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.

 

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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.

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.

Provident Living

squirrel with seed

On the first frigid day of fall

two squirrels scavenge

for nuts and seeds in the

lightly falling snow.

 

Why don’t they cozy up

in their squirrel hole

as soon as the weather

turns frosty?

 

How do they know

they should glean

before they dip

into their winter supply?

 

Do squirrel mothers

teach their children

the difference between

convenience and necessity?

Cocooned

IMG_0236She doesn’t feel the winter wind whipping her hair
as it rushes to strip leaves from the trees;
she doesn’t catch a snowflake on her tongue
or test the snow for packing qualities;
she doesn’t feel the bone-deep chill of winter nights
or sense her cheeks numbing in the breeze
because winter is a mere tableau beyond her windowsill,
a brief blast of air when the door flings open,
memories of sleigh rides, a woolen blanket on her knees.

February’s Hope

Heaps of graying snow,
like piles of unwashed laundry,
line driveways and medians.
Permanent ice bumps
jolt inattentive drivers.
Slowly shrinking snowmen
guard our neighbor’s yard.

Naked, brittle trees
give no hint of nascent spring—

But today the sun is shining!

Not even a crocus peeks out
from its covering of snow.

But today the sun is shining!

(Note: A big thanks to Jenny Emery Davidson for taking the snow picture in Hailey, Idaho. This poem was written in the very cold winter weather of February 2008 when we thought the snow would never go. This year we haven’t had enough snow in Twin Falls to make a snow bank.)

Winter Solstice

Last summer’s

faded

washed-out weeds

and graying

aged sagebrush

stretch maybe forever

along I-84

west,

west,

under a hopeless

slate-gray sky.

December at the YMCA

breath-stealing humidity
hypnotic water clamor
shouts swirling like vapors
squeals evaporating half-voiced
walled-in, windowed oasis
in a desert of soiled snow
and dirty-dishwater sky
mind-numbing lullaby