Category Archives: Life and Death

the hours

in the days before their deaths
which could now practically and reasonably
be measured in hours,
she began liminal dreaming
even during daytime

and she saw a white horizon
containing a silhouette of golden-amber woods alit like filigree
and a golden-amber house, likewise

and she knew the house was for her

and she was not afraid


residuum

“The Distances They Keep”, Howard Nemerov, the blue swallows, 1967


this is no time
to evict
spiders,
centipedes,
the occasional, lone
boxelder bug,
dozens of out-of-season ladybird beetles
or
the almost-always odorless stinkbugs

from
our houses

to do so now means certain death, outside

there is a field mouse
in the dormant compost bin
depositing black “rice”
in washed egg shells and pomegranate rinds/

a mole engineers deeply excavated burrows around the foundation (much too close),
mound-builds in the prairie, and
constructs a minefield for toes and ankles in the remnant, dumb lawn/

the grey squirrels shelter in the woods across the snow-covered dirt road
the red squirrel in the barn is insulating with stuffing from the patio cushions/

black walnuts, please mast next year
oak sapling, pray, grow faster/

i will plant a meadow exclusively of sunflower come Spring/

black-eyed juncos,
black-capped chickadees,
bluejays,
woodpeckers,
and cardinals,
but especially,
the juncos
have learned to tolerate,
and expect my winter presence among them, per nemerov’s counsel,
i don’t wear feathers in my cap – or coat/

the remaining turkey and deer
still grieving, post-hunting season
are tentative,
but returning;
i set out stone salt licks and millet, reverently, repentantly, respectfully, for them/

i count the crows each morning
but truer, i count on them
their steady, regal presence
their voices call to me for sardines, kibble, peanuts
i oblige and always will

[can] we all [can] live here
alongside
inside
and outside together, as kin

i don’t speak
but i telepath
that,
and
this:

i am the residuum here

a wolf spider and their reflection / every spider should be presumed to be an incarnation of Anansi

how are you?

the phone rings

i step myself off the ledge,
fall back into the window,
onto the hard floor,
crawl across the rug,
back into my bed

oh, hello!

i’m fine, how are you?


With a tail as big as a kite. With a tail as big as a kite.

She strained her eyes
what is that dark lump
in the road
traveling into my throat




Out she went
sighting the black beauty
from fifty paces
nearer, the bright blood
pooling beneath ki’s face

Did he even try to brake
or swerve?
“no”, the tracks and trees say

Maybe the driver didn’t see
the pitch black, moving body
against the snowy white, otherwise red dirt road?

Maybe ki darted out,
in front of the royal blue truck
a truck fit for a rural king
[doubt of the beneficent on Christmas]

machines
everywhere
machines

carssawsgunsplowsshipsplanesmillstractorsthrowersdozerstruckscombines
boatsturbinesrigsdredgerstrainsbargesroadsrailharborspipeshousesbridges
wellshighwayssewersstructuresquarriesreactorspowerlinesstreetslotsculde
sacsfencessatelliteslockscelltowerssignsculvertswallsdockslandfillsdams

she gently pincers the end of ki’s gorgeous black tail
gingerly pulling kin off the road
redundantly committing ki’s spirit
to the universe, aloud
with apologies for humankind, silently

purposefully committing kin’s body
to a safer spot
for mourning
and carrion feast

Ki’s body was unexpectedly heavy
full of walnuts and seeds
fat and strong for a long winter ahead
so alive just minutes ago, I saw out the window

I’m sorry
I’m sorry
for me
for my kind
for our machines
for our structures
for our carelessness
for our selfishness
for all this,
engineered, manufactured, destroyed

the falling snow christens quick

she wanted to go inside
and sob
selfishly,
because the possibility
of an aberrantly painless holyday
ceased with the dead black squirrel

she wanted to go inside
to tell someone
but the only one
was a woman, one profoundly unwise
and living individually in the moment
dis-understanding
in the least way
every single day

she wanted to go inside
and forget
but death was also present there
old, not fresh, also unnatural
the not-a-Grandmother at the stove

the stench of a potful of bones, flesh and fat
boiling on the stove
a pig or two’s rib cage
in her favorite cauldron
the one she’d kept for vegetables only

she stays silent
swallows her heart and disappears

caw, caw,
caw-caw

the crows have shown up
for a still-warm, Christmas Eve dinner

20171224_132455


Famêlée

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This feels like an arrow
Made from a tree
That rose from
An acorn
That I gathered and stored
In another life

Scribed with a message continually
piercing my heart

I wasn’t only wounded though,
I was woke
into a clarity
that I was already sighting in my dreams,
writing with words
mortal and eternal

You once said, proclaimed or whispered
Every single thing
that I ever believed
My own truths embarrassed in the shadow of your confidence
My inner voice silenced in your animated persuasion
Believing you so completely – for the better of my years
Becoming like and unlike you because of it,
but not be-coming me,
Un-be-coming me every day

I ain’t even mad
You don’t know this – still,
You don’t want
to hear,
or listen;

Our time is running out
Even this admission
Is sure to haunt me one day,
and guilts me today

But I can’t call you confidant or crone
If you refuse to learn,
to evolve,
From this one archetype

The wide and long view
seems to escape you
You live in the moment in the least way, the worst way
And I don’t worship here or there, any more
The faith in your godliness is gone,
It is unfamiliar
For me to pity you
You, deaf and tone deaf

You had all the answers
In the morning shallows, perhaps
But evaporation revealed even those
Were anchor-less, yet stationary
An algae
Mucking up the colorless perfection of sunlit water

But in the deep, or dark, or quiet pools, you were always so lost
And in the ocean, at night
You drown even in its calm
You have ridden civil swells and storms,
I’ll give you that
But have you ever communed with waves
Allowing them to be part of you
Swallowing and absorbing the mystery
Becoming the colorless perfection of dark water

You seem to stay parched
Your belly’s hollow from impious fasting and pious thirst
You do know that’s where your heart sits?

But let’s agree to come around again, friend
We’ll swap places and next time
I’ll be the mother,
and the son,
and the husband,
and the elder,
and the babe,
and the foreign one,
I’ll become The Other One
because,
I want the chance to know
You

 


Wanderten Mutter

“Lief heim ins Seitelein.” Unitätsarchiv, R.20.E.36.12. Archiv der Brüder-unität, Herrnhut. http://bq.blakearchive.org/40.3.schuchard “Lief heim ins Seitelein.” Unitätsarchiv, R.20.E.36.12. Archiv der Brüder-unität, Herrnhut.
http://bq.blakearchive.org/40.3.schuchard

My life seems long, I know
My body’s mostly worn
Inside, she’s just begun to live, again
A girl gone long ago

There are bottled laughs to voice aloud
New smiles to wear with these old shoes
Time to know the world, and you, and you, and you…
Between these peeling walls of muted hues

Once Herr died
My Self was ready to return
My cadence so shy and slow,
Lamenting the awkward waste of precious years

I find my voice as I write the past,
But in my book, the Tomorrow has no page
Forever winter approaches from within
These years and years upright on hard chairs

Unreal, unseen, unheard, untouched
by the world, by the womb, it may concern, Whom
I speak through and then beyond this pain of bone and life
Before the cold within brings silence of the tomb

You see, to me, my presence still feels warm, and blush
somehow, even new
My life stretched out behind me, no steps ahead
And I forestall Death’s cue, awaiting mere glimpse of you

If you can imagine, child
I love, unsaid,
I feel as just alive, as real, as you.