If You Pause

Deer trail crisscross my childhood path in
the green hills of California, folding
themselves into creases in the front yards of
Witchweed and Valley Oak.

In the damp far below, I hear the highway
hiss, its glissade slowed by the tug of spring grass.

It slithers on its belly ribs, flicks its tongue,
seeks the warmth of prey.

I feel my chest cage tighten, noose.
Things have changed in the adoration of
hunt, fill.

French farmers say if you pause in the
spring hills of Normandy, the Gold Plated
Yarrow will blind you like sun.


My Raised Amnesia Garden

I built it out of redwood, hot-dipped
galvanized bolts, half inch washers,
hexed nuts, 4×6 redwood corner posts.

I am almost sure it’s just for me, now
that it’s nearly complete.

It’s time to compost the raised garden.
Avocado skins, carrot top, forgiveness,
chicken manure, layers of moldy onion skin too.

And when the last frost has healed the warm
soil, at the first sign of spring, I’ll plant parsnips,
rows of lettuce, alongside turmeric, basil and a
blueberry bush, good for memory I am told.

I’ll sew my favorite, bitter sweet ginger, some
amnesia & avocado in celebration of you.

These I intend to harvest each season,
along with carrot, red radish––tomato.


Weather Report, Chance of Rain

Candy coated cold front, cloudy with a chance of
heavy rain from the leaky basements of someone’s
storied heaven above.

With predictability, the weight of the sky ruptures
glass needles full of Lilliputian thorns, hook sharp
for a high.

All of the sudden, your baby isn’t the same no
more, the other side wanted him––got his address,
his mail, mailbox too.

You say he was a good baby. No fault, not true.
Blame the spoon, tin foil, a cigarette lighter or two.

It’s late winter, in an empty park full of green swings
& chipped picked nicked tables. In a swollen rain
sick stream his coffin gonna swim, like a wood
thatched tomb with glassy cracked fins.

Today in matters of not, in the valley where
nothings grow, the stream fills the River of Doors,
continues its flow.

Though too late, the weather man forecasts raining
brass keys, not knowing he’s done used up all his in
and outs.

As his coffin enters the expanse of bay, Salacia
concedes a psalm of kings just off the rocky shores
at Carrickfergus. Dun stallions dressed in lacquered
black hooves fight current, pull him further to sea.

And now we can only wish them safe passage to the
palace of wings––smooth sailing to Areion’s
endless green fields.


Dan Cardoza has a MS Degree, lives in Northern California, and is the author of three Chapbooks, Nature’s Front Door, Expectation of Stars and Ghosts in the Cupboard. His work has appeared in, among others, Amethyst, UK., Ardent, Better Than Starbucks, California Quarterly, Chaleur Magazine, Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Foxglove, Frogmore Journal, UK, High Shelf Press, Oddball, Poetry Northwest, The Quail Bell, Skylight 47, Ireland, Spelk, Unstamatic, and Vita Brevis.