the southern wind has kicked in
and by the sound of the creaks and groans
coming from the walls and windows,
it is trying its damnedest to be the big
bad wolf to my little stick house.
windchimes jangle wildly, flailing
themselves against the early spring front.
trees, newly blossomed, affronted by the tearing
away of their petals, bend and sway,
bowing into the wild air.
all the while, within the gale, I sit
still as the eye of a hurricane,
and the transmutation of flight.
‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet’
A nice lady at Social Security called
saying that there was a problem
with my name.
What was my legal name?
I began to give her all the options
that it possibly could be-
married, maiden, middle-
puzzle pieces to put in different order-
What is my name?
How many names have I had in my life:
daughter, sister, friend, wife,
employee, goof off,
maker of sandwiches and beds,
counter of numbers,
lister of lists,
nagger and necessary evil,
writer of words, poet of no renown,
sewer of buttons, holder of hands,
weeper of tears,
friend to angels
The scent rises from the damp cool earth,
sweet as my grandmothers perfume.
That smell that still permeates the drawer
of the old vanity
with its foxed mirror.
When I open it,
Our Lady of the Hyacinths,
in her pale lilac cloak suffused with perfume
and held high by fat cheeked cherubs,
like the little chalkware angels
that perched on her vanity top
with chipped wings
and bashful eyes.
I gently hold the heady blossoms
as I rake away the last of autumn’s leaves.
Sweetness lingers in my hands,
hands that are shaped like my grandmothers,
square palms with short fingers,
blessed by Our Lady of the Hyacinths.
You, most persistent of weeds,
first bloom of spring,
clump of heavy green foliage
and tiny pink horned blooms.
You are the favorite
of children’s first bouquet,
their tiny fists filled with your
pungent aroma, fresh sodded scent.
You are the bane of my garden
and lawn. You arrive when spring
rains so steadily, and thrive
in the cool April air.
You are everlasting and everlasting.
Out living all others, to return
from tiny seeds,sown in the damp
cool earth, to return next year,
henbit again and again and again.
From the edge of the woods
her face, alert, liquid eyes, so soft,
she is holding her breath
to make sure I will move on
and cause her no harm.
Our extinction is already assured.
Only 50 years ago, 2.7 billion populated this world-
now 7.7 and climbing with each second hand twitch.
We are consuming everything without a care in the world.
And the world is ready to shake us off like fleas,
to resume her natural earthly course
of morning sunrises and evening moons
and stars that will outshine anything we have ever created.
And I hope those soft liquid eyes will look again over this recovered land
and make her way in perfect fearless strides.
KODAK Digital Still Camera
i paint frescoes on the walls of the old church
where the congregation all say their prayers
out back under stone
inside stained glass shards
evenly before the shadow of the once and future
altars altered by dust and age
ashes to ashes
we all fall down
I like to sleep in a dark room
and there is nowhere dark tonight
with that great vernal moon moving about the night sky.
I can almost hear her, a subtle shirring sound
like I think the workings of an old swiss watch would sound,
tiny golden gears and levers and the motion of a tiny pendulum
gliding so softly back and forth.
I can feel the tidal pull of her deep in my body,
like I imagine a pregnancy would feel
in my old woman uterus-less body,
a body that has never felt that urgent pull
of life in a moonful belly, swollen with light,
never holding an amniotic sluiced child
seconds from her rising up, born moonfaced,
howling moonsongs of all animal young.
Moon light is gliding across the water
as easily as Jesus,
what was he thinking, this moon of a Man-God,
to walk across the stormy sea
and reach out to calm
moon pulled waves under his nailed soled feet.
Moon man, man in the moon, but I know she is a woman.
Only a woman walks from window to window
in the middle of the night,
checking on her children and pulling
her light cotton robe around her shoulders,
padding on worn through soled slippers
that make the faintest shirring sound
gliding so softly against the floor.