May

May Gardenias

May nights are a conjugation
of old scents. Magnolia. Jasmine. Gardenia.
Hunkered in darkness, they jump up,
Buss you on the lips and keep
their own counsel, as a favorite grandmother would.
All lace and grey hair, last century style.
Nature listens to no one. Prefers old school.
And though I don’t need to approve, I do
relishing her timeless scents.

Sibilance

This small room holds more

Life than I can understand.

 

Her body rumbles.

An odd sibilance

fills my ears with drones

and soon to come death.

 

Not sleep. Not coma.

Surely not life.

 

A pall spreads within

my heart’s chambers

As I know she is not

long for this world.

 

You sleep on a cot

your breath even

though sometimes you snore,

mimic her rattle and hum.

 

For a moment you, her child,

breathe in unison with her.

Your life in communion

with hers as it was when you

were born fifty nine years ago.

 

Bereft, I alone witness

your corporeal union

Just as I alone witness it’s

cessation at her last breath.


For Maureen, who left us on Saturday, May 17. Thank you for your life, and your son who is my love.

Fireball Whiskey Kinda Night

Andra-Watkins-Images-Fireball-Whiskey

We stood together

tips of toes just touching

covering the Burgess & Niple medallion

which I think marks where aliens

landed that night back in the winter of 1960

but you said it was just a surveyor’s marker

flush in the macadam of the Trace.

Grandaddy’s red pickup truck, forlorn

sits abandoned on the verge.

With mints clinched between our teeth we

sip Fireball whiskey – we heard it will fizzle and burn

and maybe give us a new high

as if we need one after the day we just had.

Eyes raised to the sky, we wait for a flash

a streak, a blaze across the sky.

When that happens it will be our signal to write our names

on the pavement in yellow crayon

then climb back into the truck cab

bump along down the road,

back to Natchez.


This story poem was inspired by Andra Watkins Tumblr pictorial of her day along the Natchez Trace. The images above belong to Andra Watkins and link to her Tumblr. Follow Andra’s journey to walk every one of the 444 miles of the Natchez Trace just as her character’s do in her epic novel, To Live Forever An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.

For another found object poem, please read Song of the Moon.

A vision

Sunlight streams through the glass.
Arranges itself in rectangles
upon worn oak floorboards.

She steps into the light
as an actress steps onto the stage.
She claims this place.
All composure. All stillness.

Her pale hair forms a caplet
about her shoulders.
Her arms cross her chest
hidden in folds of jewel-tone squares.
The quilt she clutches
around her torso like a queen’s mantle,
wraps her in family fabric.


Note: This vision was gifted to me in the night. I was both the girl in the light and the observer. It is as if the spirit of Andrew Wyeth took over my dreams and painted this image in my brain. The glowing colors of the squares of the quilt radiated in the gleaming sunlight. The texture of the word floors and the warmth of the golden light are actually felt. I am wishing I could paint, so I could capture this visually. Hopefully, the words will suffice.

Autumn Litany

Edited 2013-10-02 09.31.34

Gladdening skies greet the Autumnal Equinox.

Earth’s journey dims as mine begins.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

Roadside flowers.

Ruderal species have advantage.

Opportunists, they

thrive in disturbed margins.

I chant their names in concert

with their fall reappearance.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

Edited 2013-10-02 09.31.47

Goldenrod tall on the shoulders

Sentinel flag. A waving banner.

Dips in the car’s slipstream.

Purple Gerardia / hairy false foxgloves,

in balloon-bud, vow clouds of fuchsia.

Here a riot of pink Morning Glories

open-throated, sing in cool crispness. Climbing over

fences. Rosy pink gleaminess.

While whiter cousins, Man-root glories

trumpet with violet gullets.

Joined by the mauve Asters.

Constellations of petals.

Button composite centers.

Perfect bunches.

Pink knotweed spikes.

Minuscule buds like clustered

Pearls. I know you too.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

In flooded ditches shrubs–

Marsh Mallows. Hibiscus moscheutos.

Wild cotton they call you. Your cultivated cousins

stand in rows. You, though, are unruliness.

Shrubby excess. A gleam of white

at the edge of dark woods. Your throat

deep purple unseen at sixty miles an hour.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

Dotted Horsemint. Whorls its stem.

Fills ditches in gleeful resurgence.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

Edited 2013-09-29 15.42.49

Upland, purple blue morning glories

anthem of delight. Intensity.

And a final chorus.

My floral recital.

Every verse spoken.

Ritual. Seasonal reappearance.

My fall litany. Anthem really.