After sunburned foothills and phosphorus
midnight ocean, bitter cherry blossoms
from winter rains. Spring stalls,
then slides: trillium, lily, lupine, mud.
Frogs and bright salamanders awake
to earth gouged by flood.
Egrets flock white
near pesticide fields of artichoke
and strawberry, while ceanothus paints
the highway cut a fairy tale blue.
Summer calls me home.
That time I was unable (a rare clear
morning with heavy dew and an early
frost patch) to seek them myself (just below
ridge line where they reflect sky, once alpine
leaf forsakes steady green for nuance and wild
splash streaked primrose, vermilion, scarlet, plum)
you brought me cerulean cups opened
to harvest sun, long past the bright cusp
in those last days of ripening heat, so
welcome as pressure drops in the storm tropics,
tracked to break water over this
You picked two gentians brimming blue above
tree line, cradled them down cobalt slopes
shoulder high in monkshood, scented knee deep
with valerian, plunging on through fern
tangle and false hellebore slick, undaunted
by alder sprawl and that salmonberry
snarl of a game-trail, lupine dried to pods
all snap, pop, scatter, even fireweed
subdued in the hue of the bloomed out spike,
before cotton peeks from the split womb,
in that berry time, seed time, time of tall grasses;
that time of puffballs, amanita
and the small red biting fly: that time
of finally home, stuck on bed rest,
my milk coming in, in that season
of her birth.
Rank cow-parsnip and elder,
sharp yarrow and raspberry mix
late blossom with setting fruit, brush
going to seed under august sun.
Sweat drips dusty down skin seeping
between breasts, clinging, in this too
brief season before ripening
and returning night.
Haze screens snow peak horizon past
the swallow bluff, where the colony
flashes metallic on each choral
up-wing, backing a lone dragonfly
darting iridescent solo:
surprising still air as lazy
memories flit from that early
place known as youth.
Peaches coming on in a sultry heat,
Redkist and Jerseyglo; monarchs
in the milkweed, muddy pink between tilled
rows; faint breeze in the green wheat, corn
fat on the tall stalk, silk hanging brown;
bees busy in morning glory; these
tapped breasts then prime, shy belly lithe
above dusky new pelt, summer reaching
long into the nooks and crannies of us
East Village Autumn
Staring from your stark kitchen window
Into streetlight and barbed wire
shadow, I see vacant lots, the green
fields of childhood lost to urban dreams.
Sophistication scorns all color
as the guise of innocence. Sunday strolls,
brunch hangs over champagne rooftops,
while cafes hustle eggs, elegant or humble
with rye toast. Coarse coffee steams in maroon
ringed cups against strips of avenue
sky, geometric blue in crisp weather.
Yellow gingko fans and empty vials underline
the soles of my city feet, cracking,
as my mind’s eye wanders the streets
of my future, dodging ghosts from my mother’s
house that would snare me with memory.
She wanted to gather them rosebuds, and make some hay, without
losing prime options on next week, foreseeing a breach in
down-the-road security (given how rocky old roads can get)
and a dwindling pile of pearly moments left for seizing.
She wasted no time on the paradox of cake (the having
and eating of it) knowing how to get more where that came from.
But weather dependence, long-term commitment, and forking paths
To go or not to go, to stay or not to stay.
Those were the dilemmas that tossed and turned her, becoming
the slings and arrows of insomniac musing, rooted in
the impossibility of being two places at once,
or of authentically being any place at all always
second guessing, trying to cross-hair ideal convergences
of the time-space continuum, to single out the right move,
thread that needle's eye.
The risks of being tied down to anything resembling
furniture or real estate jangled against cautionary
tales of bottomed out, of nothing left to lose.
Did she really want to go there, even sip that freedom brew?
With regret casting a shadow, within her line of vision,
rain or shine, with past and future pulling contrary causing
a tide rip inside her heart, how could she just keep on keepin'
on? How could she cut her losses and run?