2poemart_questionHow do you write poetry? my mother asks
so innocently, a true and curious question

and I don’t know how to tell her

that a door opens in the heart in a thousand
and three different ways

and something steps out — a platelet, presumably, the heart’s specialty —

and strikes up a conversation
with whatever random thing looks friendly
or sympathetic:

an LED lightbulb against an amber sky

the sound made by the feet
of an unknown creature in the ivy

one leg of the chair I am sitting in

and I tell a pen and it tells a paper and you read it
and wonder.

Okay Mom, you too, bye.




Here, this nest of my being, home
today gives hairline fractures
in a noncommittal mirror —
a scrub jay in tidy morning suit
deceived by a lump of compost,
a single red salvia blossom
haloed in mid-morning sun —
dissatisfaction edging every gift
of imminent arrival, every parceled
named and pasted endeavor
slated for tomorrow —
as if Monday were an excuse
for soul-fog, for turning the eyes
and wasting time, time after precious time
adrift in that listless mirror

On a Daily Basis


The thought of it is what one believes,
the nail that has found a 2×4:
its voice, and a place to stay.

You can hang your coat on that.
Your hat, your panties, even
an oversized black plush bathrobe
whose sleeves are always tumbling down around wrists,
sodden with stripes of honey and orange juice.
The dishcloths from Ikea are thin and sickly,
though their performance in-sink
is perfectly serviceable.

Still there’s the thought of it, or at least
— the thought of the thought of it
or the memory of the voice that spoke the thought of it in the mind
— or the residue of the memory of the thought of it,
and the synaptual path that one might take
to get there again,
which is what one believes.
Which is the great difficulty
of hope.


Today I met the universe
at a wobbly table I never finished painting
with tea growing tepid and a pile of tissues
catering to a small inflammation that vacations
in the squashy recesses of the body
and also bewitches the weight of my arms

having nothing better to do, I test it
like a four-year-old
stretching one hand and then the other
out into the room, feeling
for molecules
as I palm the atmosphere in arcs
with added gravity, the press of hydrogen atoms
like a first-time visit, unwell but marveling

the certain magic of a head-cold
to revert one’s years,
a small and petulant human who can suddenly
feel space against her drifting fingers, who thus pressing
gently with eyes shut encounters
a thin wrinkle, a ruffled slender thickness in the air,
a place of curve, suspended flight, a seamless
congregation of universe’s fragments that greets her
willingly –
and is shocked to find that previously
she would have passed it hardly recognizing
even its family name:


Household Spells

The magical solo unhysteria of chemicals
wherewith to remove so effectively the geographical
universes of rust and reorganize the construction
pattern viscosity of the external nature of
an old tin trunk, once brown and now decidedly

The spiraling speed circle perfection of the downward-facing drill bit,
effortlessly silken muscle machine concentrating swift
alacrity upon the spinning entry of the screw,
the hole, the screw and the hold and
thereby we assemble with such serendipity
the whole of this or that.

The window, how it opens, that which was already an opening,
and opens again, with the simplest lift
of the simplest latch and the slightly squeaky slide
in its silver trough!

And me, sitting in sunlight and goose calls
and the little wash of distant traveling motors,
denim’d posterior symmetrically stationed
on a thrice-recycled dining chair
I once reupholstered in a scrap of golden floral
and my hands half zombie-like before me, fingers outstretched,
exerting rapid small pressures on black squares of plastic
which reply with such brief moving-away
and then stopping, after which the letters flow
onto the white page simulated into my eye
from a spotty Toshiba screen,
myself nothing more than a hair
in the bristle brush of magic
domestic, commonplace, reticulated
with time and expectancy
and the spending of both in exchange
for being alive.

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.