The ocean collects
the mountain slopes
and hides them beneath the waves.
All the mighty peaks trickle down the valleys,
unaware of the request to kneel.
The Judas-kiss of rain’s soft tongue,
delivers what gravity so badly wants
with its unrelenting pull.
Tiny sprouted seeds become the mighty trees,
risen higher and grander and stronger.
They remember the finite days of passing kings and ships,
their gazes fixed upwards to the clouds.
When is their return to earth, for the ground’s last long embrace?
A faint and tiny beak pushes from within a shell
can but scarcely fathom the world
to unfold beyond the breach
first to think of what it is
and then of what to be.
A grandma tall among cousins walking down the railroad tracks
eyes searching for the oldest date nail amongst the ties,
with arms stretched out we walk the rails
like high-wire artists; our mouths tight in concentration
swaying back and forth we seem destined
for the roadbed with each uncertain step.
In an hour or so our slow train pulls into the army navy store,
thick with the smell of dank canvas and old lubricant.
She does finally reel us in and it's time to settle up.
Gert discreetly turns to retrieve her tobacco-sack,
her "grannie-money," safe from thieves in her
for she is the quartermaster for our summer war machine.
With one crossed eye, she never drove a car
or wore pants and kept her hair braided in a high, tight bun.
She walked those cinders past old Judge Parker's gallows
in hooked shoes and glasses that were already old when I was born.
She never napped as I recall and cooked like it was a career.
Her laugh was quick and had the best rope swing in her walnut tree.
Time stood still in her house and nothing ever changed till one day
she just wore out from livin' every day till long after dark. Gone.
The small town girl from her dreams
quilted and built caskets during the war,
and her older sister
dipped snuff and spit
in old coffee cans throughout the house.
Whenever we stayed with her,
the faeries dressed up like fireflies
and protected us at night while we slept.
She said so.
– my calendar looks a little different than yours,
mine looks familiar like a clocks face but
travels backwards through the year,
around and down through fall to winters darkened cold
Thanksgiving sits at 8 then Santa arrives around seven
and then down to New Years, resolutely living at the bottom.
The newly diapered year takes the first tread from the basement
the upward rise, bringing the birth of spring
Somewhere near number four, March or so I think,
that's when the world begins to wake.
May sits on three and opens the door to warmer days
Summer lolls between 2 and 10
spread all across the top nearest the sun
finally giving way to autumn just before nine
and the returning smell of rain.