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

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.

Impotent

whippet behind fence

Kenneled, caged, corralled,

she barked; she moaned; she howled;

and the cat walked by.

Bucket List

bow bridge 

If I could walk upside down on the cobalt blue of the sky,

I would stride past Lincoln and Washington,

past the Revolutionary War and the Pilgrims at Plymouth,

and keep going until I came to Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

and walk right out of his painting into the colorful tumult of the Renaissance.

 

If I could catch the tail of a cloud as it floated by,

I would wrap myself in its periwinkle folds

and emerge on a misty Scottish moor

and walk around for a day and a night

looking for Heathcliff and other tortured souls.

 

My fondest dream, though, would be to ride a wave of migrating birds

and surf my way past contrails and comets,

to wave to the pilot of a 747, and then lean way, way back

and nod off to the calling of geese

and the mournful keen of a bagpipe.

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.

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.

Womb Cocoon

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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!