on this falling edge

tell your autumn self, this fountained day
of wordy unmusical frustration is nothing
to regret. ask your winter self, who will make
work of the past? what is your spring self
but an ideal to grope for, in sympathy
with the young? you let those hours go.
(see the spiders already moving in, rose-hips,
crickets?) no need to reinvent or be clever
in your acts of love. your voice—broken,
burning, sleep-rough, shrill—will be here,
a sun-pledge.

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contemplation 3

and had my soul chosen another body—
say, some minor medieval queen
who could hide volumes of overindulgence

beneath the armor of silky wool gown
or high headdress, who could stand
in stone tower, warm enough, overlooking sun-
swept river strewn pink with bloom

without sneezing at birch pollen—
it could therefore have fresh cherries
to tongue’s and heart’s content

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A fluffy little fantasy inspired by recently discovered allergies plus Hafiz, “Maybe One Like a Water Buffalo,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

“Your soul could have chosen a different kind
of body…”

driving home, in this drizzle

because I saw the opossum
improbably trotting across the road
and thought first of Piglet then parents
children helpless things all those
waiting-watching-waiting for loved ones
to come back and in that slow-flash
you hit your brakes swerved behind me
(is it raining out there? it’s raining here too)
waking not anger sadness superiority but
neither mere impatience
with your impatience

may pond, 2&3

17 may

which will I remember for you—
grass-grown gravel track away
from constant surge and pass of cars
in bright sunshine; eight ducklings
tumbling in still water beneath the bank;
willow’s huge grateful shade; one tractor
loud-plowing this last possible acre
among apartments, hospital, shopping mall

*

18 may

all ducklings aground
in hidden huddled shelter;
gust-ruffled water

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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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