A supplicant stands at the kitchen basin.
Hands cradle warm, fragrant fruit.
Fingers skim velveteen surface.
Knife slips between skin and flesh,
flashes silver edges. On the longitude,
she inserts the blade. Parts the mesocarp.
Reveals a gnarled seed.
With a flick, the pit tumbles. Leaves a rosy
depression into which her thumb slides.
White teeth bite into yellow flesh. Stored sunshine
melts on her tongue. Rivulets of moisture trickle
arms, baptize chin and seal her to the moment.
I practice the art of porch sitting,
with my exposed heart outside my ribs
while black banded wood storks
glide to arboreal landings.
The folding of their wings catches me
tucks me into their bird-boned bodies,
integrates me to feathers.
Wind shifts, branches quaver.
A bird startles. Releases
me into the humid, fecund air.
I gentle down into my rocker,
as my heart beats from the exertion.
Your lips are eloquent
As they touch mine
Speak to me wordless
Lines of love
To be absorbed through
Skin. I feel the sharp
Points of your mustache
Scrape my philtrum
Prick my heart and cause
It to open as water cascades
From my eyes.
I am a flawed and broken woman who needs nothing more than sitting on the couch with my loved ones near. Their chatter burbles in the background as my soul sings. At last I exhale the breath I’ve held far too long. In their company is home. Peace. Redemption.
Maybe it was not the birth of the baby that was the start of the church (despite the Bible stories) but the gathering of man and woman to bring a child into the world celebrated by the presence of shepherds and wise ones. They formed the first circle. The one we emulate now in this house.
In this season of excess I’m glad we celebrate simply. No grand gifts. But no gift more grand than presence. This one cannot buy. All it requires is that we be here now. In this place, body and soul.
At August’s close,
the heat has worn
all of the greens
out of the leaves.
Maples are gold.
The wind sings in pines
whose lush needles
no longer glint bright
with the sun.
Here is the beginning of fall
when the cotton plants show white,
yellow butterflies float among them
while the sky is a dull blue.
Where the earth is as rumpled as
our morning bed with the covers
flung in all directions,
Where the sky fills the horizon
scribed to the curves of ancient
hills tufted with oak and poplar,
This is where my heart beats in time to
an imperceptible rhythm.
My lungs fully exhale to inspire
forest scents of musk and green.
My mountains. Appalachians.
Ancient. Enduring. Home.
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.