Julie Choffel— A Portfolio of Poetry

That Ideas Change Everything

...mankind is challenged, as it has never been before, to prove its maturity and its mastery—not of nature, but of itself
Rachel Carson

that seeds float on the air across oceans often in the bellies of birds

that all travelers leave something behind

that every place is both a home and a road

that one minute the kudzu is in our hands and the next minute out of them

that a new landscape starts with a seed
           rendered swiftly into mountains of biomass, tyrannies of green

that on the same land someone once tried and tried to get anything to grow

that we’re always right between given and giver

that every effort is a question

that one time I took a flower to school for a boy I liked, and carried it around with me all day
           too startled by my own idea to give it to him

that I wondered if everyone thought it was for me, or did they just see through me
           to my crush, that bright and tall indigo iris coming back home with me

that later I learned an iris is also called a flag

that we might question what we set into motion and find our own selves moved

that this unmooring might find a new course

that otherwise we simply move towards death

that I only think of reincarnation when it serves me

that beauty repeats itself

that there are feats of engineering that look like enormous shrines

that a landscape undone is also called a mine

that we can never know all that we’ve changed and are changed by

that we are easily carried away

that neanderthal DNA shows up everywhere, which doesn’t tell us anything except
           we’ve always been moving around and sleeping together like strays

that at some point we awoke to tell each other about our dreams

that we communicated and made choices of consequence

that a romance is sometimes called a fiction

that it is natural to be surprised

that the cut-flower industry is exempt from most pesticide regulations
            and a major contributor to fuel emissions

that flowers were the beginning of sex on this planet

that our own seeds spread quickly

that our learning is slow

that some people learning a new word may try to pronounce every letter
           just in case that’s how it is said

that there are infinite ways to say a thing and we’ve only thought of a million

that we think we have one try

that radicle and radical both refer to a starting point

The Grain

As in sand – in an oyster

as in with or against
in binary thinking

or as a field of thought

but always the continuance
along hills and valleys
of difference

an old man stumbling
dissolving or pearling
breaking down or breaking into
the life

as in a life

a value of song, for example
a beloved voice, and our attempt to describe it
with other voices

novelty and introduction
the song tearing through
the culture thing

that swaddled us
and later
got under our skin.

Foraging, No River

In the string quartet when one violinist plucks one string
and the whole thing comes down around it.
Butterflies et cetera.

The cat uninterested in the same fox
that utterly retains our human imagination.

A dainty triangle in the air.

Remember when we used to talk about the future
but in a good way?

The ritual cars backfiring through the neighborhood.

That one cottonwood tree is some comfort to me
with its stories of other places.

Like the forest has also
been hedging its bets?

It does something incredible for people
to acknowledge their smallest works.

Rag and Bone

I’ve always wanted to be
Person Carrying Flowers

but it turns out, I’m a
I just like holding things

what if you met yourself halfway
because no one else could

going door to door
buying & selling

bits and pieces
crying spell, story, growth mindset

a touchable podcast
for the hard of feeling

hi there, all I’ve got are these fibulas
and a few soft things to cover them
having left all the weeds in the field, to thrive.