OCTOBER 13 The leaves are scattering and so too the people who came to see them, their glorious impermanence. For a little while, until the snow, I don’t have to wait in lines at shops or cafés. I don’t have to remember to stop and gaze myself: those red maples, sugar maples, popples gold against the evergreens. Oaks will come later, but no one comes here to see the somber oaks. For a little while there is no demanding, just the ease of amber and gray, the silence of these late days, the beauty of this coming dark.
SEPTEMBER FIELD JOURNAL
What is your name and what
do you know and what
together can we do?
Folded, weighted, shifting,
broken and remade,
the layers hidden underneath.
And where on this map
of shifting stone
do we belong?
Come walk and name
this place, this very place,
this weather and these trees:
the edge edged with white cedar
—and the rain.
And when the blowdown comes
may we trust
our own entangled roots?
An unexpected poem.
the world, the flesh They did it to me when I was too young to resist: in my name they renounced my skin, my heart, my lungs, my sex, my brain, my little fingers. They renounced my senses, my fears, my hungers, my animal urgency. They renounced the world. The deserts and trees, mountains and seas, everyone who crawls and swims and flies: denizens of the dirt, tigers and dogs and whales. They don’t have souls the story goes, and all that matters is what isn’t. When the trout lily leaves emerged, when the bears came out of their winter dens, when the buds swelled on the maples, every spring we remembered our renunciation. How strange when the empty tomb recalls the garden and the flesh. I repent. I reclaim all I was taught, along with the devil, to renounce. Beginning with this patch of ground where rotting trunks flower out their fruits, where robins overturn the unraked leaves and acorns sprout along the edges of the unmown grass.
First day on the job alone,
he had to keep calling the sergeant.
Good-humored, she was,
joking about new machinery
that made the work harder.
Typical military we all agreed.
I voted for Bernie.
I’m all about peace,
and eliminating fossil fuels
and reducing my carbon footprint.
I drive a Prius, for Christ’s sake.
The new fighters they’ve got—
we couldn’t believe
they’d be louder than the F-4s
but they are. We can hear them
all the way from the Adirondacks.
And they’re expensive, useless.
Can’t dogfight, so what’s the point?
Three took off. We waited
for the fourth, like clockwork.
Shit, they are noisy suckers.
But fuck it. I’m a
fighter pilot’s wife.
My man used to fly machines
like those. I’ve stood on the flightline,
watched him take off,
seen him loop and hammerhead,
do the Memorial Day flyby.
I gave birth on the eve
of drill weekend, kept house
that winter he trained in Witchita
when he was DCM, that ice-storm winter
our son was in second grade
and we had a funky woodstove.
I watched my pregnant friend
watching the Missing Man
formation over her husband’s
grave. What can I say?
What can I say?
I make no apologies
for my life. Love is a funny thing.
So now this new improved i.d.
is good another three years.
We stopped on the way out the gate
to look at the old F-4
on static display.
Not Miss Piggy, my husband said.
It’s got Rich’s name on the door.
Oak and Ash and Birch breathe their gold.
It sifts through their twigs and branches
over our cars and lawn furniture.
Oaks and ashes and birches think
life is worth continuing. They want
to make acorns and winged seeds
and tiny cones. They want to make
food for turkeys and squirrels and jays.
If they told you the Council of Trees
had decided to fill this year with abundance,
if they told you they had decided
this was a good year to cover the wounded
Earth with their love, to spread their gold;
if they told you that you, too, could participate,
wouldn’t you say Yes? And here you are!
Every sneeze, every dribble, every gasp,
they tell you, is a price you can pay.
before the comfort of book and bed,
I stood in the yard and worshiped
the highest moon.
Soft-edged shadows spread
across the frosted grass.
The darkest month gives
the brightest night—
not an insignificant grace.
With a frisk of rambunctiousness,
a Pomeranian energy,
the March wind like a red-rubber ball
is bouncing away the long cold dark.
The book cover shines gold
in the lamplight.
Small birds irrupted from the north
cluster around the feeders.
I’m an old woman now
and none the wiser, but
at least I can define
emotion with precision.
The landscape of exploration
Forty years but surely not wasted.
Are we between wars
or is there simply one war.
Was there ever only one?
OPEN STUDIO POEM #18
Under snow, under solid ground,
earth knits a fabric of mycelium,
bulb, the roots of chrysanthemum
and rose. The February landscape
shapes a shifting collage
of branch and cloud,
a splash of of jay-blue.
We stay secluded, painting
our lives with aplomb.
REPORT: February 2, 2021
No shadows this year, no light sharpening shapes.
Instead, tracks of a fox bounding
through belly-deep snow across the unplowed drive
into the pinewoods edged with bramble
where the rabbits hide. West wind drifts the snow.
Sun and moon rise and set behind the clouds.