Knees

exhaustion at Fox glacier

That spring in the knees, quick ascent from crouch

to standing, I crave it, I ache to elevate

without a hand on the wall or the

need to roll on all fours first – mortified

by Time.

 

I used to leap from boulder to boulder,

a mountain goat, able to avoid

the packed snow beneath. Now I slog up

and down, feet sodden, violating

the family aging rule – no vieja noises!

demoralized by one granite rock,

then the next.

 

My middle-aged son glances, wonders

if he should offer his hand, knows I

would bite it off before I use it.

He sighs, resigned to the pace I swore

never to set.

 

“Go on ahead,” I say, knees aching.

“No, I mean it.” (when I really don’t)

He bounds on ahead.  Left alone, I

hear my body, erratic rhythm,

besieged. In solitude I ponder,

what is worse – humiliation or

loneliness? Or could it be remorse?

Anguish that I am reduced to this,

a clumsy, lumbering shadow of

that young girl who didn’t seize the time

to bound and soar when she was able.

Thirst

Desert earth

       sandy, dry down as deep as you can dig.

       An arid sea of thorns and spines;

        creatures that bite and sting

         . . . abiding.

                       

Everlasting thirst.

         Even after a cloud burst,

         the yearning begins again.

         Only a watery appetizer,

          never the main course.

                     

I know that craving,

          desire, yen, languishment,

          always inconsolable for what

          will never be.

Gummy Bears *Pantoum

Milo and the Chocolate fight

Milo looks up, hopeful, his chocolate eyes sparkle.

He yearns for a treat inside the colorful bag of sweets

“I want a gummy bear.” A pause. “Pease.”

I can’t resist the smile, the little hands, covered with dirt.

 

He yearns for a treat inside the colorful bag of sweets,

I, too, am tempted by the amber, emerald and ruby creatures.

I can’t resist the smile, the tiny hands, covered with dirt.

But I don’t want to weaken in front of those bright eyes.

 

I, too, am tempted by the amber, emerald and ruby creatures.

They glisten in the kitchen sunlight beneath the cellophane,

But I don’t want to weaken in front of those bright eyes.

Should I? Should I break my resolve? Should we gobble up those bears?

 

They glisten in the kitchen sunlight beneath the cellophane,

“I want two gummy bears.” He checks my face. “Pease.”

Should I? Should I break my resolve? Should we gobble up those bears?

His bitsy fingers make the number with a little “v.”

 

“I want two gummy bears.” He checks my face. “Pease.”

Intent, he gazes at the bag and my mouth waters.

His bitsy fingers make the number with a little “v.”

What harm is a little bit of gelatin and sugar?  What harm?

 

What heartbreaking joy – the anticipation, the promise in his eyes.

Milo looks up, hopeful, his chocolate eyes sparkle.

We sit on the kitchen floor and eat four gummy bears each.

“I want another gummy bear.” A pause. “Pease.”

 

(First published in a Year In Ink)

 

 

*Pantoum is a Malaysian form of poetry in which the second and fourth line of the stanza becomes the first and third line of the following stanza.

Stamp Box Ritual

IMG_6792

I used to reach for it. . .

tiny brass birthday cake-like,

seed-sized oval atop

held the box together

but disaster

if unscrewed, which I did,

many times.

 

Sun darkened metal, from sitting

on his window ledge,

little side slit

exposed that

red,

white,

and blue

ribbon of stamps.

 

Black flecks from tarnished

nicks and scratches,

(some from when I dropped it)

my small hands gripped,

rubbed fluffy green felt

underneath.

 

He used so many stamps

running for office,                  IMG_6791

sending spicy letters

to litigants.

 

I watched the stamp ribbon,

as it dwindled,

he would ask me to

unscrew the little oval

and refill,

as though

a sacred ritual

only we could fulfill.

 

 

March 1, 2019

Visions of Deedle

There it is,

a flash in the corner of the eye —

Look full on, nothing, but a laugh.

Still, there is something,

a glimpse of her plaid house dress,

her nose pressed up against the lilac.

A rag tied around her pink curlers,

one strand floats free.

 

The skeptic,

a shake of the head, a smile unnerved.

Another day, another flicker,

a brush of tail, spirals

around a fire-charred oak,

but the dogs don’t even look

or sniff the air.

 

A sparkle next to the sun,

confronted, fades like a vapor trail when

even so, wings rustle and tickle the ear.

No feathers, no call, no streak across the sky.

 

Burst through the door, distracted

there she is again, disappearing,

while the bird feeder swings,

newly full of seed.

 

Girl, Pee in a Can

Girl, pee in a can,

that’s what Grandpa said.

When it rains and the men go fishing,

Girl stays in the tent all day

and pees in a can.

 

The tent, held aloft by

scratchy ropes, tied to white aspen trees,

heavy canvas, oily, sticky –

smelled of grease treatment

to make tent waterproof.

 

Girl, don’t touch the tent,

or the waterproofing will

fail and each fingerprint

will make itself into its own leaky faucet.

 

Girl, bored alone in tent,

only one Nancy Drew Mystery, already finished.

Nothing to do, as the rain pelts down, puddling,

nothing but pee in a Folger’s can

and touch the tent above

her brother’s bedroll.

My Dad’s Level

There leans the old level

made of maple wood, with brass fittings,

a liquid in beautiful glass,

a sliding bubble.

I set it gently

atop my head,

balance it,

and try to walk

down the windy path

back home.

 

The tool is heavy,

slows me down

enough to wonder at the

tiny pink orchids,

the black fuzz –

a little slinky catepillar

off to find himself a fairyland

in which to take a long,

transformative nap.

 

When I slow down

too much and turn to look

Inside Myself,

the level tilts, wobbles,

the bubble slides

precariously.

I am forced to return

to looking outward,

keeping the level

Level

Look at the moss,

the dancing blue columbine

that possessively hides its bee.

 

Blog #6