I envy the squirrels, who need no good government

snow clouds re-gather,
cardinals chirp, crabapples
bright against full gray
and seed feeder full—how else?
some give; others only take

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corrosion

suppose a life of acquiescence
makes its own chemical reaction
burning sulfur, acid,
oxidizing iron, the heart
that is not a stone
also subject to erosion

to want to obey
when the teacher says be yourself
who is that? a vessel
with fired-on satin-smooth glaze
or one of common clay that must chip and leak
all kinds of noise and emotion?

clearing the field

Hafiz says I must clear the rocks
if I am to have any good of this field
so I begin—to be ready
for some future sun-flushed spring

rocks of resentment and guilt
at feeling resentment and some pebbles
words to fling about because—
I think you should understand—
a bowl full of pebbles to explain
why I feel and all of the above

(tell me if there is a place to stack them all
a monument to self-help and decluttering)

here is the rock I have been curled under, closed
and we might someday have it for a signpost
to carve the hard harvest or what should we give
to forget this bitter year?

the rock where the top is not so big yet one digs
and digs and two strong arms and intent
are not enough to heave it out
don’t say God must think it’s good for you
for what shape was the rock that left this gaping hole

and the last black rock, glittering with something I should be
doing differently

Reading Hafiz, “So You Can Plant More Wheat,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

on having to give up cheese

and butter, of course, though
our great society has long figured out
how to do fake butter

so now I’m left with these questions—
what about goat? how do I mourn
the loss of ice cream and every breakfast casserole

should I go to the garden walk with wine and ____ ?
I suppose there might be crackers

and how could a Texas girl with even great imagination
(I’ve hardly that) fathom these long remaining years
without a single enchilada?

and certainly, why now?
when so much of the joy has already slipped

my hermit days march forward
with stiff arms and fists

Moldy

Maybe you shouldn’t have looked in here, after so many weeks

or months? to find your friends talking about God knows and eight or nine expired poetry challenges, that feeling

like skipping church for a year, then sitting in the town chapel singing Christmas carols with strangers—

didn’t you want to cry? and didn’t you stop yourself, a disciplined no? but listen, I’m telling you

yes: find what’s worth saving, a fresh heart beneath all that must

 

A long-lined acrostic dedicated to the long-neglected crew at Yeah Write.