pompom hat

the closet cleaning clothes boxing of your discards
meant to make me feel
lighter; the sadness not in the clothes
themselves nor even in this evidence of time
passing, sizes changing, personalities tried on and rejected
perhaps
a sense of failure in restraining consumption
in training care and appreciation
though the hat is not even the best emblem but merely one
of the last in the pile, the pompom salvaged for when
you decide to wear hats again
rather than this handful of ravaged spangled spandex
that was for one brilliant night a prom dress

opening

because in this closing of the year
i find another narrow door
to slip through—somelight
like you came into the world
all pent-up fuss and bother

more than true for once desire
to escape without admitting it—
sometimes
proclaiming it—

now these boxes and ribbons
become remembrance, smoothing over, wrapping up
and making pretty
ordinary, how mothers and daughters fit together,
spool apart

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.

brown marmorated stink bugs

as good as any nature center, your office
window. they touch striped antennae. just one,
in the beginning and how they got between
glass and screen and on the second story—
now you count four clinging up down right left, slow
with that deliberate creepy invasion intent.
they have the tell-tale spots and stripes
you can see very well with your hand-lens
of course they fly, but why? you keep watching

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Opening the blinds

When you were in the hospital
I went looking for something
in your dark cluttered room—
you wanted your calendar—
and found my last custard cup
full of coins and old batteries
on your nightstand and knew
you had never asked to use it
but just pulled it from the shelf
as if you had right to anything
since we’d let you into our home
perhaps; but I took the dish back
gave you an old butter tub in its place
and yes I felt small but had I not
felt small all the time

response in reverse to Auden’s “A Walk After Dark”

we find our minds turned
to minor categorizing, as of birds
or stars, planets, plants—
though we still would count ourselves young
we discover how set in our ways
and full enough of age

overfull of death and decay
(the broken always with us)
as another crisis enwraps the world—
we want to feel and do more
with no guilt about it
or being called hypocrite by the young

or worse, a Victorian, having passed
beyond the ability to impress them
with our decent, ordered lives—
so I find at dinner nothing
but exhausted, plummeting defeat
more clouds in the forecast

Playing with today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo.net. I used only the first three stanzas of Auden’s poem.

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cause nor remedy

the fine line between rain and snow
as the yoga station plays
between soothing and sentimental
to drown out house-noise, aggravation something
like the electrician’s spray-paint
between two newly planted grasses
over the struggling Joe-Pye, right up the birch
straight steady blood-pressure rise, fluorescent

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