of familial quietude
up the mail routes of your bones
to angle your back more loungingly
against rosy worn wood.
Near your hands, coffee and a clutch of poems
reflect light between bay leaves
and also their associated shadows,
kept to remind you of losing and lost
but distantly (like the familiar horizon
every morning composed of trees),
allowing you a breaktime quiet
a load off your soles,
hair down and feet ― up.


Wake to an ocean fog
come a hundred miles inward.
Wrap your body in textiles (shades of gray)
and do your best to remain invisible
while you walk through a new-lit
universe. Your neighborhood
(old Datsun, tire swing, terra cotta planters)
like your eyelashes now, is covered in tiny grains of water
harvested from the sea this very night.
Unexpectedly, at the same time as this blue mist
subdued every shadow, deepened every green,
the yellows switched on, a low but steady current
rilling their veins with light.
A spire of limbs and leaves remembers
the pillar of fire. In open spaces, yellowed grass of summer
becomes a carpet of gold.
And sunflowers, heads just bent in thought
and prayer, are brighter than any porch light
left burning ’til dawn.



Two years ago I set out to become a reading, researching, writing, submitting member of the literary journal community. Armed with dozens of advisory statements that even a good writer should expect to submit scores of pieces before any were accepted, I determined to stick with it until a real-live print journal (not associated with me in any way, like my college’s literary annual) printed one of my poems.

The goal was reached with the Winter 2015 edition of Hotel Amerika.

So… What now…?

Not Roughing It

You know it’s gonna be in the Top Three when you walk a few steps from your campsite and see this (first photo), and while you’re sitting there getting your mind boggled someone comes along like this (second photo) and says, “I brought you coffee.”

IMG_0144 IMG_0148

In an unpaved 18-site campground in Tahoe National Forest, my first tent-camping session of 2015 commenced with small rain squalls (anticipated). Site #5, noted “good” on a quick drive-through two years previous, turned out to be “supremely awesome.” Just yards from a creek that served as our water source (with an upstream aspen-lined view), set back from the rest of the campground, trees perfectly situated for first-rate tarping of table, tent, and fireside… We celebrated with Reuben sandwiches, cheese-crisped and piping hot out of the pie iron; a bottle of Cidre Noir from a new favorite, Devoto Orchards; and perfectly fire-roasted corn-on-the-cob. This is what they call “definitely not roughing it.”

The next two days featured visitation of six lakes (including paddling on two), western tanagers, a hammock drift in the aspens, and cheesy grits with leftover vodka sauce and fire-roasted onions and mushrooms and sausages — which did not serve to lessen the euphoria.

We were ushered out by a charmingly growly sky, a concluding tiny-lake paddle, and a sighting of the most beautiful Land Cruiser known to man (“Yeah, it’s a member of the family… bought it 35 years ago.”).


Walking when

gently the naked hillside
begins to turn inside out
and fold into my body

the scoured slope above vineyards
raveling into the space under my right clavicle,
hewn of bone-dry dirt, tufted with vestiges
of summer grass, the gristle of a razed
and then untended ground

grizzled oaks gnarl toward my stomach,
blood vessels of gratitude ― but what humility
of packed ground they grow from, armor of earth
crusted hard over stone and bone and treasure

and from their feet a shallow ditch,
caked with roadside residue,
runnels down my torso
and subsides against my calf,
empty of all sympathies

somewhere a bird is calling, high and persistent,
against the dull stripe of an airplane’s engine
aloft in the space of my tibia, where the soul
has expanded against high cirrus clouds.

Negative Space

If a crow is the negative space
where an angel has just been
(not the shadow, as angels cast none)
then one would suppose the ravens
to be the sudden absence of seraphim,
(all this, of course, on the bold assumption
that angelic logic follows mine)
― a blackbird, then, an incognito angel-ette ―
and all their shadows (if they have them)
an ironic cousin, a holy darkness once removed,
a gap in a formerly sacred ray of light,
perhaps the most real holiness
one will ever find on this mottled, turning earth ―
and, finally, the long black wings
of a condor, two miles above my upraised face,
might just be the recent location
of the Holy Spirit himself.