Gift of Life

my mom-mom has a gift waiting for me
of a Christmas cactus
her daughter told her
about my growing plant collection
so she took a cutting
from her own mother plant
to give to me
when next we meet
I cannot go to get it
while the virus rages on
one little piece of cactus
isn’t worth the risk
she has survived
past childhood (several siblings didn’t)
through cancer and the toxic treatment
I would give all my leafy children
plus some hundred more
so that this, too,
she strides past
to give her gifts herself

Gardener

Old Ms. Beth lives down the lane
She rarely goes outside.
(Something with her legs, I think?)
I made her apple pie.
I walked it over to her
and noticed something queer:
Her garden’s full and tidy
Though I’ve seen no one here.
I ask about her roses.
If mine could bloom like that!
She says her gardener does it.
(We take some time to chat.)
I look for months to see them,
the one with such green skill,
But no one ever shows,
Much less one who’d fit the bill.
I carefully watch the yard,
Find no weeds or disarray.
Her plants must be magic
to behave so well this way!
I’m not far off, I find
One night taking out the trash.
She’s standing in the flowers.
I hear words, see a flash!
Sparks float across the stems
Trailing greenness in their wake.
I race back to my kitchen.
(My hands just slightly shake.)
No gardener ever worked there;
She got her garden free!
If only I can sway
Old Ms. Beth to mentor me…

Painted Morning

straight up turquoise sky
hovering at horizon line baby pink
where they kiss- cotton candy and downy white
the waters reflect teal-grean
island close scalene triangle
glued to its reflection, a kite
half fuzzy far-off purple
half distorted deep green
faint ridges in the distance
speak of lands unexplored
for some other mornings
this, now, is the beginning

Passing Through

dusty guitar strings throw off grey fuzz
practiced fingers guide back to tune
an instrument abandoned
a traveler craving levity
together, sing a few 90’s pop
80’s rock ballads
let the wood and metal
remember what it’s like to dance
and the shaking hands
remember how to create
to weave notes and words combined
a frivolous endeavor
the sound echoes
around the lonely town
bounces from concrete wall to brick
finding no one but the player
guitar’s too bulky for the road
but both will cling
to the memories
a night of song
in an otherwise
silent life

Farmers’ Market

Early morning and I’m awake
Walking down to the local farmers’ market

Always dogs, sun-warmed coarse fur to pet
Waiting patiently for owners to purchase

Bakery stand with chocolate bear claws
Toasted brown pastry crumbles, dark gooey filling

Glistening fruits fresh smell divine
Muted blueberries, deep blackberries, ruby strawberries

Honey sticks of varied flavors, so many colors
Carefully select some of each for a rainbow bunch

Clutching my bear claw and canvas bag of goods
Return home with the bounty, oh so sweet

Aerial

silks of purple nylon
friction tugging on skin
the sorcery of suspension
the perfect spell of
physics strength balance
arms aching from the climb
hands aided
by adhesive resin
gripping fabric threads
Spider-Man-Me
wrap the silks
knot your limbs
bend and pull
hang
however you like
twisting, upside down
unfamiliar orientation
spin out wide
slow graceful turns
tuck in tight
rollercoaster fast
untangle to advance
ascend, muscles burning
arms tired, give way
feet unprepared
crash land on safe mats
palms stinging defeat
only a fledgling
testing new wings

Bedtime Podcast

earbuds in
lights off
lay back
eyes closed
mock death
so still
peaceful
deep tones
whisper
their spells
conjuring
illusions
to dance
struggle
survive
they speak
bid me
goodnight

Young Affection

that stupid messy hair
has bothered her for weeks
she can’t stop drawing
his hands pushing unruly curls
he doesn’t ask her to smile
when they take a selfie
only adjusts the angle
about 400 times
the end result
is worth it
he gives her every pickle
from his burgers
because she likes the crunch
the vinegar and salt
his family is funny
so generous
with the little they can give
he makes her smile
most days
and when he can’t
he brings her gifts
of quiet
and time
to sort the sadness out
he isn’t always perfect
forgets some things
rarely on time
fails all his planned
Big Gestures
but she isn’t either
snaps when she’s hangry
isn’t good with feelings
has to slowly learn
to trust
she cuts his hair
in quarantine
long enough to curl
he frames her sketch
the two of them
wrapped up in a hug

Party Time

it’s party time
smile bright, hold a glass
laugh too loud
don’t actually drink
the last thing you need is to get drunk you cry when you’re drunk

dance with him
flirt with her
enough that people talk
they’ll think you’re up to fun
you aren’t remotely capable of any kind of relationship right now

don’t look over there
avoid each other
if there’s no fight
people will assume all’s well
one of you should apologize you should really apologize

guests are leaving
some together
most completely impaired
say goodbye, shut the doors
shut down the act, throw yourself out with the trash

party’s over.

1 2 3 5