I really don’t care, she said. Do you?
The sky was blue, without a cloud.
I turned toward the sunrise,
felt the rays on my face,
moving in shadows that stretched
across the hills, fingers of light
that reached westward toward
evening and sunset and open desert.
I deadheaded the chrysanthemums,
picked up limbs fallen in yesterday’s storm,
noted the juncos and white-crowned sparrows
had arrived home for the winter and
stood briefly in silence before the one
perfectly formed rosebud that faced the first frost
of the season and survived. I checked the feeder
and filled the fountain, while the small brown birds
fluttered and chattered in the aspen trees nearby,
the two well-fed dogs sleeping soundly in the warming sun.
I watched them breathing for a moment, before lightly
stroking their fur and whispering their names,
and going inside. Yes, I do, I thought. Yes, I replied.
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.
mundane (plural mundanes) An unremarkable, ordinary human being. (slang, derogatory, in various subcultures) A person considered to be “normal”, part of the mainstream culture, outside the subculture, not part of the elite group. (fandom slang) The world outside fandom; the normal, mainstream world.
It has become mundane
to see two eagles hunting
from my kitchen window.
There are no surprises here.
Work in the fields is hard.
Men come home without fingers and limbs,
Sometimes lifeless in the back of beat-up trucks
and squeaky wagons. Maybe you’ll get a chance
to visit bedside in a hospital in the nearest town,
gaze at the broken body and the bandages.
Maybe you won’t get that chance because
no one can recount the details, no one saw.
Sorry, ma’am, there was nothing could be done,
nothing, not now, not then, not ever.
Here’s what’s left of him and his clothes.
He was a decent man. That’s what I learned.
I learned this sweet life could be over in a flash.
We could be struck down off a John Deere
tractor like a dove picked off a low fence line
by a well-aimed rock. One minute you’re here
happy, singing like a lark, and the next…
well…it’s a good thing horses and wheels
and the sky can’t talk. That’s what I learned.