farewell to a jay

blue wing tips

a dapper nod

the flush of tree

and brush applaud

his stellar crown

the late of day to

gray cement

he’s gone. long gone,

so long.


Poppied

We step out to see the poppies
peeled their pods, felted raincoats
flopping flays of raw orange-red;
they will never stay dry again.

If they knew it was the last time
landing limp-faced on the wet grass,
would they undress this fast?


Appearances

I
The owl’s gaze holds an old woman in bark-shadow sleeves
pouring handfuls of light. You reach in for a fill
turning warm palms naked under a speckled sky.

You tempt the stream into the yellow of your eyes,
the freckles of your skin and the mole on your back.
You fount into your bent toe bones and calloused thumbs.

You ask how the woman landed with the owl.
She laughs until her eyes get small
and shows you a rapid slide show.

II
The Jenkins’ garage first kiss
so swift it seemed accidental.
Semi-religious emergence as a
red-faced butterfly, semi-
sacred transformation onto
the semiotic windshield
of your ’64 Pontiac Tempest
screaming down I-35 next to
a wet husband accelerating
proportionate to six-packs consumed.

Your twenty-something self hovering
above the wreckage in a favorite
pinstriped skirt, falling
flat-tired on hot asphalt
west of your final destination–
a single bumbling deer fly
entering through the front door
exiting through the back.

III
You ask if the old woman is ghost or harbinger, fickle
nightmare or timeless spirit. Inside you fear
a future you is making an early appearance.


How the Sun

How did I make it
through a five night
hospital stay, through
burst and fever,
a night-watch brigade
circle of steaming
doubt. How did I sail
one full moon to the next,
one full sink of dirty
dishes to the next. How
did I plant the seeds
on time and water the annuals
so leaves wouldn’t fail
their spring. How did the same
sun that ripens sweet peas,
tulips, and zucchinis,
melts M&Ms onto the car seat
and bakes my front porch,
place one bright kiss
on my cheek, as if in sentience
knew need. How is it
just then, I could not stop
crying one morning in April
when all felt more
than good enough.

Granted, this is more like a journal entry than a poem, but I’ve included it in April’s collection of attempts at poetry because there is some core here I may want to revise later. Thank you for reading.


High Fruit

Bright fruit,
I would pluck you
from the reachless branch,
siphon pale
your incandescent orb

unclustered, you’d rise
and do, up through far
shuddering sweet gum tips.

I would have you
golden full, my hands
wrapped blue and lips
on orchid faded sky.

Refection’s face
in candle round, ardent
lobe and lucent light,
say you are more

than moon. I have mistaken
you for fruit, feasting
high with Venus.


Old Wives’ Tale

It is raining on Boat Street.
The tempo leaves soft grey residue
around thoughts I’d rather have.

A quiet angel landed
on the shingled roof of my storage shed.
We share the same view: crab grass splurging
baby slugs like raised bruises, raindrops.

Running a trowel through stringy roots
I catch myself clenching my teeth
looking for buried dish towels,
unearthing what I have yet to dismiss.


sacred aside

Daffodils seem careless
clustered alongside
gravel strewn tracks
where the only other green
is a pile of broken glass
half buried in coals.


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