(Note to readers: If you want to view the cards in order, you need to scroll down to week 1)
For some reason rhyme slipped into a couple of this week's offerings. Rhyme's like that, I've found. Shows up when you least expect it, hangs around for a while, buggers off again. Perhaps I was inspired by Kim Bridgford's lovely poem, "Faith", where she responds to the image of the inside of a church in Iceland with "The curves of worship/are tilted up like prayers./The awe you feel can/take you unawares,..."
Already I miss the anticipation of going to the mailbox to see what came in. Communication has changed so much, just in my lifetime. I remember when you picked up the phone and someone—always a woman—said, "Number, please", when the idea of email was the stuff of science fiction, when mail was the only reasonable means of staying in touch with distant friends and relations. My grandmother, for example, received the letter telling her of her mother's death back in Ireland, some four weeks after it happened. Now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, we may find things out before they've made the news.
It's not better. It's not worse. It's just different.
Huge thanks to everyone who wrote, whether it arrived or not, and a special nod to Paul and Lana who got this rolling and then got out of the way.
MEA CULPA, MOTHER EARTH
I first polluted the air
when it filled my newborn lungs
and I expelled it with a howl
that shook the world like butterfly wings.
Mea culpa, Mother Earth:
I’ve cut trees so I could
festoon them with gaiety
for a week or two
then toss them out the door,
I’ve let water run for no reason,
I’ve put plastic bags in the landfill
and gone for groceries
leaving the cloth bags in the car.
The car—oh yes,
isn’t that what got us here?
Should have bottled that newborn breath
and pumped it into my bicycle tires,
should have stopped, now and then,
What is there to cheer about
after a death? The one who’s gone
will never have to mourn us, I suppose.
After a death we ought
to invite cheerleaders
to orchestrate our grieving.
Last time the dollar was this high
a trip across the border for a meal
or a night out
was no big deal. Now you can arrive with every
document you own— driver’s licence, passport,
birth certificate, marriage licence, sworn affadavit
that the kids are yours, and still you may be denied.
“Prosperity and Security” the buzz these days
“They go hand and hand,” says George,
or was it Stephen? George, the media reports,
has finally stopped calling him Steve.
What a relief they’ve cleared that up.
What to do about the fire that jumped the border
at Pend D’oreille without any declaration at all,
apparently trying to head south for the winter.
ODE TO BLUE COUGARS ON 69 CENT U.S. STAMPS
All month you’ve been stalking me
throwing words at my feet
amber eyes fierce, unblinking
ready to pounce.
Is it better to be stuck in a cage
or on a stamp?
You’d rather be roaming the hills,
fording streams, traversing scree
in search of your next kill.
Some choice you’ve got.
I’d be blue, too.
hand finds curve
in the bowl of a ladle
feet tap time
to the rhythm of the wheel
whispers in the room
echo voices of the ancients
telling of a history
so fantastic yet so real
she spins yarn
from the wool she’s carding
he drops shavings
on the just-swept floor
old way—best way
secrets they are guarding
light shines softly
through the kitchen door
blink of eye
Lay me down
on a bed of thorns
make no promises
for the coming days
soon the eclipsed moon
will rise and illuminate
the distant sky
What begins as a trickle
soon grows to a steady stream of words
adjectives falter on slippery rocks,
go under, then bob to the surface
gasping while eddies of nouns
float on fat verbs.
Let it end with a river
the moon waning in the cooler nights
Orion calling you home.