Wednesday, October 10, 2012


To say it’s all, your words become a song
a rill that runs through dappled ground and trees
I twist it, warp it darkly, turn it bleak:
mistakes fall broken, hopeless, choked despair.

Blood amber, slow and hopeful, conjures beads
of patience orchestrated; weeping pines
hold conference, deep séance through the fell
harsh winter of this dance through shattered spring.

Rachel Westfall
October 10, 2012  

Friday, September 14, 2012

A bad day

Swollen mushrooms, white caps
are sliced murderously by a swinging, errant cleaver. The butcher

is angry again, fought with his wife again, was mocked
by a gaggle of rowdy kids, street urchins
all laughing, skinny, basted
with greasy dust. 

Caps severed, gills fly
helplessly in the wake of slamming steel, spores
drifting voiceless through
the sterile vacuum 
of the butcher's stolid kitchen.

Rachel Westfall
September 14, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012


A flurry, tearing seed from hull
A flutter, a frenzy
Must hurry
Hurry hurry
Snow is coming, Snow is coming, 


in cold silence
but for a small, steady drip
groaning and shattering cold
over frozen, mud-green needles
needles of ice, needles of glass
needles of mindless
cruel cold

Rachel Westfall
September 9, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The demon in stripes

The demon in stripes
has run amok, flashing teeth
and slashing tail, rending flesh
and mounting screams
with full abandon.

In his wake, a girl cries,
wrist stitched and arm gored
for she was not
his intended victim.

The demon only strikes 
in mischief or revenge,
but sometimes,
his teeth slip.

Now he returns, sated,
to a purring, nestled ball
in a warm and sacred enclose
of dappled sunshine.

Rachel Westfall
July 11, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012


The clutter of a decade in a torrent of  rain, 
'Free Stuff' sign scratched in purple marker
on the back of an old worksheet, pinned 
to the dog-eared loveseat with scratchy
tartan cushions, the sign
weeping mascara tears
into the crease between
red and brown checkered wings

Rachel Westfall
July 9, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012


Wait for it

The pounding, screaming of the ship's wake
through cavities of stone, sinuses riven
into bone
clefts of granite
pores of marrow shrieking
under pressure of the song.

Wait for it

Through the hush
through the silence that lies, 
lies agonized over its truthlessness at the crippled, seething
heart of the storm.

Rachel Westfall
July 6, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I'm so mad there's a dog
barking and slavering inside me.

Mad as a hatter
Mad as a lunatic
Roaring mad as Smaug after someone stole his pots.

I'm so mad the kids have run and hid
the cats are all wary
and even the Jehova's Witnesses
are staying away.

But they might have marked my door.

In the honour of all
who I've chased away,

Let me name this tantrum.

I think I shall call her
Tropical storm Jezebel.

And all shall tremble in her wake.

Rachel Westfall
July 5, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


With a sailboat inked on his skin
he sat straddled over a pylon, 
old wood reeking of creosote and summer heat
face drawn and weather-beaten as an old peach.

This ship was made for sailing
or so the song goes, when one's life adventure
is summarized so neatly by a three-mile trip
into town on a noisy bus, passengers
so numbed by the heat the flies reign over all.

A cough and a hork, a crust for the lurking gulls
and a kick to send a ground-out butt on its way
for here comes the ride

Rachel Westfall
July 3, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ode to a squirrel

Why do your tailbones shiver,
your teeth rumble
a bitter staccato
with a rap, rap, tap
on rough bark
with nails sharp, movement
a spiral inversion
swaying with vertigo
to tease this curmudgeon
of an old dog?

Sing a song of squirrel
and with a jolt
the canine brain jerks loose,
unmoored and shaken
free out the left ear
to roll away and land worthlessly
in a stack of cast-off seed cones
already stripped of their 
proteinaceous worth.

Rachel Westfall
July 3, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bird brain

Swallow said,
as she darted by
on a subtle wing,

But Grosbeak told me,
seed tucked securely in her left cheek,
eye glinting just a little
with mischief:
Just watch.

Watch the wind swirl and draw dust
down, throwing grit in your eyes. Watch the needles
laugh their way off spindly limbs, a dance
and a shudder until they all
come raining down.

And so I watch.

Rachel Westfall
May 28, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Out with the trash

I’m on the curb watching
the swallows dive and dart through
the cul-de-sac, a suburban legend:

This is where dreams die.

Bag it up, and gruff men
will come whisk it away, sanitary,
in the heat of the day

unseen but for a slight shift
of a lace curtain, a dusty shroud
for a shadowed picture window.

Rachel Westfall
March 23, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One day, revisited

Here is a fun little love-poem, in the spirit of Valentine's day. I'm sorry I didn't have the heart to write a new one. Maybe one will come to me, yet.

One day

I want to be the bed

you fall into
at the end of your journey

not a motel bed, me--
stale and generic,
with a stiff polyester bedspread
and magic fingers if you insert a quarter

I would be
an apple-pie bed, dry and warm
sheets fresh off the line,
quilt plump and waiting
smelling of no other
but you

Rachel Westfall
December 25, 2008

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


My lute cracked
when I saw the memory
of your beloved face
echoed in the river.
She still plays the same old songs,
but now with a rasp,
a smoke-and-gravel hue,
the grief of flamenco.

Our dream child
is a tattered maid now, her lullaby
twisted by our fate
as a basket-weaver binds the rushes
that grow along the riverbank
in weeping, boggy strips,
the low lament
of the Soleá.

Rachel Westfall
February 7, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012


In the dreams of a dragon
heat sings, fire, crackling bones
a shimmer of scales and the smell
of hot mammalian fear,
a flash of prey refracted
sixteen times over
by faceted lizard eyes

When dragons dream, they call down
all seven senses, no mere technicolor:
sapphire, black and rose,
when the tongue is flooded over
with scalding feral blood, and the south-wind
draws a winged membrane with a
~ whoomp ~
into fullness, lean and proud

Rachel Westfall
January 13, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Once you swam with me

I could write about how the night air
moved and shimmered, enveloping
the polluted river in a silky fog.

How our skin itched and crawled when we
pulled ourselves up onto the rocky bank,
and rubbed ourselves raw
with stiff, line-dried towels.

How our clothes clung and rolled up
against our clammy skin as we tugged them on,
and how we scrubbed our arms energetically
to try and tame the flocks of goose pimples
that hovered there.

I could write about who you were, then,
or where you've gone.

Or I could write about nothing at all.

Rachel Westfall
January 4, 2012