"What we are capable of
is not yet known,
and I praise us now,
~ Dorianne Laux
Last fall I planted papery teardrop bulbs,
forgot they slept under mulched earth.
Orange and red snapdragons, blue ageratum,
quickly covered them over.
In spring, Peruvian lilies rocket toward light,
firework clusters of tiger striped blossoms.
Backyard planters incubate bearded iris,
inky jowls streaked gold, peach and purple.
Mornings, I strip away thistle and spurge, deadhead fading roses,
admire fairytale stalks of pink and white foxgloves.
Primed by the simple routine of establishing order,
I scribble embryo poems at my desk.
Letting words rest overnight, I allow them to breathe,
reveal their subtext, disclose hidden secrets.
In the garden, concealed daffodils resurrect,
push through nasturtiums, unfold yellow trumpets.
“We are all starlight, fragments of a great eruption.”
– Joan Colby, from Contemplating the Owl
in Bony Old Folks
Splinters of the mother-in-law I knew
manage an occasional cognitive jail break,
shine through the miasmic haze
of progressive dementia.
Family names are erased,
part of ongoing mental implosion
that consumes memories, her ability
to participate in conversations.
Some days she refuses to dress, get out of bed.
Other times she’ll come to our house for dinner
but has forgotten how to use a fork and knife,
eats salad and quiche with her fingers.
“You’re a good daughter,” she tells me
after a treat of wild blackberry ice cream.
All I can offer is a hug and sandwich bag packed
with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
Del Monte Beach
Silently, I ramble to rocking gray ocean
where squid trawlers drag steel jigs
through clotted schools of tentacled silver.
Overhead, stoic pelicans, circled by gulls,
observe squirming carnage,
swoop in for fishy spoils,
skim above orange paint brush,
pink sand verbena.
Wordlessly, I savor salt breeze,
sanctuary bay, this holy meditation
upon soul-piercing beauty.
Inhaling white sage perfume,
I admire steepled masts, barking harbor seals,
drifting scarlet kayaks.