Spent flowers

Faded flowers clipped
from the arrangement litter
the table with their muted tones.

Strangely Beautiful. The beauty
in death can be hard to see.
Yet these compel with their faded glory.

the blackness of spring

while every tree shows bright green
death inhabits.
rises into the air as poison.
life — with fetid breath — dies
and yet the cherries blossom.

tears, not rain, water our lawns
as we run circles. away
from a foe for which we have no defense.
burials wait until another season.

strangers gather our groceries,
deliver to doorsteps easter hams
for solitary resurrection celebrations.
we honor one who triumphs over death,
small comfort when we have no savior
in this war against a thief who steals spring.

Rediscovery

There are bits of my childhood embedded in the night noises.

The cicada’s chatter like a shaman’s rattle summons visions.

I can see the girl I once was, standing in the belief that I would change the world.

And 50 odd years hence, here I am wondering about the depth of my imprint on the world.

The blades of grass between my toes invoke the cool summer nights of days before. When I lay upon the grass, looked to the heavens.

Believed that destiny would sweep me up. That I would make a mark so lasting that everyone would notice.

Bloom

pink sasanqua camellia and bee

There will never be(e) a photo
of a flower that doesn’t make my heart bloom.

The Rite of High Summer

Summer Peaches

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.

Porch sitting

Wood Storks Close Up

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.

Kiss

Eloquent.

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.

Home for the holidays

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.

Selah.

Summer’s End

Smaller-Poem-from-the-Road

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.

My Mountains

My Mountains Blue Ridge Appalachians

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.