Summer Idyll

yellow-headed blackbird

 

O, enchanted hour beneath the willow tree

on grassy banks beside a wandering stream

where yellow-headed blackbird calls atop a reed–

 

who ordained this tranquil hour of

cooling breeze, largesse unwitnessed

but for iridescent dragonfly?

 

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Total Commitment

 

Photo by Felice R. Bond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like a tiny dive bomber,

the hummingbird 

plunges her whole self

into the heart of a trumpet vine flower,

drinking deeply the sweet.

 

Can I, like she,

immerse myself,

regardless of hazards

and the shortness of the season,

in the prospects of the day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The State of Things at the Current Moment

flowered couch

Here I am sitting on
my frayed, flowered couch
in my 3-bedroom house
in a small rural town
in the forgotten state of Idaho,
while out there somewhere
is an unstable president
and brooding terrorists
and charitable strangers–
and people everywhere
who just want to quietly
live and breathe and die,
who hope the terrorists
will decide to be
ordinary citizens
and the president
will lose his cellphone.

Remembering Maud Lovisa Fuhriman

thumb200

What would great grandma

think if she could see me

sitting on my throne in

my climate-controlled house–

she who took the kids

out to the “shade” of the haystack

on hot summer afternoons?

 

I imagine her with her hair

pulled back in a tight bun,

sweat dripping down

the neck of her long-sleeved dress.

Mopping her head, she checks the bread

in the oven of the old wood stove.

Then she washes beets from the garden

and peels potatoes for dinner.

Heat and dust and flies are ever-present

on this homestead in the Idaho desert,

where she carries water in a bucket

to her seedling trees and pays her

son a penny for every hundred flies he kills.

 

Could she even imagine

eating fresh grapes and

watermelon and raspberries

grown by other people?

Would she be enthralled or appalled

by a life where you never

have to milk the cow

or churn the butter

or gather the eggs–

where there is no fire to start,

no wood to chop,

no chickens to feed?

Embroidery of Hope

peacockWhat was it I hoped for–
a sixteen year old
who was usually more interested
in volleyball than sewing–

when I French-knotted
salmon flowers and
stitched royal blue and lime
into a flowing peacock’s tail?

Was I thinking of a handsome husband
and happily ever after,
of a houseful of giggling girls
and Gerber baby boys?

I’m sure I didn’t imagine
sleepless nights with a critically ill baby
or what we would do
when my husband lost his job.

I also never envisioned
the thrill of twin grandchildren
jumping up and down by the window,
shouting, “Grandma’s here!”

I had a vague idea of my
hoped-for love and life,
but not an inkling of the
down-and-dirty daily press.

Now, the regal peacock reminds me
that my forever is still in the making,
and thanks to sacred covenants,
I should continue embroidering hope.

Time Traveler

family in front of car

I am an “emissary from a vanished world,” (1)
a world of photos with scalloped edges,
a realm where my mother wore house dresses
and baked cookies for us when we got off the school bus,
a place of black-and-white television
and neighbors listening in on party lines,
a world where ten year olds could take off on bikes
for whole afternoons of riding around town
or gallop off on ponies for a picnic.

 

It was a time when enemies lived in faraway places,
like Russia and China,
but no one worried about getting shot by other kids at school
or by neighbors at the movie theater.
It was a world of American Bandstand and I Love Lucy,
a world that went crazy for a British boy band, The Beatles.
It was a place of piano lessons and band practice and junior prom,
a world where we could temporarily lose our parents
because there was no cell phone tracking.

 

 

[1] From Sparrow. “The Art of Aging.” The Sun. April 2017.

 

 

Spring Caprice

clouds in mccall

the air holds its breath,

expectant, clouds press earthward,

birthing waggish wind

Dumpster Divers Behind Pizza Pie Cafe

blackbirds eat pizza

Instead of four and twenty blackbirds

singing to the queen,

four fledgling blackbirds

vie for pizza pie.

Ecstasy

 

dog in truck

If I were a dog

I’d long for a warm spring day in Idaho

 

 

I’d hang my head out the pickup window

and bark at the driver to go faster

 

 

we’d rush down Hankins Road

my long blond ears flapping in the wind

 

 

drinking in the freshness of newly plowed earth

and the tantalizing odor of last night’s skunk

 

 

panting joyously I’d leap from the truck

and chase the perfume of rock chucks

 

 

roll exuberantly

in the lush spring grass and slurp from the ditch

 

 

if I were a dog

 

Impotent

whippet behind fence

Kenneled, caged, corralled,

she barked; she moaned; she howled;

and the cat walked by.