and you’re lucky

because God knows already

someday you’ll learn.

you’ve met the love of your life
in college
before age 25
and you both want to marry in the church on campus
where you met—
flower crowns for the bride and her maids and
and rolled-up sleeves for the groom and his men.
You want to settle
near both of your parents
(they’re close enough that you won't have to compromise too much)
and work 9 to 5 Monday through Friday in the city  
and spend your weekends on the lake
and boat, jet-skii, watch the sun pass
through the sky and over the water,
where you learned how to swim
(your father threw you in)
and thus, you’ll teach your children.
They will call your mom Grandma
as she makes walleye and hotdish for supper
and they will call your dad Grandpa
as he stokes the campfire for roasting s’mores.
It’s nice to know
no water is bluer and no sky is clearer
even when moon and stars flicker
like lanterns in the wind as the clouds pass over.
It’s nice to never wonder
because you never asked for more.

Your beard pricks like thorns
your lips soft like leaves
your cheeks as red
and when you smile
you bloom
and mean it

Can a man
be a rose?

The potted plants on the deck are all dead,
and you are not sure which slip-up to blame:
Ignorance of botany or neglect. 
One pot contained a plant you did not know.
You were not surprised when the orchid died; 
yet how did the pine tree decay to dust? 
Now there, you have three pots of dead plant dirt:
crumpled leaves, wilted stems, and dried debris–
of living things conceived, grown, and scattered.
You failed
but you can dare 
this dirt 
to start again.

How I feel when I write poems lately.

Alexander, I can say things about you
they say nothing about you.
I can say you have green eyes
you have green eyes often cloaked in shadow and the dark dilation of your pupils.
I can say you have white fur  
you have white fur, gray at crown and chin, pale fur fuzz clinging to my fingers.
I can say you purr
you hum softly in your throat,
down your back to your tail.
I can say you like to be pet
you stiffen under my touch
and relax and roll like a wave
and paw my hand for more.
I can say you like to sleep
you sleep upright on the floor one eye open,
curled up in a ball on the bed, 
walloped on me and wedged in my side.
I can say you sleep now
you wait--your green eyes
hidden behind your lids
and  your purr slipping into snores.

a child's first exposure to water:
18 months, curious and shivering,
he runs on brown wet sand
under the wide cloudy sky
to the blue gray lake up to his knees, lapping against his legs.
He feels the mud oozing between his toes.
Light glimmers on the waves,
and splashing, he tries to catch it.
Hands in the wind-tossed water, he grins.
When the wind roars and pushes him back,
his hair stands on end.
he stumbles
and turns and sees his mother,
blonde like him,
her hair wrapped up in a knot, windswept
dressed in white
her belly round and soft and full
like the moon--
there like she always is,
waiting and watching with care
even when he can't see her.
Like the tide coming in,
he goes to her.

  Jun 4 Laura Slaathaug

wasn't it?
to feel the knot come undone,
the winds shift,
to feel it so from skin to soul,
to speak of going,
and then to go.

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