Torque

July 4, 2020

Hold it loosely
The instructor demonstrates
In A kilt, leather pouches
An ancient bow

He ties a new knot
To keep my arrow straight

My hand torqued
One by one
I relax my fingers
Let go of the string
And it’s a dead bullseye

Katie and Guy leave for Florida
I will try not to cry

Mother
Still surrounded by three children
Weeps
Cannot play “Red River Valley”
On the piano
Hides the photo
Of Katie and her

Loosely
We pry our fingers
One by one

Loosely
We let go

The Driveway

July 3, 2020

Curved asphalt
Like a red carpet
Welcomes me

Where the lightning bugs
Blink
The hollow

I pull
the bow string back
Forty-five pounds
A suede quiver
With shiny arrows
Crosses my back

Draw to your mouth
Don’t torque the bow
Hold it loosely
Then, let go

The driveway
Covered in icy snow
Could have killed us
As we headed towards the
Hickory tree

The Homecoming date
Had trouble
Negotiating
The curve

Moving vans
Clipped limbs
As rugs were unloaded
Pre-Raphaelite
Art stored

Caregivers’ cars
Pulled in
The bones
Of the driveway
Eclipsed by the ramp

Pinion

July 3, 2020

Flight feathers
Fall
To the ground

The hawk hovers
A slight twist
Of an angle
Swoops him
Up again

I pick a pinion up
Striped

And patterned
Rust

I hold the shaft
Like a quill
Poised to write

But I, too,
Take flight

Mirthful

June 29, 2020

The mockingbird is mirthful
With her selection
Of songs
Like a DJ

She warbles and chirps
Laughter
As if she IS
Mocking

All of us

Round Here

June 28, 2020

Round here
We take turns cooking
Mother purveying
Old recipes
“Drooling”
She says

I grocery shop
Expose myself to Corona
Then go have one
The waitress laughs

I wait for the man
Who does not come
Who doesn’t drive a red truck?

Round here
We are satisfied
More than most
In the world

The Plains

June 27, 2020

“ Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.” – Isaiah 40.4

My life has rough places
Hills and valleys
Like mercury
A bipolar disorder
Which goes to extreme

Not sure I want it smooth
A plain of plain grass
Endless cornfields and mono-farming
Wasted fertilizer
And the pollution of the phosphate mines
Lands stripped and cratered
Like the moon
Radioactive waste in ground water

I want to walk up a mountain
And feel the sweat
In the small of my back

I want to run to the valley
My shirt off and tan
Free

I want instead
Fields of lavender
Eucalyptus on my trail
Laurel and rhododendron
Waterfalls
And icy water to bathe in
With Castil peppermint soap

I want to wash my hair
And swim in the Boundary waters
Canoe at the ends of the earth

I want the Sahara and the Alaskan wilderness
Yosemite and Glacier

I want warm mineral water to heal
And ski slopes to slide down

I want the earth
In its majesty

And the rough places
Not a plain

Angel in America

June 26, 2020

Gay
Always
A brother too
They both died from AIDS
Blood on his lips
I buried him in
Kansas City

Christmas, 1990
“In the Bleak Midwinter”
I could weep no more

There was no room in the inn
For Jesus
There was no room in the Church
For Tim

Ubi Caratas

June 25, 2020

She sings so high
It almost hurts
“Ubi Caratas”

I didn’t take Latin
But I get it
The Holiness of all Creation
The Love and the Word

Seaweed Poultice

June 23, 2020

Was Sam eight
When we soaked in the
Hot springs of Glenwood?

I thought then
The marriage would be healed

It took twelve years
For the minerals to melt
For the marriage to end

I went to Florida
Grabbed seaweed by the handfuls
Placed them on my eyes

A poultice of vision

Wound

June 22, 2020

It started out so innocent
First-love heart
With initials
Carved in a tree
By a Buck knife

Soon, insects would come
Sap would ooze
Like blood
The skin was broken

Animals began gnawing
Deer shed their antlers
Against the trunk

The xylem and phloem
Have trouble
They squeeze through narrow veins
A blockage
Scar tissue

But the tree is resilient
In spite of lightening strikes
Dark holes
Long lost lovers
She thrives

Puts out new leaves each Spring
And drops the old