Listen to a reading of this poem

No Need

and for once, it’s the bones dissolving.
My heart breathes hard, inflamed,
no need for fearing sleep, or death.
Look, my fingertips are wheat.

–Barry Dempster, “My Nights are Taken Up with Stars”

A great filmmaker brings up dreams.
In dreams, he says, things happen
without strain. We sing and dance
extremely well and swim the butterfly
like boneless angels.
One is accepted by, and is accepting,
of strangers and the dead.
Dreams swim among stars,
trust their skeletons’ yearning,
so for once, it’s the bones dissolving.

For once, the body floats
and the mind goes
quiet and bright.
I am myself and I am no one.
What I have wasted disappears.
All those I have blamed
are born inside me.
The field is full of wildflowers
yet I know none of their names.
My heart breathes hard, inflamed

by bursts of white,
purple, needles
of green. A dream
becomes a promise,
and a promise pulses
with every breath.
Art is made just by walking
through fields rolling into spring.
As my father would say, “Elizabeth,
no need for fearing sleep, or death.”

when I crawled into his bed crying
in the middle of a bad dream
where spiders gave birth behind
my eyes and nothing was green.
“They won’t go away,” I said, and he
would stroke my hair and repeat
until I drifted off –
“Look at my hands,” as I lay
against his heartbeat,
look, my fingertips are wheat.

published 2004

publisher BuschekBooks

category The Thing with Feathers

Full list of Poems


Like a River Flows



< >


An Offering

Controlled Burn

No Need

April Addictions

Some Functions of Poetry

Some Functions of Snow

Digging Out

My Sweet Love


Have you started your seeds yet?

Palmer Rapids



The Thing with Feathers

Hope Rides High

Badminton and the Seven Deadly Sins

Ode to Milk

Said the River – One

Apologies 1

Left over Papadoms

Grocery Store Tulips (two versions)


First Smiles


Elegant Death


When you Love

I Wanna Fly