a riot of starlings has settled in my head – a cacophony of ink blots – and I wonder, when they all at once take flight, which bits of me will be left behind?
these things cannot yet be called memory –
too fresh, too new, too aware of their own being
to be relegated to the corners of ponderous afternoons
how that spring you sprouted, sudden and furious
in the sanctum of breast, winnowing tendrilled
assurances around and about these willing ribs
until my breath became as entangled in yours
as any two rapturous vines spurred on by the warmth
and wild insistence of an inveterate sun
but like the dark ivy you so often tugged from off
the stolid bricks, you wrenched all our entwinements away,
though still I feel the green sap of you – sticky and stinging
as sharp-scented as if you’d never left
I was the kid who was forever bringing home strays or baby birds. Some I’d thrust upon neighbors (apparently I was hard to resist), some would hang around, and some unfortunately wouldn’t make it. I stopped doing this when I hit about 12 years old. But then in high school, my friend called me with 4 baby rabbits. From what I understand, her mother’s boyfriend had set traps and the mother rabbit had been caught in one. And now here were her orphaned babies who were clearly too young to fend for themselves.
I took on the care of Hoover (named for the vacuum cleaner, not the president). He was small enough that he required warmed kitten formula from a medicine dropper every few hours. I remember cradling him in my palm with his oversized feet sticking up, feeding him until his belly was round and his eyes drooped. It was the last few weeks of school and I carted him around everywhere in a little shoebox and when feeding time came, the teachers let me use the microwave in the teacher’s lounge to warm his formula.
Eventually he got big enough to start eating leafy things on his own. I’d take him out into the backyard and let him wander beneath the safety of a laundry basket. There was a nice little patch of clover near the garage where I’d set us up for an hour or two every day. A couple of times, the laundry basket was removed but he always hung around and let me take him back inside. Until one day he decided he knew where he belonged and darted into the neighbor’s garden.
I didn’t try to go after him. I knew it was time to let him be what he was meant to be. We saw him quite often over the summer, munching away in the gardens – clearly thriving.
I thought a lot about Hoover while I was painting this. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like a stray myself. But then I think that sometimes all we need is for someone to show us the clover. And that will happen when we’re ready to come out from under the laundry basket.
tonight, it’s the Blues
that slow-doleful prayer for understanding –
a measure of salt for the cheeks on a night spent by the window
with a glass of something that burns (on the rocks, of course)
and that solitary pine for companion
tonight, it’s the Blues, yes
but tomorrow, I’ll be Jazz
the crocuses have awoken, a defiant yellow flare against the bricks
and my shoes have grown fonder this year of puddles than I might wish
so much so, that my toes have pruned by the end of the day
yet I am reluctant to cast them off –
who am I to come between lovers in the spring?
I never told you that for weeks, the graffiti on the backs of the bus seats said quest and that’s how I knew to kiss you
here now, wondering what’s next, someone has scrawled exodus