cream paint today—Buntlack
in the German which reminds me
there’s no hurry, not for me
(rain sounds like peace and wind
can’t rush it away)
if you’re a little older than when
we first dreamed up this project
that only means your skill
and taste have improved
but then I wonder
(the geese fly over
again the rain sighs
if some twelve years of after-
adjustments have made you
want to leave these details
to me and should I be glad
you don’t mind?
we can’t be free of second-guessing
in any season
Gold coins strewn here, there
piles gleaming—birch and redbud
fling them, showing off
Crabapple shakes out
brown tresses; these red jewels
will do, firm-fastened
Spruce in winter green
stands cool by the fence, unswayed
by north-wind rumors
After the long farewell to beauty of face
when body also sighs, fades, frails
what is left to me is only this grace:
beauty to give in word and voice
You will know I have not quit my place
nor turned strident in the striving
but have found peace in this quiet, by choice
by ink-stained fingers, dirt under my nails
Firstly, and to my surprise
it gets me out of bed, mornings.
Planning the work—all this trim
cutting, paint, glue. What to do
while waiting for things to dry.
I wish I’d known sooner
not to keep these projects
out of sight, out of mind (spiders
gliding between rough-ridged
roof and basement window).
No, put it smack in the library
incongruously turquoise and yellow
in the mellow, bookish front room.
Cover the writing table with stuff
like paintbrushes, sandpaper, tape.
We said we would. We will.
From piles of unlabeled wood
like any noble endeavor, bit by bit
imperfect. You need to cheer
each day’s slight progress now
that we’ve stopped pretending
you care about construction.
Waiting for the decorating
you are here for color consults
to tell me when I have blue in my hair.
You think you can prepare
for sudden loss. The late call
all the what would I do if
and what will I do when…
Much like you pause in the dark doorway
before quick-crossing moonlit floor
launching into bed as if
the monster can’t reach his long hands
snatch your ankles, yank you under
plum-white, redbud, cherry pink?
How we were young then?
Webs sag with season’s
bounty, these crickets singing
spinners leaving home
Sunlight slants again,
yellow leaves sifted and dropped;
thyme droops, shrivels, spent
Summer spread to dry:
coriander, basil, dill,
fragrant seed by seed