Hour 10 – Summer Camp

plastic mattress cover
crinkles with every breath
beneath the thick polyester
sleeping bag, unused
afraid to move
and wake the campers
the top bunk is hotter
even with the ceiling fan
that squeaks and wobbles
like its going to fall
a lost lightning bug flashes
crickets sing outside
someone keeps coughing
exhaustion exacerbates irritation
the humid air clings
sweat on every inch of skin
soaking pajamas and sheets
now the bathroom calls
and it’s a slow, careful sneak
from bunk to ladder to door
into the buggy outdoors
to reach the outhouses
a hurried walk
on slippy, mossy paths
and the same returning
to that gross damp
in hopes of finding

Hour 9 – Music Box

this skin is too big for me
i have tried to make it smaller
to be quiet and polite
out-of-the-way and good

i want to be a music box
folded into the neatest cube
and playing the sweetest tunes
and I would be so good at it

but i would only have one song
i am more of a cassette player
if you teach me some songs
i will sing them back all day

i hear a lot of songs:
jingles from commercials and
tiktoks and the radio and CDs
but there is a lot in between

there is a lot of being a person
and it stresses me out
a lot of talking and working and thinking
and trying to find the right song

this skin is so big so empty
that it echoes at night my heart
beat in my ears my brain screaming
in a space its afraid to fill

Hour 8 – Faith

God is gold and green and flowing
Like a forest river in evening sun.
Every vein runs clear and clean
Filled from the rushing source.

Angels glow yellow and delicate
Like gossamer gingko-winged fairies.
They might dance among the clouds
Or rest in a young needy soul.

Hour 7 – Natural History

Walking between log cabins,
raindrops streak silver
from roof to garden bed
watering a nest of ferns.
Kayaking across clear waters,
the lake smooth as mirror-glass,
only broken by leaping fish
and the wake of the boat.
It is a matter of respect
to keep the paddle quiet
in its careful, gentle dips.
A lone loon sings his morning song;
A blue heron flutters in the mist.
All is framed by towering green,
conifers tall, dark, and strong,
They are awake with chatter:
Chipmunk, red squirrel, bluebird,
chipping sparrow, yellow warbler.
These dirt roads are perfect
for the hares, the toads,
the circle of white admirals
fanning new wings in the dust.
Puddles teeming with green
are adopted by the ducks
and geese with little ones to raise.

They say this place is special
for the people who built it lived here,
but why must value be derived
from a dead family name
instead of the multitude,
the natural history which dwells enduring,
in this space?

Hour 6 – Pennsylvania

why do distant mountains
fade from forest green to blue?
wandering the woods unafraid
basking in the wildlife abundant
questions of what and who and how
grown into every tree and dirt path
back in time, this place doesn’t change
from the family photo albums
these rural homes invite imagination
the quiet is restless, eager
to be met with stories
read or written, however you feed it
it will be met with approving quiet
and a hunger for more
history is hidden in peeling blue paint
and framed embroidery
nostalgia lives in the spice-sweet smell
of woodsmoke sewn in the quilts
patched in this house
they hold their scent back in the city
just for a moment
and carry their swaddled sleeper
out the chimney
and into a sky of stars

Hour 5 – Kitchen Love

“The water is hot
If you want some tea!”
Warm, fragrant comfort
Steeps through my body.
“I bought some rhubarb,”
(Which only I eat)
Salt-covered and tart,
A sharp summer treat.
My sister leaves bags
Just shy of empty
Leaving the cupboard
Full and untidy.
Meatless stews and soups
Steam hot and hearty,
Thought for each diet
Considered kindly.
Care is shown through food,
A warm, full belly.
Meals are communion
Shared with all family.

Hour 4 – Soulmates

They disagree about soulmates,
but concur on their connection,
hard-won and inevitable.

There was only one bed
to bring their bodies together
and trade hesitant whispers.

There are so many beds
and they still choose to sleep
in each other’s arms.

They find each other soon,
young and curious, fast friends
who only grow closer.

They find each other late,
mature and jaded, suspicious,
but teach themselves to trust.

They fight through many trials,
forced to cling to one another
in a ceaseless storm of fear.

They live a life of peace, a slow
beginning, middle, and conclusion
filled with mild banter and fondness.

They end their lives together
filled with desperate, terrified hope
that will not save them.

They survive the worst of it,
and emerge from the wreckage
changed, but never alone.

Tragic, romantic, desperate, simple:
they have fallen in love many times,
and they shall fall in love again.

Hour 3 – Sanctuary

sunlight sparkles in dust motes
sent swirling by a stray wingflap
ancient stone floors tap-tap-tap
mutedly under layers of moss and leaf

the wooden pews have rotted soft
chipmunks and robins their only visitors
light enough to rest on the weakened benches
and have no comprehension of religion

ivies and wildflowers peek around walls
cautiously sneaking over the floor
exploring their discovered ruins
with all the time in the world

a pulpit, an altar stand still
keeping stewarding watch
over the greening sanctuary
and the mice that nest there

all this splayed beneath a bright rainbow glow
casting golden amber, ruby, sapphire, emerald
between the shadows of swaying branches
from the crumbling stained-glass window

Hour 2 – Music Festival

finally hopeful
nervous and awkward
stranger acquaintances
breeze plucked-
steel guitar strings
untrained voice
steady as sunlight
grass-wet denim shorts
ice-cream-stained lips
dragonfly-winged bubbles
dance to amateur tunes
a waddling tricycle
and stick horse audience
“this song is about drinking…

only made honest
by this hesitant

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