The Box

There was once a little box
filled with specially imported chocolates.
Then — wafer, chunk, wedge and sliver —
eaten, and the box sat coated with dust.

Once, too, there was an orange,
the last one of a basketful.
As it aged there alone, it darkened,
as though filled with chocolate.

But of course it wasn’t. Seriously.
It was thrown out. The box, however,
gathered dust on the shelf because
of the wafers and slivers of memory

it contained. This is supposedly
the truth — each word — what
is cherished can be kept neatly
in just a dusty little box.

Ode to the Color of the Sea When Green

A frothy green rushes down the Skagit,
and later, that same hue streams
high up the Nooksack. Then a wall
of the sea, lacy with the sheen of glaciers——
same tint. Same lush emotion overwhelmed.

The blue sea, the teal, the gray
are mute by comparison.
The orange sea, the golden and the red,
can’t they just quiet down for a bit?

Sea green is a hammock, and the sleep;
a flurry of vivid dreams; a love
that beckons gently.

The sudden colorful shout,
alarming, and somehow comforting.

The impact of this rich verdant
is to jump in, join the swiftness
of the river, and to drown without sorrow.
This watery heaven. So satisfying.
Yet, because of the addiction for more
of this shade, the leap is out of the question.

The tallest evergreens try
to become sane as that, and fail.

As do certain sour apples, and
the irises that peer through the fog.
The brightness of the sea green caterpillar
came before the chrysalis,
before butterfly or egg.

Just a sip of this carbonated green
of the sea intoxicates.

Why a Chicken Lays an Egg

A hen has a calendar.
On it, is a list of the days
she will lay an egg.

This is the reason she lives for.
Each Nebula of Yolk is a star.
A star for every day marked
on her calendar.

Oh, there’s the crow of the rooster,
too. He is so optimistic. And the bits
of insect and leaf he points out.
Looky here, he says.
But that is secondary to the egg,
in the hen’s mind.

Each egg is marked on her calendar
because there is nothing in her life
more important. That is why
they are packaged so carefully­—
first the albumen, a special concoction
of mystery and yum, and then
the swift and fragile production
of the hard-cover book filled
with the knowledge of being.
She knows each egg means a safe landing
for another star of the universe
as it lands on this earth.

That is why each day at dawn,
or perhaps later in the afternoon,
she is beyond elation as a warm
three-dimensional oval plops
neatly and clean onto the straw
beneath her tail feathers.

Be-gawk! Amen!
And why the heck not?

Early One Morning

It’s not always easy getting up
to squint toward sunset’s fireball.

This time of year, even the mossy footpaths
have dried to dirt, and blow harmless

tornado bouquets. The scent of alder
mixes with the sweat of the horse who

is running uphill toward forests and vistas.
She churns her hooves as if every step

might be her last. Not like you think.
But like every step is her first, too.

Like this is the day that will be
the most important of her life.

Like she’s taking you along
just for the ride.