life is the network, 2

broad summer is no time for poems
not with sunflowers nodding, laden
garden spiked with color
dart of wings and cicadas singing

rather, all this haymaking over dreams
while the sun shines

some poetic justice though, heart-pause
for rabbit nestlings in the carrots

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…and huddles in the marigolds

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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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Swans

No wildness here. Fountain, nest-box, feeder—
the pond itself—all man-made. We walk across
the hospital car park, half-empty in summer evening
with its surround of tame plantings, neat
golden daylily mounds, cerise scentless roses
bricks, benches, sidewalk. We can still see the highway
stoplights in their cycles, but ignore the traffic
all faceless humanity; we are only this family of three
and we have come for the swans. We pause
at the prescribed seat, admire them at a distance
with their attendant ducks. Our girl tugs us onward
and the male now sails his wings, drifting close
stern-eyed, closer still, huge and real and fearsome
but here are the young with their mother, pearl-gray
slight, arching their necks, sipping the water
learning majesty, teaching joy in small doses

 

This Garden

1.
in its first summer, I’m fighting
gravity and grass, plus
the sun so much fiercer in blessing
and insects unforetold

2.
my camouflaging clothes
made for errands, patio-reading
anything but weeding
require constant hitch and catch
on the tiny cartilage of rose-thorns
the ones I can’t see

3.
I’m not looking for much
beyond this silence but I say
next year all the greens go in boxes
next year a promise to myself
to my seedlings

4.
sacrificed to the spirits of wildness
(as far as they go in a finch’s song)
my orderly plans thrown cloudward
with not enough regret

5.
the back of my neck like old leather
even my wrists and feet
brown as long-distant childhood

the worm-quest

to break through this green glaze of sameness—
small boxes with neat shrubs, hamburger-plain—
to the good brown dirt beneath, remembering our souls
built from lumps of clay prairie-stirred

wanting a spice, a song, a scent like your new penchant
for sriracha; a jolt, a leap into the vault beyond
this daily circuit, this merely driving
up and down arteries quickly clogging

they say if you’re not growing, you’re dying, but
I’ve been drying on this rack for years, home-grown
herbs medicinal to my kitchen motto: sauce on everything
until I become mere compost for the roots of the tree of life

 

Thanks and apologies to Jane for this borrowing of the worm quest.