The Kittens

For Sanaa’s Get Listed at Real Toads. The four words I chose were lucid, touch, sleep, gravel. This is also being posted on dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.

The Kittens
it was a clear and chilly morning.
The gravel crunched beneath my feet
as I walked back from getting our newspaper
from the foot of the drive.
The chill snatched the sleep from my eyes
and the frost sparkled on the grass.
The morning was like a lucid dream
and I bent down to touch a blade of grass –
the frost melting beneath my fingers.
I put the paper on top of some boxes in our garage.
Something caught my eye.
I looked behind the boxes and saw a nest of newborn kittens,
huddled close and tight for warmth
And then I noticed the maggots
crawling on their beautiful fur.
My mind warp sped to the body of a cat
I had seen in the road a few days earlier.
The kittens were stiff in death –
Orange, tabby, black, and calico
all together in a nest of death.
I began to weep in grief.
The morning turned to nightmare
as I grabbed a shovel and walked
to the edge of the woods to bury them.
When I was through
I sat on the back steps and thought
of how the death of wild kittens
could hurt so damn much.

The Old Wall

 

The Old Wall
The wall around our family plot in the cemetery
is waist high and built from local stones.
The stones are weathered
and some are missing.
My great-grandfather’s great-grandfather
built the wall when the first grave was interred –
his wife and son, both of them dead in childbirth.
Grief built the wall.
Grief holds it there.
Covered in lichen and moss,
sometimes a few fallen leaves,
sometimes a small stone added to the top
to record a visit.
It wraps around the graves
holding them in its secure embrace.
The wall was there when I was born.
It will be there when I die.

Old stone wall with moss and lichen

The Evidence Clearly Shows…

For Poets United, Midweek Motif: Evidence.  A brand spanky new never before seen by anyone poem.  Years ago I made extra money doing autopsy photos.  This was the day before all the technology and photographic and DNA gizmos.  It was simple – black and white.  Snap, snap, snap.  The coroner removing body parts, weighing them, pulling back the skin, spreading the ribs.  Speaking into a small hanging microphone while a clerk stood by transcribing and a photographer walked around taking photos of wounds, the body exposed, etc.  The summation usually ended with, The evidence clearly shows death by…This is also being posted for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night

The Evidence Clearly Shows
“To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.” Oscar Wilde
No evidence of drugs in his system.
No evidence of foul play.
No evidence of auto-erotic asphyxiation.
Just him, hanging from the shower stall.
I wonder what dark place he visited
before he embarked on his final journey.
I wonder about his thoughts before taking the last step
into parts unknown.
One has to wonder.
One has to grieve.

Painted in Tones of Argent

For the weekly 55.  When I wrote this, my mother was dying. She has since died.

Painted in Tones of Argent
My backyard sleeps under
the full moon like a drowned Atlantis.
I sit on my back steps inhaling
the scents of honeysuckle and
a whiff of pot from my neighbors’-
A faint scent of petrichor:
the storm breaks
weeping on the trees.
My mother is dying.

A Year

A quadrille for Kim’s prompt using the word cycle.  What is a quadrille?  It is a poem of exactly 44 words using the prompted word.  The title is not included in the word count. Exacty a year ago today, my mother died.

A Year
The year cycles through its paces
Summer, fall, winter, spring.
A full year has passed since you died.
Today dawns as it did last year –
warm and sunny,
deceptive in its kindness.
I sit on the back porch
listening to birds singing your name.

mama as a baby

The Doe

For Karin’s prompt at Real Toads, What is? I don’t know if I met the bar but….here is my poem. I don’t use metaphors. I only write what I see and feel.  Also visiting dVerse Poets Pub open link night with this.


The Doe

“And to die is different from what any one supposed, and
Luckier”. Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass
Now that we speak of dying, And should I have the right to smile:” T.S. Eliot Portrait of a Lady III

I don’t know why I have been thinking of death,
sitting up here in my tree.
Maybe it is the suicide of Tony Bourdain or of a friend a year ago
or maybe it is the death of my mother,
almost a year ago.

The tree bark is warm and rough behind my back.
Green shadows dance about my head
while birds sing and fly and fluff
and squirrels chase each other,
some of them coming perilously close to my head.
I had dropped down some withered apples from
my pantry for the forest folk to forage.
I heard the faint crack of a branch and looked down
to see a doe nibbling on the apples.
She looked up and for just a moment
almost fled.
But then she resumed her eating.
Perhaps she had seen me sitting
on the back porch as she wandered through our yard.
Her eyes reminded me of my mother,
large and pansy brown
looking up with innocence,
looking up with knowledge of her dying.
looking into my eyes with sorrow
at leaving me behind.
I’ve been thinking a lot about death.
I wonder what it is.
I don’t know what death is.
I only know what it isn’t.
Today it isn’t the blue sky and green trees
and the doe eating apples
at the foot of the tree.

Termites

For Kerry’s Camera Flash prompt over at Real Toads.

clock-of-the-acad-mie-fran-aise-paris-1932

Termites

“Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.” Oscar Wilde

Figures swarm the bridge over
the rushing spring river –
figures looking like ants or termites swarming.
So intent on their business
looking neither to the left or right
or up or down only straight ahead
The termites swarm
never seeing the splayed bloated naked body
tumbling in the rushing river,
going past them, underneath them
looking like a starfish or
a blowup doll.
It finally wedges itself on the bank
into a nest of branches
finding its way home.
The termites swarm
over the bridge.

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