Come. Spin the night with me
Barefoot beneath the sky, we can
dance in the garden as the heavens
twirl their skirts in a celestial tango
of darkness, stars and traveling light.
The wheel of the world is turning,
always turning. Dervish, two-step
or a waltz in three. Your call. Your choice.
Come. Spin the night with me.
I would not have liked you had we met.
I would have been afraid of the snake
coiled beneath your boots. The sound
of your voice would have stopped me
in my tracks, made me wary to proceed,
reluctant to move, unable to speak.
Never tease a rattlesnake, words of wisdom,
my grandmother’s warning, she said, it’s
best to leave them be, lying at the foot
of a stone, let them languish without peril
in the warm sun, undisturbed, at peace.
Yesterday a little brown bird hidden
in a tree sang such a positive song,
I turned in acknowledgement
and agreed, although I could not see it.
I followed the sound into the dark branches
of the tall juniper, spied slight motion
in its feathery branches, whispered,
thank you, little bird, for sharing
this fecund spring, this lush day of blossoms,
bees and fragile green, said thank you
for your effortless, fine song. My heart
was song-less, but in one bright moment,
all was changed, the cheerful voice fulfilling
some deep, unsatisfied longing in me.
Tulips break my heart each spring.
No more boutonnieres for me.
No more twining vines embroidered
on my sleeve, no blossoms in my hair,
no corsage for my breast, no soft
roses spilling from my jaunty cap,
heartless beauties that they be.
No vase to grace the dinner table this eve.
No flowering bulbs or budding trees
arriving too early, even as winter leaves,
and admonished to wait, to hesitate to leaf,
even as I acknowledge the newly green,
it’s gone, enticed by a summer dream,
bent by snow and ice, scented
no longer, loveliness lost in memory.
Tulips break my heart.
He knew beauty when he saw it,
the shape, the smell. He wanted
to hold it, capture the essence,
not to possess it but to marvel
and wonder. Looking upstream
and gesturing with his hand,
he said, those cottonwoods
along the curve in the river
sure are pretty, aren’t they?
I mark the arrival of the days
with wings, sometimes brown,
sometimes blue, or scratchy reds,
speckled greys, nondescript hues,
the blur of sparrows or a splash
of magpies at play. One by one
or all in a flutter, new ones come
while others fly away, the stuff
of dreams and memory, endless,
pulsing waves of distance measured
as time, my humanness defined
by how I fathom energy and space.
I rely on the return of the birds,
these smallest of beating hearts
that find and ground me in earth
and rock, bind me to the passing
hours, hold me captive to this place.