She believes God was in the trees.

“The bones of the dead
are excavated, scattered, and sold.
Shrines are blasted from sacred
rock in the name of patriotism.”
-Tiffany Midge “Night of the Living Dead”

She follows patterns of shadows
that dance across the wall
lengthening dusk toward the
closet, where high on a shelf she rattles
the bones of the dead.

Culled from forest floors
each bone holds the secrets of
stardust tracing lines within a void.
She misses the trees
where patterns of shadows, like bones,
are excavated, scattered, and sold.

Her dad said trees were sentinels of time
always watching. She believes that trees
held stories forever remote and inaccessible
bulldozed by the highest bidder,
Shrines are blasted from sacred

places where patterns of shadows
no longer fall. She opens the box of bones
and inhales the forest floor grateful for
secrets and shovels. Grateful for her bravery
against the movement to destroy what’s gone
where every lie was a
rock in the name of patriotism.

~bw 22

Day Three

Glosa One


His teeth reel her in to reveal secrets in the shallows of her tongue.
Tracking his soft-lipped mouth, her fingers sigh;
her mask collapses.

(a woodpecker taps, a blackbird cries)

Radiant and emerging, they feed each other rivers and bones.

Brenda Warren 2015

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Echoing Hope

Ancient grains of hope, stories survive
within the hollow bones of crows.

Legends splinter, escaping through cracks
as caws collapse against night.

Did you hear that?

Old crows caw history’s quilt, stitching stars to clay
somewhere between marrow and loft
where hearts crawl open
echoing grains of hope.

Brenda Warren 2015


Visit The Sunday Whirl


Swarming through summer
words without sound
heel toe their way across
needle and stone,
log and bone,
rotating forests
and flushing creatures,
feathered and formidable
out of magic’s cauldron
onto passion’s page.


Fluttering throaty calls
lumber around deadfall
where shadows form a hum
that hangs fear between ears
storming insistence
spreading a buzz
while words without sound
heel toe retreat
striving to thrive in silence.

Brenda Warren 2014

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Let My Finnish Bones Sweat

finland 1968 george f mobley

Finland 1968 George F Mobley

Nothing matters but the rain
beating glory from balloons
driving our clothes heavy
in sheaths against our cemetery sides.

We came to heal,
we came to mourn,
all in all we came newborn
to the possibilities your deaths open.

Later, saunas will welt it out of us
until we’re left with all we’ve got
a collection of pebbles
and livestock bones
enough for some

strange for others.


Brenda Warren 2014


Thank you Tess, and The Mag, for ekphrastic inspiration.

Between the Roots of Things

Dwelling between the roots of things
the body rotted, devoid of clothing,
wrapped in a bright flannel shroud
jellied in folds, moistening the soil,
an energy exchange.

Waking beneath winter
baby’s breath grew like weeds
ripening summer in white ripples of rare sweetness
defended against an age of debauchery

that left only bones and threads of brilliant cotton
to feed the tiny white flowers
breathing toward eternity.

Brenda Warren 2014

Thank you to my poet friend Elizabeth for the inspiration to keep writing, and the words provided on Day 14. She wrote a poem that I spring boarded into this piece. You can find hers here:  Down Beneath the Roots of Things.


Last Chance Stampede and Fair

Invisible in this heat,
our breath threads through the air
and we expect pillars of salt to rise,
casting shadows where our shoes
melt against gravity’s pavement
connecting us to history’s
sweaty landscape of fry bread and
Ferris wheels.

Fresh horseshit sends us
a breeze of sweet pungency, and
our eyes connect in smiles
as we sense our plan’s fruition,
then head to the barn to breed.

We take this last chance before war
fetches you again, like a dog
lays claim to its bone.

Brenda Warren 2013

Note: Every summer of my youth, I attended The Last Chance Stampede and Fair in my hometown. Other than the title, the piece is fiction. It started surreal, and worked its way into something else. As our poet friend Catherine McGregor says, sometimes poems have minds of their own. Indeed they do.

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Bird Woman Falls is Weeping


Bird Woman Falls ~ Glacier National Park ~ June 28, 2013 ~ Photo by Brenda Warren

Bird Woman Falls is Weeping

As light bends shadowed lanes across glacial faces,
my insignificance tumbles thoughts of self
through the hollow bones of birds
that hop in puddles through highway tunnels.

Unstable walls of ice edge stretches of the road,
forcing fallen streams of winter across our drive.

Beyond the vast and wild expanse,
Bird Woman Falls weeps showers of diamonds
over stone cliffs into a small steep meadow,
a glittering emerald island,
greened by melting glaciers
that carve a hanging valley
to feed Bird Woman’s flow.

The highway pivots mountains left and right,
a dizzying dazzling retreat for cars Going to the Sun
to bear witness to Bird Woman’s weeping
on this road that bridges canyons to heaven.

Brenda Warren 2013


Visit The Sunday Whirl

after many tomorrows

A strand of tiny bleached vertebrae hang like pearls
around the crone’s sagging neck
each bone collected from a Montana forest floor.
Stones from Montana rivers line her linen apron pockets,
always cool against her knotted fingers’ skin.
Pieces of shell and feathers twist through her spindly white braid.

She sings songs of redwing blackbirds
and caws into summer’s long-stretched day.
Filaments of time tie her voice
to molecules of still sticky air.

As the crone listens,
a cardinal lands high in a sycamore tree
and lightning bugs begin their dance
reminding her of life’s boons.

A single crow circles,
screaming its beware to all who believe in evil.

Watching its art,
the crone lifts her face,
“Caw! Caw! Caw!”

Back and forth they call,
and the crone laughs, low and deep
settling herself on the banks of Riley Creek
where she knocks on Earth three times for good health
merging her cells with the gloaming.

A row of rodent bones catches her eye;
vertebrae winking white through dark swaying grass.

Brenda Warren 2013

Visit The Sunday Whirl.