Sweat clings from her nose,
makes beads on her lashes,
collects in her collar bone
like hot summer rain.
She melts in the sun-steeped air,
drips onto the dusty ground.
As soft and as sweet as the warm berries
she plucks from the bush
and tips to her mouth.
A blueberry baby needs no thorns to guard her.
She welcomes all those
with patience who wait
for those hot summer months
that rid her of tartness,
fill out her sun-sweetened face,
so that each lovely expression
is pulled from her willingly.
An overwhelming harvest
to outlast cold months.
A sweet little kitten I found her,
and so I thought she would stay,
but the mischief inside her started to stir
almost the very next day.
Where went that sweet little kitten
who’d sleep in my lap so sound?
Now I'm more apt to be bitten!
Then away from me she will bound.
Alas, I adore this sweet kitten,
twice now the size she once was.
Forever I'll find myself smitten
with her pink nose and velvety paws.
Pollen like powdered sunshine
coats her old whiskered cheeks,
Nature’s rouge applied generously
by the wind's careful brush.
Under the boughs of a pine,
inch worms dance like court jesters
on tightropes of silk for her amusement,
as a disgruntled bee
who’s clover patch she’s made her throne
is dismissed with the flick of a gilded ear.
Joy fills the heart of all that overhear
A cardinal’s frothy trill to a love not yet known.
His proud red plumage made to commandeer,
Demanding attention from a willow branch throne.
Tell me how one cannot beam with delight
When they first catch glimpse of a mockingbird’s tail.
It fans out behind them like the ribbons of a kite
as they burst into song with the force of a gale.
An immense chorus hidden within every tree
drenched in the dazzling feathers of spring.
Regal chests puffed, they rally a plea,
Pledging their love in each verse they sing.
Wings that unfurl like a flower in bloom,
Their voices make even the coldest heart swoon
You handed me your memories from the passenger seat.
Together on long drives home,
we pondered the hushed musings of youth
that patter through heads and echo loudly
in the emptiness of half-formed identities.
Often the drive would be over, but the journey would continue,
the sound of the idling engine harmonizing
with the raucous beat of our young hearts.
Parked besides rows of sleeping houses
and wrapped in the security of a cloudless night,
my car's upholstery was saturated with tears of laughter and grief.
Rambling conversations, important only because they felt so,
shared in the privacy of a moving state,
a state neither here nor there, but in between.
We’d sit swimming in a broth of words
until life would tug open the car door,
spilling our fragile thoughts out onto cold cement,
and the chill of reality would seep into our bones,
and make us pull our ill-fitting egos closer to us,
their fragile unraveling threads the only means to stave off
the inconsolable state that marks the end of childhood.
At night the beach is devoured
by the ocean's greedy mouth.
The shoreline relentlessly scoured
by her many tongues that lap at feet,
tugging the ground beneath those
who walk her borders, who greet
their mortality with open arms.
At night the ocean eats the sky,
swallows the horizon whole
to fill her stomach with stars
that shine on each lonely soul
who walk her borders,
hunting for beauty.
Orange fur now creamy beige
bleached by hours spent sunbathing.
Dark stripes now faint shadows on your scarred face.
In your old age you’ve started to drool
when I rub your sweet head,
and tattered ears.
I stroke your fur, and find my hands dusty.
You wear your years like a suit made of earth.
Now I find myself looking
for the thin veil of dirt on a chair,
that tells me you’ve just enjoyed a good nap.
Our home is your personal menagerie.
Despite our best efforts,
you add to your collection.
Birds, mice, lizards, opossums.
Like the man in Australia
who so wished to hunt rabbits,
he released some in his backyard.
The opposite of a very good mouser.
As I write this, you’re asleep in my arms,
your nose, with one torn nostril,
leaving a wet spot on my sweater,
and as I write, I pray
I never have to look
at the hole you’ve dug in our garden,
and not see you sleeping in it.