Monday, December 30, 2013

small poems: from the last few months of 2013

buried beneath all the hats
my favorite mittens
(I thought I lost them)

solstice morning
forcing my steps to slow down —
the sun so late to rise

my proud father
doesn't know how to drive —
posing his daughters
beside a neighbor's car
(I was looking at an old photo of my sister Laura and me, late 1950s, taken near our apartment building in the Bronx. I don't know whose car we were standing in front of but it certainly was not ours; Dad didn't learn how to drive until a few years later.)

hibiscus tea
a deeper red 
steeping into this winter day

oranges for you and me
today, tomorrow —
grandmother's bowl

can it be?
my great-grandmother —
a shadow moving behind
my neighbor's window

a week in West Virginia
weeds as high as my waist
and every night
green beans & ham for dinner —
we never saw each other again

that summer afternoon in Central Park
a thousand strangers chanting om —
the boy next to me
leans his head on my shoulder
and takes a nap

thank you 
for the amaryllis —
yes, it is still blooming —
and you already live
on another continent

a child
both dreamy and wise
polishing a single square
of kitchen linoleum
(Praise song #1031, for Marty Blue Waters. This childhood memory was shared with me the other night as we were drying dishes in our kitchen. Apparently Blue spent about an hour on that square and couldn't understand why her mother wasn't more pleased by her effort!)

6 a.m. or p.m. —
hard to know the difference

icy sidewalks
pine cones and one squashed worm —
I step carefully

birds call to one another
admiring my
purple scarf — I'm sure!

under the weight
of 8 rotting pumpkins
my neighbor's sagging porch

my neighbor's front step
plastic pumpkin 
head over heels

Halloween morning
my own shadow
creeps up on me

a shallow hole in Kansas dirt
rainwater reflects 
the moon on my face

walking along
counting my steps
counting my breaths —
a Blue Jay crosses my path
as if to say
lighten up —
a few blocks over
here he is again
checking in —
I bow to the Jay
as he flies away
(encounters with the Buddha early on a Saturday morning)

grey upon grey —
this wet September morning —
until my neighbor turns the corner
under her emerald green umbrella

after the rain
my neighbor's neat rock garden

rain on a tin roof
watermusic —
nothing to do but listen

morning walk
on the same vine
emerging rose, fading rose

between each breath

open windows —
my neighbors' well-stocked bookshelves
curious cats

all along the beach
tiny shells
sharing big secrets

listening in —
ocean to moon
and back again —
good night
good night