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.

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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.

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.

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.