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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this a.m.

cleaning frenzy downstairs the ruckus
of laundry and drowning perfume

birds dart tree to tree unable to settle
on this branch or that much less thought

but the pair of ducks on the neighbor’s roof-
peak: they stand, step closer together,

pause, step again, coyly dip their heads—
my half-cup of coffee still warm

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The Coming of the Dog

So. In a low season, tag-end of winter
and time on our hands (an illusion), did we
feel two teens still at home, two rodents, a cat
not enough? Not that our love couldn’t stretch so
far. Did we need to give without guilt or fear
of spoilage? (a softening too soon into
grandparent-mind, accepting these unfinished
offspring as imperfect, and by our own fault.)

We begin again. Well. She knows a few things
about respecting furniture, sleeping through
the shortening nights. But see, how she needs me
and how I fail again in wrestling, running,
being best friend. Don’t say, unconditional
love. I am more than proof against those brown eyes,
their eloquent pleas.

A life history in suburban plantings

We’re a flower-hungry people, so you know “bloom where you’re planted”: from that land of live oak, bluebonnets, prickly pear you grow in a neighborhood draped with ivy and crepe myrtle. Rooted shallow and wide. Your own first garden unshaded, broad-bladed grass framed by marigold, vinca, mint.

What root traces your steps

to prairie snow, sugar beets, lilac by the door? The spreading apple tree, dandelion spring. Your first taste of hate for forsythia follows to southern pine forests, thin wood at playground’s edge, understory ferns’ moist heat.

What love for a place you never belonged?

Thinking to settle: the huge rain-flopped peony, ants swarming on the buds, short burst of cerise and the cheerful yellow rose. In back, a fragrant heirloom shrub (so your children shower you with petals).

What root graces your steps

to a place of language you can’t speak? Though you can hear its nature through the soles of your feet. Rosenbogen wreathed in pink, balcony view of trellised garnet-red, scented cream-peach Vorstadt walk.

Such love for a place you never belonged.

Now you are here, tamed by hosta, daylily, boxwood hedge. Your roses true knockouts (though bees don’t care) gleaming ruby in the light. Heart-shriveled, craving green-wild and the overthrow of mulch.

What root tangles your steps

and what blame if you guard yourself from sinking right in? You’re the dandelion fluff blown by any new wind…

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your heart is not home

you didn’t know you could be lovesick
for a place, two years on
and no cobble-walking, tender for streets

even crosswalk signals; so when your mind sits light
on the task in hand, stitching waves
on ocean waves or maybe curled winter winds

you’re startled to see just that turn
of the Holzweg, the shop with wine-glass
windows, outdoor stacks of rugs

was it the sudden sun-glint on your cheek?
all your pieces wrapped in a rush
still swathed in paper, waiting