Drunk on Spring Air

Cauldron LinnI take an intoxicating gulp

of air as I step out the door.

Delirious with joy,

I sense a slight hint of warmth,

the barest scent of growing things.

 I breathe in

and in

and in . . .

like someone who has been

suffocating,

I just can’t get enough

of the balmy feel

in my lungs

and the heady whiff

of summer coming on.

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.

De-clawed

vanilla-the-cat

From her cover

behind the euonymus,

deadly talons

lashed out.

Dogs cowered

and even people

paid homage.

Behind a screen

of grape vines,

she crept, inching,

black ninja silent,

tail beating a slow,

metronomic trance,

eyes, burning coals,

then, bam!

a small bird lay dead.

 

Now,

the deadly

killer skulks

inside the garage;

snowy tufts of hair

fall out in clumps;

mice no longer

skirt the yard;

the graveyard

of feathers

is gone.

Today,

she mews

in her refuge,

a shadow

of her former

assassin-self.

 

 

My mother-in-law,

no less vital

than the cat,

used to wield

a wooden spoon

like a wand,

conjuring up gravy

and mashed potatoes

that caused people

to moan and swoon,

bringing down the

brawny defenses

of hulking

farm workers

with rhubarb pies

and whipping cream.

 

 

Now, ancient,

like the cat,

her world is

a room

peopled with

recurring memories,

memories

of days gone by

where truth

and fiction

intermingle,

of a time

when her spatula

was a spear,

her frying pan

fortress.

The Season for Battle

Non Sequitur - np_c111108.jpg

Non Sequitur

Fall is the season of leaves turning red and gold, the season of school buses and frosty mornings, and the season for battle. In ancient times, when things got tense at home, men could prove themselves by putting on 80 pounds of armor and joining the Crusades. In early America, macho dudes could head West and battle Indians and look for gold. Today, restless guys strap on goggles and join the leaf blower battles, the manly sport of blowing air.

Neighbor A swaggers out of his garage sporting a Husqvarna 580 BTS backpack blower. He grins maniacally as it roars to life, drowning out howling dogs and fire sirens. Leaves and dirt swirl up from his grass and tumble into the street.

Later, when Neighbor A has settled in front of the TV with a root beer, chips, and guacamole, he is jolted out of his repose by the thunder of Neighbor B’s walk-behind Billy Goat Force 169cc blower. By the time he has his work boots back on, Neighbor A’s blower has not only blasted every leaf in the neighborhood back into his yard but has created a no-green zone between their two properties.

Rather than engage in open warfare, A decides to wait until B is out of town for the weekend to return the favor. And so it goes.

Fall used to be a time of walking through crunchy piles of leaves and listening to honking Canadian geese as they flew overhead on their way to warmer climes. Now, the sound of autumn is the roar of a machine louder than a chainsaw and more annoying than a roomful of old men snoring.

And for what? A lawn mower makes the grass shorter and a rototiller digs things up, but a leaf blower, like a political candidate, simply blows. The blasted thing sounds like it is doing some kind of useful work, but it merely moves things around.

Womb Cocoon

shutterstock_fetus

Gravity is suspended as

she lies back in the water–

weightless, buoyant,

glorying in her native element.

 

Kicking, she is propelled

with surprising speed

and joyously dives deep

with a porpoise-like flip,

 

choreographing her somersaults

to the swooshing of blood

and the hypnotic lullaby

of burbling and gurgling.

 

The water tickles

and enlivens her skin

as she climbs and gropes

inside her watery cocoon.

 

When she tires,

undulating ripples

soothe and settle her,

and she nestles next to

 

a thrum thrum thrumming,

snug in the water’s embrace,

gently swaying, swishing,

the rock-a-bye of angels.

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!

 

The Fruit of His Labor

shutterstock_94304233 (1)

Like Atlas holding up the world,

Jesus bowed under the weight

of our cruelty and carelessness,

our ignorance and deliberate evil.

Trembling, groaning

in a mighty battle

to free us from Satan’s grasp,

he lifts us triumphantly from

our pettiness, our malice,

our utter helplessness,

and cleanses us

with drops of sinless blood

oozing from his pores.

Ignoring the taunting

of devils and demons,

he presents us

clean, immaculate,

the precious fruit of his labor.