In the Gloaming

Life and death kiss each other

a fibrous intimacy

stitched in our marrow

a bass vibrato serenading

the flora and fauna

of us.

So we love fiercely

briefly 

scattering our scent recklessly 

fireflies  lighting the path to one another.

Compass

 Lost between daylight and doom

I wander the crow-cleaved skies

their ink winging

rifts along my sightlines 

from inhale to exhale


I map the contours of their cacophony,

follow the blade of each wing

that splices the air 

a depthless shimmer

teasing my eye

a featherlike glimmer

of the breadth between prey and prayer


Solo Flight

Aloft, alone

with engine roar measuring my pulse, 

syncopating the whistle of wind to my breath.

Wide sky aerates my eye                                

and my worries are mapped below -         

a calligraphy of river wend                                    

glittering through the propeller’s arc

I pilot this curve of shadow and dapple

Between valleys and creases of

checkpoints plotted, 

parentheses inking rivers and roads.

I trace distances, plot minutes between before and after -

my prop parting the approaching clouds, 

my rudder dragging the dust of runways long gone

and I breathe, pendulous, light-headed, beneath canvas wings 

my compass swinging fore and aft, unsteady, uncertain.

Alone, held aloft by simple faith.


On the Wonder of Reaching 70


Old age

Tastes of memory,

-of snowflakes 

and Guiness -

frosty syrup softening 

December gray of hair 

and dreams

Warming waning bones.

Wrapped,

Tinseled,

Beribboned and bestrewn

In cloves and wistfulness

Wrinkling sated tongue with 

dusk’s sweet grief

A gleam on papery skin

-So thin-

that blood and breath

mingle in a singular sigh

So brief replete.


Winter song


Tiny Leaves, flit and flitter

spangling the sky with 

iridescent applause,

frost tinselling their jazz-hands.

A dainty calligraphy 

of delight,

despite 

winter’s piccolo glissade

where high-c gales

drift, like sifting leaves,

sliding down in measured cadence

until

bass notes muffle 

leaf-strewn ground

And icicles of light

Lift and lilt

in falsetto key,

clinging and singing 

between branches of

shredding trees

wind chimes of winter.

The Wrens of Regret

they come to us every day,

flitting and flapping, singing and winging

in constant endless streams of commotion

their numbers growing each morning

vexingly exponentially like the warning of

the algebraic certainty of the federal debt

they never rest 

their exclamation-point tails signaling 

squirrels, crows, hovering lovers

and a single rose blooming on a distant asteroid.

So here we stay

our what-ifs piling around our ears

with the insistent incessant persistent coming of the wrens of regret 

Childhood Monster

My brother warned me 

It - The Blob -

-shiny gloppy sticky jelly monster-

lived and breathed and oozed

behind my sofa,

just a second’s slime 

away from my tiny bed.

Night after night 

I cowered under cotton covers

and waited

-chest tight, eyes wide, breath slight-

for the moment I knew with 

every quivering inch of my skinny spindly self

would come,

and slime would ooze out and consume me,

limb by 5-year-old limb

in excruciating slow motion.


Now I laugh fondly at my little girl gullibility

But

When a slash of moon disturbs my dreams I carefully avoid the sofa.


That Girl

Fussy curls,

Sleek silky bob,

Petite, statuesque,

Brunette, blonde,

She was everywhere,

That girl my mother glorified 

Why can’t you be more like her?

Church-bred girls beguiled her -

-smiling Doris Day and Donna Reed

dolls gliding in uncomplicated shoes

with starched manners

and puffed sleeved voices.

She never noticed the soiled lips,   

the crumpled tissues stuffing the bras,

or worse, the girl behind the script.

Anna's Hummingbird

No bigger than a wish,

He is neither jewel nor light

nor gleaming sun.

He is nothing but silent flight.

His dainty wings

span no more than an elfing’s hand. 

Yet their fairy size

cannot keep your 

soul from finding flight 

whenever he alights.

His silent breath has no flute,

he sings without lilt or tune.

He will not rouse you from your bed

unless your eye spies the sun-bred

shine of his breast - not black, nor brown, 

nor sleeping blue, just pink - no other hue.

Love Fiercely and Well.

Succumb. Love will fill the fissure between 

your bones and soul -  beneath this wish and need

to drink it deeply, swimming veins with bright

impossible fish that tickle toes, and 

nibble fears and tears, now swept clean away

beneath the weedy currents of mistrust and lust

that doused and drowned a simple longing

for belonging. So, succumb. Set yourself

ablaze with phosphorescent waves of heart,

Or better yet, breathe a volcanic spume

of flame, red and bold as coursing blood.

Embrace the hot chaos, powerful and true.

Now hush. Love, invited outlasts a storm.

Breathe glow and gleam of embers, ever warm. 

A Partial (not impartial) List of My Attributes at Age 69

Wispy fading thinning hair

(I’ll dye it purple, I don’t care)

A sloppy nose like an overblown rose

(but it’s still prettier than my toes)

Frayed linen skin - all thin and baggy-

(do I sound  just a wee bit haggy?)

creaking knees that sing off-key

(I actually enjoy their harmony)

My shoulders slump, my tummy’s round

(blithely festooned and colorfully crowned)

Yet I’m quite fond of my gnomish cast  I am happily truly myself  at last

Wilding song

Music blooms beside and between us

A surround of sound, a constant refrain -

the river’s gurgle, the brook’s blue burble

the slipping dripping splish of rain,

and black basso hush only mountains sustain.

French verbs lilting, Hawaiian lips sighing,

German nouns quilting, Shona crying.

Crows speak angst in raucous chorus, winging 

to sweeten the tweets of robin’s decrying. 

Be still,  just listen - the hush, the sibilance,  the ringing embrace - a wild heart’s singing, 

Creek Song

     I

The creek hums

with the sun’s tongue

singing to me, entranced on its banks,

by the lazily lapping,

licking and splashing trills 

of light atop the bubbles and burbles.

Treble notes that never permeate

the shadowy depths. 


        II

Betsy’s wand of a tail wags in rhythm -

A metronome lashing and flashing 

to and for, conducting, 

as she places her paws in delicate pauses

between the rippling pebble notes.

Dipping and sipping

and snapping at twinkles of minnows 

  

   III

Jan brings bread and glinting string.

Crooning and lilting in my ear,

“Shhh, if we’re very still, 

 We just might catch an electric eel.”


   IV

We hush, the three of us.

Slipping and swaying, 

Listing and listening

to the glisten and gurgle,

Till suddenly we are awash in giggles

Watching the string dance and wiggle. 


   V

Betsy leaps, splashes into my lap,

Slapping her tail, spraying  sprinkles

in a tuneful  croon of light.

We hoot and we warble, singing and 

Ringing out to Mary and Doug,

To Leslie  and Jae. to join us,

this sunny day, in merry boisterous chorus.


Blueberry Bush

We brought you home-

You were just a wee sprout,

proud and newly grown.

Smaller that the baby 

blueberry bush outside your window

We rooted you deep in the loam and dust of us.

We fed you on niblets of story and sunlight

And watched your spirit unfurl,

Curled and bold like blueberry leaves in early spring.

We waited for that first fruit -

That sweet tang of your tongue on words

ripening beneath soft petals of  love.

You would thrive, we knew,

like the blueberry bush

we planted when you arrived, rooted deep in the loam and dust of us.

Index of Witches


Spindrift clouds. The air breathes mossy and sweet. Some come with

fly-away eyes, others have pinpricks reflecting night. Their hair snaps 

with static or sings with silk. Magic unfiltered. Robust smiles. Flared fingers.

Their lips sealed with secrets. The scent is unfelt - of whimsy, maybe.

A mess of pine bark, night-blooming jasmine, portulaca pollen and

octopus ink, I think. Of course, with underlying musk

of book dust. Their limbs are gangly or soft, hips slim and fat and more.

The sap rises in the dandelions to greet them, and the buttercups spread to meet them. Daylight blooms sweet when the witches come.

Tim's Step Stool

Sunlight warms its wood

 - loving strokes in the shape of hands

whorls of light layered brown and gold 

like gleaming hazel eyes.

Scars stipple the skin of the legs and bench -

Pale, rippled,

etching deep the satin flesh.

Still standing  solid and certain beneath garlands of devil’s ivy- -Thriving writhing vines -   a wreath for worn edges -  verdant  with unapologetic life A gleaming presence in his eternal absence.

35 years gone.


Falling

It falls like a gentle poison, glazing

blood and bile - a slick and sickly sheen too thick

for breath or breadth of thought, muscles lazing,

eyesight hazing as though facing a lick

of light and shade - the flicker of candlewick

that limns the mind but obscures the fine crease

between skin and bone, beneath heart and ease

that pleats the soul delicately, like lace

so fine it binds the loosened fragile piece of self forever lost to its rightful place.