Category Archives: nature

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