Remembering Maud Lovisa Fuhriman

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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?

Spring Caprice

clouds in mccall

the air holds its breath,

expectant, clouds press earthward,

birthing waggish wind

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

 

Vision of Spring

 

Castle rocks creek with sun

On the first day of April,

Ariel sat by a stream,

her honey-colored

hair spilling onto

the blue ocean of her shirt.

 

Her head tilted sweetly

as she read The Last Song

by Nicholas Sparks–

her fuchsia Mongoose bike

abandoned on the path.

 

She might have been an ordinary girl.

 

Dance of the Deciduous

dancing trees

Will you dance? says she, her arms upraised in pleasing grace.

A waltz? says he, as he bows his head a trace.

And so they do the pas de deux through March and April too.

 

Sentries

bird sentinelsTwenty-two still sentinels atop a leafless tree

 waiting for whatever black birds wait for

in the winter.

The Wicked Witch’s Demise

Phantom falls baseDappled, dimpled snow mounds

linger, leftover—soiled and tatty,

the petticoats of a too-old chorus girl–

blemished with pockmarks,

tire tracks, and squirrel trails,

shrieking and howling

at Spring’s approach,

she shrinks and melts.

Spring Awakening

bear-in-forestAfter two days of fasting

and a brutal colon cleanse,

I stagger from my lair,

haggard, washed-out,

depleted, drained,

sure that I am hungry

but not quite ready to forage.

After a brief sashay

out of hibernation

and a cup of yogurt,

I resume sleeping.

The next day my hunger

awakens with me.

I’m sorry for the she-bear

who must search for

grass and berries.

I greedily devour

a piece of homemade bread

slathered with butter

followed by a large

glass of milk,

each mouthful a prayer

of thanksgiving,

the milk precious nectar.

 

Monochromaticity

snow-house-pic

Gone

are the dirty

browns and sprigs

of green,

replaced

by frosty

limbs

rimed with ice,

fields

swathed in white,

and shrouds on

every house.

 

Gone

the yellow sun

and bluish sky,

swapped

for a

sunless haze

and foggy mist

bleaching

landscapes,

concealing

littered lanes,

damping

passion

in this

one-dimensional

world.

Sanctuary at Murtaugh Lake

yellow-headed blackbird

Like the emperor himself,

a great blue heron

stalks through

gently waving reeds,

grunting and croaking,

the lord of the

hidden (the forbidden).

The other 300 birds,

cloistered concubines,

titter and screech,

gossip and jostle

with cunning conniving.

Daw-daw-ka-DAHHHH!

Sandpipers daintily

wend their way

through the rushes,

shyly sidestepping danger;

yellow-headed blackbirds

keep watch from

the tops of stalks,

their monkey-like screeches

warning of intruders;

and chittering swallows

zigzag in and out,

blue wings flashing,

busy court messengers.

Like interlopers

in the Forbidden City,

do visitors encroach

on sacred space?

Do sparrows mourn

their erstwhile innocence?

Do blackbirds shield

their sisters from

straying humankind?

Are herons livid that

their rules are undermined?

What is all the chatter?

Daw-daw-ka-DAHHHH!