bird, dog, cat

it happens
from time to time, a mystery
small bird in the house

junco wild-flight hurl at glass door
falling stunned; sparrow
parked on pantry, peering
black-eyed over the molding

how it spent a night in the mixing bowl
how I caught it in the curtain, heart beating
flutter in my closed hand
how the dog whined and pointed
how the cat had grown bored long since
the gift already given

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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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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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(the daughter visits)

and I’m thinking of our slow spring days
fascination with eaglet, cygnet
all unfinished things in leaf or on wing

the pleasure in daily checking
pea plant, lettuce bed, sunflower sprout
until that startling morning

we see all is grown beautiful, glossy, wild
shining, confident beyond need
or desire of our shaping

 

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