Egret

Small eyes of bright dark glass, brighter than beetles crawling through infinite grass.

Tall and white as the flower beneath my window that opens each day and disappears each night. You move so fast.

I must step out for a better view. The bloom doesn’t mind…why do you?

{National Poetry Month is here. I will try to write a poem every day for the month of April. This is possibly one of those quantity over quality situations. There may be typos…

I don’t know if I will be able to publish a poem every single day, but I would like to at least attempt to write one.

This poem was inspired by the “early bird” warm-up prompt on March 31, 2020 at NaPoWriMo.net.}

Cold Front

When a cold front arrives,
it’s conspicuous.
Whole trees sway.
Leaves and chimes are moved to music.

Cats and coyotes cry
at dawn. They sound
like children in peril.
Or demons.

I am a prisoner watching
from morning’s window.
Listening to the cries
of the lost and hungry.

Slipping out of blankets,
I am grounded
on a floor of ice.
Foggy but steady,

I step in slow motion
toward my daily routine—
silent and desensitized,
in striped fuzzy socks.

World Wind Chart for July August & September. Figure 144 from Admiralty Navigation Manual Vol 1 (1938)

Dead Ends {a haibun}

Clouds make the January sky darker than it should be for five o’clock, and the temperature has been dropping all week.

After finishing a steaming cup of tea, it’s time to face the evening traffic. I wrap my turquoise scarf twice around my neck. A dull day deserves a bright color.

Tonight is the night.

I haven’t cut my hair in almost three years.

But it’s a new year. A new decade. I am ready to let go of dead ends.

And begin growing again.

Long, cold commute…
Running warm fingers through wet
shoulder length curls.

Spectacle {a haibun}

img_3462
[Photo by Ganeshrg, Wikimedia Commons]

When dragonflies swarm, people stop what they are doing and watch. They call their friends over. They take photos of themselves surrounded by a blur of wings.

This is what happened one day at work.

You couldn’t walk outside without bumping into them. For twenty minutes, all anyone could talk about with any passion was a gathering of dragonflies.

Even people who bolt outside every day with their mind on cellphones or cigarettes or any number of urgencies, even the distracted and the burdened, were compelled to observe.

I sat at my desk watching the dragonfly watchers. I had noticed the creatures days ago when there were only one or two. My desk has a window view.

No one paid them any attention back then, when they were so small in number.

Two dragonflies sew
the seams of clouds, moving slow
across my window

Intention

warm, muted light
a quiet evening
a chance to read
the words of poets,
the soft weight of a book
in my hand,
to feel with intention,
a time for order
and safety to roam
as if earth were a memory
and mind a home

{I never did get to read that evening.

I wrote this poem.

As soon as I typed it up in WordPress, the app glitched.

I panicked.

Unfortunately, the rest of that beautiful evening in August was spent chatting with tech support.

And it turned out that all I needed to do was uninstall and reinstall the app.}

Patterns {a haibun}

There is uncertainty in the growth of living things. But there are also patterns.

All day the leaves were in motion. Now the pelting rain is here and they are still. Branches are crooked things, yet they are beautiful.

There are hints of perfection in the geometric shapes of cells and wings and flowers and fruit. And there is certainty in death and birth.

end of storm…
watching the rain get thinner
eating birthday cake

The Vines {a haibun}

I step outside my front door at sunset, stooping to pick up a loose paper. It is wet with rain, and the writing is smudged. The handwritten words sink in: “Please clean vines off home”. It is signed by the property manager. He gives me one week to comply.

There are no vines to my left or right. Grumbling, I walk around to the back of the house and discover the offender. It stretches from ground to roof, weaving its way through the slats of vinyl siding.

How will I reach that height without a tall ladder? What if I fall standing on something? I do not have the proper cutting tool. There is no one to help me. It is getting too dark to see.

That night, I cry softly. How did the vines grow so tall so fast? Would I need to hire someone? I imagine the stubbornness of the vines–their thickness, their invasiveness, their resistance.

Hot summer morning…
kitchen scissors snipping vines–
one by one they fall.

Wealth Management

Need a safe room?
For diamonds? Family heirlooms?
For gold and guns?
Deeds?
Winning lottery ticket
to hide from fawning relations?
Rare paintings?
None of these?

Unless they blind you,
or cut off your hands,
or put you in solitary,
can’t you still make
a cup of tea for pennies?

Until they set up a Payday Loans
where the library used to be,
can’t you always find good books?
Pens? Paper?
Opportunity?
Can’t you wake to sunrise?
Watch it set?
Listen for the winds of change?
Pet a cat?
Smell the coffee?
Forget?

{It’s still poetry month…and although I did not write 30 poems, I did read and write more poetry than last month, so that’s something.

This was inspired by another great Real Toads prompt: Write a poem using questions, and consider answering them. I decided to write the answers in the form of questions also…}

Healed

A child is standing in a gilded church
staring at the backs of strangers
all crowded together
in heavy winter coats,
hands by their sides,
until they make the sign of peace.

She silently mouths the words
to the hymn she knows by heart,
but is too shy to sing aloud–
We hold a treasure, not made of gold…
She is thinking about school,
about a girl in her class
with bright, orange-gold hair.

“It’s red, not orange!” the girl snaps,
and shows off her new necklace
from Hawaii. And the child wonders
why she can’t have hair like that–
like the color of volcanic fire.
Why is her own hair so brown?

The voice behind her is a tenor.
The priest is wearing purple–
the color of royalty.
The gold felt banner by the altar reads: Celebrate!
Her hair is brown like the pews,
like the soft, leather kneelers.

Earthen vessels…She mouths the words.
Her hair is the color of earth,
the color of the ceramic jug
in the corner of the basement
covered with dust and daddy long legs.
Wealth untold…the hymn says.

“I am not worthy,” speaks the congregation in unison.
And for one moment, the child feels worthy.
Because none are worthy.
And she joins in this time, on cue,
“But only say the word…
and I shall be healed.”

[Communion, from The Hours of Catherine Cleves]
{Linking to dVerse for open link night. The final words of this (autobiographical) poem are a bit strange, unless you’re a Catholic. Here is a good explanation. Here is a link to the hymn, Earthen Vessels: https://youtu.be/IAZhIw49ULc }

Morning Ghazal

I take a mind-puzzle from my dreams.
I work it out slowly, silently in my soul.

I lie still, while choreographed images–
like shadow swimmers–form patterns in my soul.

I read the news that feeds me need-to-knows,
and all I don’t know makes a hollow in my soul.

I analyze a thousand perspectives,
turning them over and over in my soul.

I pray holy words–personal, not corporate–
I am imperfect, and I know better in my soul.