Friday, July 19, 2019

To the Moon (and Back)

I make it a point to check in with You each night
Usually through my bedroom window
But sometimes from my front porch where
I can see shining You, riding high in an inky sky.

Fifty years later we're all watching You tonight
After men landed like gnomes in your lunar gardens.
We were in California that day, our parents and
My brothers and I, on one of Dad's recruiting trips.

It was their anniversary, a small step for mankind,
An enormous step for them,
So Dad announced, "Yessir, your mother sent me 
To the moon and back."

Mom, who was knitting, punched him in the arm.
Not in front of the children.
Dad laughed while 13 year-old me felt
Mortified for them both.

Turn up the radio, I said
Or maybe I only wanted to say it.
But when I see You tonight, the laughter
Will unspool from me now like my mother's yarn.

Friday, June 28, 2019

In the Heart of the City

On our walk through the grassy cemetery this morning
The brown dog stopped and stood at attention,
Quivering like a new recruit on his first day at boot camp.
I followed her yellow gaze and saw
The thing following us--
Another dog, I thought at first,
But less brown than mine,
Its dull coat shot through with gray and gold,
Prick-eared, lean-legged and steady-eyed,
Its yellow gaze unafraid.
Not a dog, I realized, but a coyote,
The desert trickster surprising
Me and the brown dog this morning
On our walk in the heart of the city.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Solstice

What was Solstice like in Finland?
I ask my husband on this summer's eve.
We are sitting together on the patio,
Watching a granddaughter blow soapy bubbles.
I only remember the long white nights
and the bonfires lit by the lakes.

It's not much of a memory but
I can see it all and more, lily-of-the valley
and birch branches strewn like leafy wings
on the shores of burning seas where
the mermaids call each to each.
And yes. I hear them call to me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Unfettered

We drove across the Mojave Desert
With all the windows down--
My younger brother and I rolling around
Unfettered in the back of the old
Family station wagon, our faces and fingers
Sticky from peanut butter sandwiches,
Salty from a stale bag of Clover Club chips.

By the end of that day,
Just as a red disc of sun began to sink
We crested a sand-strewn hill and saw
The ocean for the very first time--
An undulating blue-gray beast,
its scales glittering in the last light.

Can we?
Yes, our father said,
Then parked the car on the side of the road,
The air all around us thick
With the scents of decaying and living.
So my brother and I stripped down
And raced across the beach to the water's edge--

Unfettered.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Peony

In my next life, I
like to say, because
I am always talking
about past lives and
next lives, I want to
be a peony farmer.
I will have fields and
fields of blowsy blossoms
in shades of red and
 rose and white,
their thin petals curved
around each other
like shimmering fabric,
alive for five minutes
before shedding their
beauty and breaking
my heart all over
again as they have
done for spring upon
spring upon spring
and yet, I cannot,
as the French say, stop
from eating my own
heart when the month
of June comes and goes.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Scents

This morning I saw the brown dog
Sitting on the deck perfectly still
Except for her nose
Twitching as the breeze came
Bearing scents of roses
And sour milk from the cartons
In the recycling bin and
Those dogs next door
And that cat beneath the spirea.

They say you shouldn't project
Human emotions on animals.
Fine. But the brown dog sitting
On the deck perfectly still
Except for her nose this
Morning was the closest thing
I have seen to a creature--
Any creature--
Being devoured by joy.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Light

The sky this morning
Was pink and pearl and gray,
The color of doves
Descending from the heavens
With invitations to
Step into a fresh new day.