You Know Who You Are

Flat tires, fire ants, phone solicitation

We think of you with dread anticipation

Slapstick, turtle sex, tomato jello aspic

You’re as funny as worn-out elastic

Nightmare, pickled-pigs feet, IRS

We’d be pleased if you forgot our address

Queen bees, arthritic knees, balding pates

Remember, everything gets replaced

Root canals, bus exhaust, gelatinous Spam

Must we repeat it once again?

Charley-horses, mother-in-laws, old retriever bones

We’d be happier if you just left us alone

Last Night in Magnolia

Full moon lays a lacy wreath

Below a shadowy seckle pear tree

Red fruits shone on branches

Bent heavy with full season weight

Pearl night all the better to see

A clear parting show

Always observe fully what is lost

Before embracing new gains

Summer Evening Remembrance

I remember my father with hose in hand

A spray of water arched expertly over new lawn

His curve of smile held me spellbound on the steps

Maybe he was happy like that at bowling alleys, too

When constant irritation at six kids and three jobs receded

His bull-neck and clenched jaw slacked in momentary relief

I didn’t know then that he was from a state called Illinois

His people weren’t farmers, just poor field hands

Just as we always were, in those Army dog years

Everywhere we moved he’d test the soil

Lift palmful of dirt to his nose for inspection

Sifting and sniffing in wordless appraisal

My father could grow green grass on any continent

New blades obediently rose to heed his command

Tonight I stand and water my new garden

Smell the dampening earth and aid seedlings take hold

My own smile of deep satisfaction comes bittersweet

For there is now so much I know

So very much too late

Legacy

When I was seventeen and irksome

You knocked at my bedroom door

Swore through gritted teeth

That no matter what I did

No matter what my father’s booming voice decried

That I could always come home

Later, you were fifty-five and stupified

Slouched and spreading in tacky polyester

Your red-rimmed eyes were dulled

And I came to know what price your words

That kindness born only after many tears

See how the ground bulges each spring

And listen to the migrating birds call

Their return a recurring miracle

Like your gift to us of an angel sister

Or your bedtime readings of the rhymes

And wild tales written by Brothers Grimm

I shall always feel your soft hands on my back

This March, in stone light

The season of my birth

I am coming back to you

Just as I will always come back to you

With memories of tulips and spoken books

And your fountain in the backyard

From its center spouts a blue stream

Three Pink Roses

-for my mother, Anita

I picked these long-stemmed pink roses

Turning each branch three times

Checking for its best side before I cut

Each stalk trimmed to perfection

The thorned rubbed off

A tiny white plump spider dislodged

From this bouquet, the best that I have got

I took care to smell the opened petals they were sweet

Now I have a five year old firstborn, bright as a July day

Who prints her name with your old letter press set

A special set of wooden stamps you let me first use as a child

You printed Anita Janice there in Nineteen-twenty-eight

She has added her Olivia Jane below your own

On the inside of the 64 year old cardboard lid

Anita and Olivia, today I watched you walk away together

Up the ramp, off the ferry Rhododendron

Roses in hand, a seamless branch between generations

Song for Elisha

There will always be a struggle

When the road brings unhappiness

Desperation may surround you

When relief’s around the bend

Don’t let the bad times overtake you

Some say pain’s the greatest guide

Know happy days are like a circle

They’ll come rolling ’round again

Happy days are like a circle

They’ll come rolling ’round again

And there’s just one thing worth having

Trusting warm-hearted friends

There will always be a challenge

Temptations trying to slip through

Keep your heart open to wonder

And good paths unfold for you

don’t you get discouraged

You know in your heart its true

In the end only love matters

Taht you give and that you do

Happy days are like a circle

They’ll come rolling ’round again

And there’s ust one thing worth having

A true caring circle of friends

November Sunset

As woodpecker punctuates a smoky sky

Help me to be of service, my heart cries

You have a long way to go, the heavens reply

That’s alright, take my body now, it will be yours someday

Do with me as you will

Far greater to serve, than to be serviced

I am more thankful each day for beauty

Bird folks chirp me on and frog croaks presage rain

This sunset is my dying day

Those clouds are my dying father’s face

I feel more joy that I’ve ever held

I shiver rather than go back inside

Watch the willow molt from branch to tip

Fill my lungs with scents of turned earth

What have I dont to deserve, maintain this?

For there is so much on earth to be done

In thanks, for this single moment of eternal joy

Gift From the Garden

Smell of mown grass and pruned bay laurel

Riding on a cooling May breeze

Jewel bright iris nod and water

As always, the bees do as they please

Fanned and amused I take ease

Watch the stain of sun-tea color water

A captive bloom spreads in a bottle

What deed has earned this moments peace

May Morning

Mid May with green newborning

Goldfinch heralds spring morning

Cleft clouds set loose a ray of sun

I ask aloud, what deed need done?

Nary, but the minds unfolding

Reaching out to glory beholding

The answer comes with gratitude

For Nature’s quiet beautitude

Take this gem of beauty found

Carr it within your crown

For each of us reflects in fact

This perfection, a divine pact