Friday, October 28, 2011
Only a small newt
inhabits the crawl space under my house.
I don’t get down there often
but when I’m forced to open the hatch
and duck-walk the distance to the sump,
the newt stands perfectly still
protecting its ground,
meditating on some damp and inner darkness.
Touch the tail and it scurries
a few indignant steps, but stays.
All day my feet upstairs
drum against the hardwood floor.
I am always the neighbor at the door
who tries the knob before knocking.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
This Pause Brought To You By
I heard a whispered word
as I sat upstairs, one word:
Wait. I didn’t know what else
it could mean. I was already
waiting for electrical power
to return, the house gone black.
The clock on the wall frozen,
the refrigerator keeping its cool,
the telephone finally hushed,
but that word slid like a
sheet of paper under a door,
like a ripple of linen smoothed.
Wait it whispered, again. I closed
my eyes so my ears could see better.
Friday, October 14, 2011
On his three acres the weeds grow tall,
Camelthorn, Musk Thistle, Russian Knapweed.
He recites their names like poetry, the words
wild on his tongue, and though he knows
they don’t belong, he tastes their unusual roots,
his palate warming to their tenacity,
so unlike the words he learned at school.
His favorite -- African Rue, as if sorrow came
from another continent to spread its five perfect
petals across his yard, his field, to circle his pond.
Neighbors complain to the county agent, but
he treats all words like weeds and lets them be,
unimpeded, erupting where they fall.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Apple-Picking After Frost
My ladder is unreliable and
the apples are red as Mars.
From the shed I take down a long-
handled rake and carry it to the tree.
Standing beneath the branches,
I hold it up-side-down and reach
the tines like fingers. As I nudge
each sweet planet, the stem breaks,
and I try to catch the apple
before it hits me or the ground.
My neighbor brews another
cup of her steaming herbal teas,
swearing she’s seen a grown
man in a tree, raking leaves.