Wind Days

Happy Birthday, Tina!

Wind Days

we were released from first grade,

sent home in 100 mph

Gusts

to walk home alone before it increased.

We knew how silly adults could be.

 

Tina and I collapsed on the silent side of a sandhill.

experience taught us exactly where to sit,

that spot in Chinook air shadow,

our little faces scoured fuchsia by fury of wind and sand,

now protected, a tiny stolen peace.

 

Finally, with renewed bravery,

we grasped one another’s hand, left our shelter.

Parka hoods became our punishment,

they whipped and lashed us with

torturous hood strings, our Inquisitors.

 

We knew when a quick hand squeeze meant

the other was blinded by

dirt or a zipper sting that blasted an eye.

On Wind Days your clothing

became your enemy.

 

We learned to walk blind for blocks,

slowly felt our way

so our weeping peepers were safe.

 

Sometimes we collapsed flat

in a dry ditch to save at least our backsides

from locomotive air.

Ending in Kansas from the Colorado front range

was not a stretch for our imaginations.

We knew Dorothy was our wind sister,

if only we two, could get to Oz.

 

In the ditch we giggled, thrilled and skittish,

we laughed until our sides ached,

until we had to pee.

Have you ever tried to pull your pants down

and tinkle on a Wind Day?

The stream, violent and unpredictable,

splattered sideways and rebounded, no way to aim,

which caused more hilarity and well, more pee.

 

Other times, we had to hide on the downwind side

of a giant cottonwood to gasp air,

the pressure stole our breaths

whipped words out of our mouths

sent them eastward, past Longmont, past Brush, past the sugar beet farms.

 

When we felt courageous, we grasped the

bottoms of our coats and hauled them behind us,

over our heads, makeshift sails.

We waited for a gust of air like surfers

readying for a wave.

You could hear it coming,

as it blasted down the first mountain ridge,

mirror clouds rolled lickety-split through the sky.

The gust grabbed our little bodies and our sail,

hurled us down the empty field until our legs

couldn’t keep up and we fell splat in the tall wheat.

We shrieked with terror and delight

licked the blood as it dripped from our knees.

 

We arrived at my house, first

relieved and exhausted from the trip,

dusk turned all color to gray,

my houselights gold

but we didn’t want to part,

both anxious about what waited in the light.

So, I would walk Tina home,

reveling in our Woman vs. Nature fight with

a Colorado Chinook.

 

On our way to Tina’s place, we dawdled,

hair slapped all around our heads,

we sat in tall weeds to hide from any siblings

that might lurk about.

Then Tina walked me half way back to mine…

And so it went until darkness won.

We shouted, “One, Two Three, Run,”

turned our backs and hightailed it to our respective troubles.

 

That night, wind howled.

Silence.

The house creaked and moaned,

metal siding became loud whistles

that pierced through the din.

Silence.

Roof shingles loosened and thumped east,

outdoor chairs and trash can lids clattered

into the distance.

I lay awake in the tempestuous thunder,

yearned for Tina’s morning knock,

another adventure on our way to school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.