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Fruit Box Castles: Poems From a Peach Rancher’s Daughter

Writers paint with words and the universe is their palette. Artists tell stories with paint, paper, clay, stone, wax and what ever the universe provides.

I have always been called to express myself through both writing and art. On these pages you are welcome to explore my writing and visual art. I am excited beyond words to share with you my new book of poetry, Fruit Box Castles: Poems From a Peach Rancher’s Daughter available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Please follow this link to pre-order my book.

Thank you for your support of small presses and my writing. Here is one of my favorite poems in the book I hope you enjoy it. It evokes these summer days! I believe you will find poems in Fruit Box Castles that will take you for a walk through an orchard, a hike in the mountains, an afternoon in the garden, a conversation with a tree, all places where secrets are revealed and the telling of them heals.Read what others have said about my book it. The book’s official release date is October and I will be happy to sign your copy. I had hoped to have book launches with peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream and of course proseco, but these events will need to wait due to Covid-19 . Please sign up below to hear about virtual readings and the very large gathering I hope to host in the future. Stay safe.

This is the front cover of my book. The photo, taken by Mike Pickering is of me at O’Neill Castle in Northern Ireland where my ancestors lived. The photo, I took is of a fruit stand out of Marysville, CA.

Bountiful ( first published in Poydras Review)

Mom midwifed rows of freestones
Late July we’d sit under umbrellas of the walnut tree
peeling pink ribbons of skin
release pits in a curl of wrist

These filled canning jars clicking and clacking in caldrons of water
pale circles of paraffin floated on bountiful mouths
November we’d yank the light’s chain
creep down the grouchy stairs
to the basement crocheted in spider webs
scatter whatever, behind steamer trunks that stored secrets:

kimonos wrapped in tissue paper, waiting an occasion,
the dragon tea pot, a formal table,
helmets pitted by shrapnel, uniforms grown too small
letters in cursive, a wedding gown— a first mistake;

On one wall summer saved in jars: green beans, pickles,
yellow hearts of peaches;
Mom stopped canning and I could never fit into her waders
use the watery screen of an I pad to recipe words—
can memories–picked ripe in season

honest labor.

While I Kneel in My Yard Planting Foxgloves


giving thanks to spring, the Mother’s grit under my nails;
My neighbor says my yard is a meadow landscape.

He, with his minimalist crushed granite creation dotted with potted
drought tolerant plants make me feel a little ashamed of my weeping shrubs—

the mallow skirting the ground blooms of violet centered stars;
His tub of bluebells, a fall gift, ring when the wind comes up

surprise the bridle wreath whose petals salt mulched earth;
Dutch iris sprung up over night with the of lengthening sun’s rays
warrant broad- brimmed straw hats.

I vow to plant Red Buds, milkweed and Pipevines, host plants for swallow tails and monarchs, natives conserving our scarce water; honeysuckle and Lilac pond my eyes with tears

But still I cultivate too much sweetness that spurs memories of funeral homes—
loved ones laid out as is my people’s custom.

I never much liked these displays— my niece looking like a large puffy doll,
drowning does this to the body the coroner said, sixteen, with strawberry lips
and cheeks to match– only her hair looked alive as summer wildfires.

I wonder how Stephon Clarke looks across town. 
How did they stitch closed the bullet holes? Can such loss ever be filled?

How did they make him look handsome as the church usher,
the proud father, a mother’s son, a brother?

Not the gunned-down bullet-ridden grandson hunted into
the sanctuary of his Grandma’s spring yard.

Do his children kiss his cheek to find only the cold of winter? 

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