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1.9k · Apr 2017
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
The artist paints yellow, pink, and red
roses on her canvas,
glints of blue at the edges
dripping and spilling.
Something for spring, she says.
She gently smiles,
her hand rubbing
the swelling curve
of her belly,
just a black shirt and ragged blue jeans
covering another kind of canvas.
something else entirely
waits to bloom.
National Poetry Month Day 25
1.2k · Mar 2017
Spring Art Exhibit
Laura Slaathaug Mar 2017
In the library,
the woman walks,
cane in hand,
bundled in a red coat,
green scarf over her shoulders,
her husband beside her,
in his slate coat and cap,
a checkered scarf
tied at his neck.
She pushes her white hair off
her forehead and peers up
at the paintings on the wall,
splotched and messy and bright,
the work of elementary students.
Paused at the paintings
they think of times when
they were that young too,
under the open sky--
her leaving clothes on the line
him chasing his dog back home.
They didn’t know each other then,
or maybe they did.
The details slip away
like summer into fall.
It doesn’t matter now,
but there was a time when she
held his hand on their walks
instead of a cane.
Oh, the watercolors
look like
ones Dan and Janie made,
Oh Dan,
he’d said he’d call,
or did Janie?
They can’t remember and think
of disintegrating paper
and blue drips on the table.
Instead, they finish their stroll
and both agree--
Lovely, wasn’t it?
1.2k · May 2017
Laura Slaathaug May 2017
Even on the bottom branch
sometimes, you must be the first
and only
leaf to bud.
National Poetry Month Day 28.....(I can still post these in May, right?)
1.1k · May 2017
Laura Slaathaug May 2017
Doesn't it hurt biting your tongue
and squeezing your mouth shut?
And you keep trying to change--
to be softer, less loud, less of
what the world made you to be.
So, don't keep trying to stay silent;
the wind never does; her songs
echo in the branches overhead.
The river laps and splashes
against the bank.
Someone always hears it;
someone always listens.
If birds call out to each other,
and they always answer,
surely if you speak
someone will understand.
National Poetry Month Day 29
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
and you have only to take
off your day and
put on your night.
Your worries can't
go to bed with you;
they'd never fit,
not even in a California king.
So, you dust off your dreams
and shrug them on,
old and familiar
And you when you lie in bed, sleep soundly
because you've never given one dream away.
Day 20
1.0k · May 2017
To Have a Daughter
Laura Slaathaug May 2017
Brother, you told me once you were scared
to have a daughter.

You knew this when you baby-sat
a baby girl with your wife,

and you, a former American Army infantryman

melted and was brought down in a way

that the guns you faced in Afghanistan never could.

She’ll be my princess, I remember you saying.

A little girl all dressed in pink,
whatever she’ll ask for, you'll give it.

You were relieved when the first child

you and your wife had was

a baby boy, but to be honest,

you melt all the same,
even 9 months later.

But I’ve always wanted to ask,
“Why are you afraid to have a daughter?”

You know the stories how our mother gave birth for the first time

and how she labored in the car
when she drove herself to the hospital.

And how your pregnant wife came home on her lunches from work

and would cry on the floor because her back hurt so bad,

But she still sat up and went back to work--

the same way our older sister cried on her first day back

from maternity leave and parted with her baby boy for the first time,

the same way Mom went back to work when you and Dad deployed.

What you know of women is that we’re strong,

that we dry our tears and continue on with the world.

Really what we do is keep the world spinning
with the force of how much we love.

So anything, you give your daughter
will be returned in multitudes.

You were taught the same way to love that I was--

instinctively and unconditionally and unrelentingly.

And maybe you’re afraid that your daughter

won’t be able to walk home alone at night

or that no one will listen to her,

And you know this is a poem from your younger sister.

So savor that I’m saying you’re not wrong,
because I don't know when that will happen again.

Your daughter may have to work harder to be heard

and to keep herself safe than any son you have.

But know no matter, how strong she is or how hard she works

that **** still happens

and it won’t be her fault.

and you know because you have two sisters

and you’ve heard our stories.

Statistics say that 1 in 3 women experience ****** or physical violence.

We have one President, who bragged on a Hollywood Access bus

about grabbing women by the *****  

because they let him

and because no one stopped him.

Brother, be scared of the men who would hurt your daughter,

but brother, don’t be scared to have a daughter,

Because she will love you the same way
your wife, your mother,

and your sisters have loved,

that our bodies may break and tear in the doing
but we will choose to do it all over again.
960 · Apr 2017
Like many great things
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
the Mississippi starts small,
at the headwaters.

A child can cross
stone to stone, almost slipping
into cold water.

Sometimes they do fall,
but stumbling and soaking wet,
they finish crossing.

Now, these blue-gray stones
and clear rippling currents still
sound like their laughter.
Day 1 of National Poetry Month.
1.  Your cornflower blue eyes crinkled and laughing, sometimes flashing like the storms you love to chase

2. Your strawberry blond mop that smelled nothing like fruit but instead of sweat and grime, clinging to your brow when you removed that Pepsi baseball cap

3. Easter egg hunts on your birthday, like plastic flowers in melted snow and you up trees and on the roof of grandma's garage

4. Rare compromises that built tree forts or wound up the tire swing until it bounced and whirled its passenger like a spinning top

5. When everything you did, I wanted to do too--whether it was rescuing the princess or flying an X-wing

6. Diddy and Dixie Kong headlocked and tangled in armpits, wrestling for the Super Nintendo controller or for the remote for the VCR until Donkey had enough and made them both watch Barney

7. The laughter of you and your friends from the basement or slipping around the corner, back when I said “Me too” and meant “include me”

8. Games of war crouched behind the couches when the only war you dreamt about was the one in Narnia

9. The cliff in Hawaii over the smoking volcanic ocean water and Mom screaming for you to come down

10. When you push me, like the dominoes you used to line up and watch devotedly as they toppled over, one after the other because sometimes general incivility is the very essence of love.
Laura Slaathaug Mar 2017
Mom doesn’t like poetry
since it’s not clear like how things should be.
Until you write her one,
and beaming she’ll put it on the fridge with a magnet.
Mom likes things sorted and clean, papers off
the table or in the bin, dishes in the sink or the cupboard.
What is this? Why is this here?
If it’s clutter, it’s just stuff. Don’t save it.
In her room she has 37 years of photos
and sometimes tears up when she thinks of her parents
but she would never admit it.
So, she laughs and means it
when her grandchildren dump the box of toys across the living room
and the dogs slide down the hall past the family photos
and bang open doors after a bouncing ball.
Most of the lines on her face come from laughing, crows’ feet dotting her crinkling eyes.
Her birdcall laugh hangs high above any room
like a day-warbler or a hooting night-owl over the treetops.
So much of her is rocks and earth and order,
but every bit of her speaks of beating wings and blue skies.
Mom’s favorite color is blue, deep like the ocean, bright like the sky.
Don’t tell her blue’s a sad color;
she dressed her baby boy in the ocean and then his sister
when she could fit his hand-me-downs,
and then laughed when the disapproving daycare lady sent her daughter home in pink.
She lives with her husband of 36 years in a light blue house
and relished painting skies on her kitchen and living room walls
after 10 years of white and little time
and laughed again when her children protested at the blue walls, rugs, and curtains.
Time may pass,
and the blue curtains, rugs, and walls may have disappeared
and her children may have had children,
but blue is still her favorite color and her children are still her children,
and she still doesn’t like poetry.
900 · Apr 2017
Northern Spring
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
On the first day of spring, I see bare earth
and feel the cold in my fingers and toes.
So, I ask again when winter will end.
But the birds sing early in the morning
and remind me with the promise of the sun.
Wait, they tell me, for all good things take time.
So, I wait for sun shining on the rain
and for the rain falling in the sunshine.
Here, melted snow mixes with dust and dirt.
But remember, this is where flowers grow.
Day 2 of National Poetry Month
840 · Apr 2017
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
They say repeating your words loses meaning.
They say repeating words loses meaning.
Say repeating words loses meaning.
Repeating words loses meaning.
National Poetry Month Day 11
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
 So well, honest people make poor poets,
since they want dockyard receipts from Sparta
for how many ships Helen’s face launched there.

Honest details make the best poetry.
Poets plant made-up gardens with real toads,
where clothing and china patterns are art.

Poets write because they have things to say.
They write because they have things they can’t say,
and so, start with the sobs they can’t swallow.

Poetry is like life, being one big question
that you live until the answers arrive,
And emotion finds thought and thought find words.
National Poetry Month Day 8. Writing prompt: Repetition poem
Laura Slaathaug Jan 2017
Sometimes I think of long lace hemlines, following a trail of white petals

and tree branches arching to form a dome,

sunlight dappling the green leaves like stained glass in a cathedral

But that’s not what I dream of.

Instead, I dream of black nights that turn into dim mornings

where we crowd the couch

And you play your guitar while we sing, voices cracking

and when we look at each other with blood-shot eyes,

we can’t help but laugh.

I dream of rain slapping our skin when we run, arm in arm, for cover,

my jeans are soaked, I shake from the cold, but your hands are warm

I dream of alarms ringing in the apartment, smoke billowing from the pan,

Because I burned the eggs again, the steam and smell of soap and grease

when I scrub the pan and make toast instead–

and you insist you don’t care—

but I make up for it with coffee later.

I dream of long trips, arms out the window and arguing over who’s going to drive

or who gets the radio station this time

because I’m tired of your folksy rock and you really,

really don’t want to listen to Beyonce

but we both do it anyway.

If I dream of a white dress, it has stains from the coffee we shared.

If I dream of petals, they’ve been drenched by rain and torn and trampled by our dancing.

Don’t tell me what I dream of isn’t beautiful because it’s messy and flawed.

For a thing of joy is a thing of beauty forever.
702 · Apr 2017
I look up at you
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
my head in your lap
my thumb on your cheek
and you look down at me
and say, What?
Nothing, I say
and glance away,
redrawing your face in my mind--
the curve of your nose and cheek,
the steadiness of your eyes,
how your hair just grazes your forehead--
wondering what you're thinking.
I ask you what you're thinking.
And you answer, It's like you expect me to say something.
No, I say. I'm just looking at you.
And I remember
head on the pillow,
thumb on the keys
when I miss you.
National Poetry Month Day 18
695 · Apr 2017
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
In first grade, I brought my music box and
baby frame from we lived in Italy to show-and-tell.
The frame showed me bald like an egg, half-smiling
with my length and weight written
with my full name across the middle.
It was something small to prove
something I couldn't remember.
Before I went home, I put the frame
with my music box on the floor by my locker--
Then I turned and found under my shoe
the shattered pieces of the frame.
A sense of loss twisted my insides,
like when you can't find your cell phone,
with all your photos and
messages you treasure
A piece of your life is stolen.
But a friend lends you a phone,
you break up with the boy
who sent you those messages and meet someone else.
That was how I learned to do it,
by gathering up the broken pieces
and bringing them home in a paper grocery bag.
When my mom said it couldn't be fixed, I believed her.
When she said not to worry, I still did.
She said everything was going to be OK and it was.
She lifted the lid of the music box,
and we heard mandolins playing once more.
Day 6 of National Poetry Month. Prompts: Fortutious poem and NPM changes
685 · Apr 2017
Nocturne Draft
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
Picture a room with white walls, small-windowed.
Through the window, no moon shines like it should.
This view knows streetlights better than starlight,
in the tender dark of this April night,
but someone's still writing about their glow.
And I know her eyes are heavy with sleep.
Still she watches the silver twilight seep
toward the tall lamps-posts, like spilled earl gray.
She wishes like a dream that it would stay,
that she could stave twilight from its lilac fade.
National Poetry Month Day 14.
666 · Mar 2017
It's just a bed.
Laura Slaathaug Mar 2017
A piece of furniture–
wooden-framed or not
with a mattress
or mat long enough for a human of any size
with cloth coverings and a pillow.
Small or big, puffed or flat.
Quiet, empty, unmade, made
Yet this is where we are born,
where we pray,  
where we lie,  
where we love,
and where we die.
Where we begin our day and end it.
We may spend a third of our life here
or more
in sleep, in tears, in joy.
Like with a lover, we hesitate to leave--
or like with a mother that promises cover from the world,
we cling to her skirts and breathe in linen
while she pads our ***** heads.
But like children, hesitant and weak we go
stumbling over our foal feet
and blink at the newborn light through the blinds.
Day is dawning.
The world continues to spin, and with it
day grows longer.
Spring promises to knock on my window
and wash me clean in the first rain.
Winter is gone and took her shadows.
The world alive outside calls me
But still I come running back,
to the feeling of softness, closeness, my mother’s hand
on my shoulder as she tucks me in
or you beside me, your arm around my waist
and voice in my ear.
So tell me, what is it
that brings us back
to here,
you to me,
me to home
to this piece of furniture?
To this bed.
656 · Apr 2017
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
The seasons change
and you paint what you see:
Silver snow banks,
fragile trees with budding leaves
red blossoms, exploding pink roses,
and gold leaves gleaming in puddles.
And we wear the seasons on our backs:
Sweaters with snowflakes,
light-weight light-green silk scarves,
blouses and strappy sandals the color of tulips,
cardigans and boots heavy like the falling leaves.
And so inside reflects the outside---
the sky above the water,
photo next to the paintbrush,
the window on the house,
the window in your living room.
National Poetry Month Day 26.
651 · Apr 2017
In church Grandma prayed
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
and made faces at the priest
while he broke bread.
Surprised, he laughed like a king
for the jester in the pew.
Day 3 of National Poetry Month. Elegy prompt.
641 · Apr 2017
Part of the Pitcher
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
Your friends' new place is by the Red River;
You notice the wood signs hung on their wall:
Stencils with the first letters of their names
comprised of corks from bottles they emptied
and another--"Pasta and wine, good times".
When they talk, it’s about
parties with beer, wine, and ***** spilling
out of cups, down dresses onto the floor;
recalls of day-drinking
and smoking cigars on the balcony
in college and oh, just last-night’s partying
yes, at Jason’s wedding
reception in the Ramada ballroom.
Don’t forget the leprechaun loop of bars
downtown on St. Patrick’s.
or the party buses that bring you there;
the first stop will have a schooner waiting  
with Long Island iced tea.
This talk of drinking makes you all hungry,
at Barbacoa you order tacos
and margaritas.
and think of ordering another round.
Another day, you drink pink lemonade
at Olive Garden and ask, How would it
taste in a cocktail?
At work, coworkers laugh off a hard day
and someone says, “I need a drink.”
And someone adds, “We all need drinks.”
At the bonfire on Saturday night,
someone laughs about the campus’s bikes
being thrown and found in the Elm Coulee
and another adds, “We like to drink here.”
Someone says, “That’s why I have a big cup.”
Who needs a bike anyway? They have cars.
Some of your friends drinking are driving home.
When the cup passes to you, you sip some.
The fire flickers and blows smoke that flies
into the wind over the rest of town,
over a river that can’t quench its thirst.
National Poetry Month Day 13.
633 · Apr 2017
An Open Letter to Poets
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
So, you want to write a poem.
Dear, dear writer, don't you know?
I come on my own time.
Prepare me a space
with white linen and
scarlet red roses.
Sweet talk me pretty,
or you'll be the one
up all night pacing,
pining for your poetry.
So love, you expect the best--
Well, I give when I’m ready.

                 Yours truly,

Day 7 of National Poetry Month. Prompt: Favorite thing on the Internet
630 · Jun 2017
Lessons Learned from a Tree
Laura Slaathaug Jun 2017

1. It never cuts itself down.

2. After six months, it never gives up hope of budding again and rests in the silence of winter.

3.  When its limbs are severed, something green shoots up where nothing should.

4. When the high wind comes, it stays upright.

5. It grows, never stopping, and rooted, reaches hands first toward the sky.

6. Its only weapons are arms raised high in praise.  

7. Without thinking, sighing branches give shelter; green leaves screen the sunlight and grant dappled shade in high summer.

8. And when it falls, as all things will, the only way to erase its imprint from this world is to rip roots from the earth. Even then, when you look up into the sky, you will still feel its absence.
624 · Apr 2017
At the horizon
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
the ocean holds and kisses
the sky so softly.
Day 4 of National Poetry Month. Unconventional love prompt.
Laura Slaathaug Jun 2017
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.
610 · Apr 2017
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
Tell nature that she can’t fit
all seasons into one week.
She’ll laugh so hard that
she’ll make the sun shine on Monday
that she’ll rain tears on Tuesday
that turns into snow on Wednesday
and she’ll start all over again on Thursday
while kids sled on melting snow on green grass
down the hill on Lincoln Drive--
an act of joyous surrender
and you unzip yourself like
the parka you wore for one day
but keep for all seasons.
National Poetry Month Day 21. Nature recycles herself here. Seriously. Don't get too comfortable with the weather.
603 · Apr 2017
Baby, Don't You See?
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
This is a cliché for you.
I would decorate you.  
in these rows of letters,
maybe paint it on your skin
because just saying it isn't enough.
I want to see it.
I want to hold a mirror to you and me,
and say, See baby, don't you see?

So, I write it and hold your hand and kiss your cheek,
my head on your shoulder.
If only I could give a touch
of the love
you give to me.
Day 10 of National Poetry Month.
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2018
you’ve just hung your vibrant
dripping orchid that you’ve dedicated
to your mother
who passed not so long ago.
It hangs on wire I’d given you.
My drawing skills are beginner, you say,
and I won’t learn anything
at the intermediate watercolor workshop.
And I take a deep breath and
hold back the anger sour in my gut.
With one comment you dismiss
all that I’m worked for
over the last ten years–
ten years of painting on and off
and drawing for even longer.
I am not a beginner.
My paintings hang colorful and
bright on the other side of the room,
and I’d written on one (finished that afternoon):
“I’m learning to be brave.”
These hands, dry from scrubbing paint stains,
have learned
to swim in deep paper oceans
under a bleeding sun,
that too much water crumples the paper,
that scotch tape is not painter’s tape,
that sometimes done is better than good,
and a good drawing is essential.
I don’t know everything,
but I know more than I did ten years ago
when I had no money or knowledge
about paint or canvases.
Instead I remember at age 16
making my own canvas with glue, printer paper,
cardboard, and tears.
Here I painted lilac sunrises of better days.
This is my growth.
This is my intermediate.
Do you think I’m some beginner
who’s lost her way,
who’s aiming for things
higher than her reach?
Do you want to guide
me to the right path?
Why does your path
happens be your sister’s
400 dollar watercolor workshop
instead of the cheaper
100-200 dollar weekend one
that I signed up for?
This is where I could tell you that
I look all of the skill around and me,
all the art prints in stores,
and think, Yes, I can do that.
Yes, my paintings
hang on the wall next to yours.
And I’m not afraid to take them
down and start again.
This is what I’m thinking
and can’t tell you.
So, instead I smile and tell you,
l consider myself intermediate.
594 · Apr 2017
A Cape for Daylight
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
Starlight is just a crack in the night sky.
The night is just a cape for the daylight,
a shadow spanning the earth's blue surface.
The earth is just a blue marble spinning  
around the sun, catching a flash of light.
The sun is just a yellow bonfire
roaring in a space without sound or air,
like in your head when you read these lines.
This is just a poem trying to describe
the magic to be glimpsed in the night sky.
National Poetry Month Day 12.
546 · Apr 2017
Picking Dandelions
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
Yesterday, you saw a dandelion
and you could have cried.
You remember rolling down green
dandelion-covered hills.
When did you stop racing up
and rolling down hills?
When did you stop flying kites in the high wind
or picking dandelions for your mom
just to see her smile?
Darling, who says you have to
grow old
and accept the creeping stifling cold of
Who says you have to stop
National Poetry Month Day 27
532 · Apr 2017
Another April Snow Day
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
See morning rolls around,
and brings another April snow day

This sleepy town stirs
on white streets under a white sky
And the only lights that shine
are the ones in traffic--
red and yellow watercolor
on the windshield.
We get home, the lights are down.
We lie in bed under the blankets
and dream of spring...
In barrooms across town
others gather ballads and sing.

Drive these roads
See for yourself the sky
flat, where meets it the earth
and the stars glimmering cold
And Polaris promises to bring you home
Even if they let you down,
you'll rise up off the ground
when you hear morning sound,
maybe it’ll bring one more day of sun.
National Poetry Month Day 22. Heavily inspired by "Another Day of Sun" from LaLa Land.
525 · May 2017
Laura Slaathaug May 2017
You can’t forget;
that there is another way to fight
with an open palm
instead of a closed fist
and with a stubborn refusal
to hurt those who have hurt you
454 · Apr 2017
The Lengthening of Day
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
In early morning, see your shadow now
borne from gold light from the window and here
it looks something silver on the desk and
bends over the chair, an arc of bird flight.
The morning light lingers like a halo.

Look further now, the richness at your feet.
For a moment, even your darkness shines.

Next morning, it will be here as usual
with the familiarity of a friend.
Not too long ago, life was all shadows
and not once did daylight shine on your own.

That time will come again, of course, but recall
that today stands alone and beautiful.
Day 5 of National Poetry Month. Prompt: "Write a poem like Mary Oliver."
Laura Slaathaug May 2017
Write it down, You fear people forget you.
You’re a garden, where children pluck roses
at daylight, singing about the beauty.
When night falls, they trip on roots they can’t see.
With the cold wind at their backs, they leave.
When day comes again, no beauty remains--
Petals and stripped stems crushed by tennis shoes.
Would you want a garden stripped of beauty?
Maybe, if flowers grew again in sunlight,
maybe children would return, laugh, and say,
“See how beautiful. See the beautiful!”
Was it not beautiful yesterday?
       Lying dormant in the earth or sprouting,
       know your roses will always endure here.

Growing, regrowing, roses bloom without thorns.
If you can’t see it, know you are lovely.  
For the effortless way you let them leave–
your petals perfume the feet trampling you.  
        Alone, you wait out the night.
        Even then, you are lovely.
National Poetry Month Day 30. (More like 40 days but......FINALLY.)
410 · Apr 2017
Down on South Washington
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
Out for a walk today, you're looking out a ***** window.
You squint against the overhead sun and see a sky,
ripped and faded light-blue like denim--
the clouds wispy and thread-bare
receding into the white horizon.
Here the sky meets golden-brown grass,
flattened and dry like a pancake.
On the road, the cars dusty and dull,
not even the clean ones shine that much,
but they still sound loud and rushing
like high wind or running water.
You wouldn't be able to tell it's spring here,
except for what it says on the calendar.
Well, the snow is gone and left last-year's trash;
plastic ******* and grocery bags
litter the ditch and empty lots.
It bothers you, so you focus on the patches that look green,
under the brittle stems of old grass.
This is what spring is to you:
dirt, dust, dead grass, and
Marlboro packs and canisters of chew on the sidewalk.
It's the planting of seed in an empty lot,
watering the dry soil,
and clearing out whatever winter buried.
Here, the first stirring of life clears the dust from the window.
Day 9 of National Poetry Month.
393 · May 2017
Laura Slaathaug May 2017
Try to write when you are happy.

How do you write windshields with blue skies on                              

long car rides, window rolled down, wind in hands;

your bedroom ceiling at golden hour,

light from your window bent into a striped                                        

rainbow of sea-green, yellow, and coral;

your niece cackling, lobbing a blue balloon                                          

to your sister, who holds baby Sawyer;

your cat purring, folding into your side                                                  

a thousand times like a origami crane;

the trees bursting with red-pink and white blooms                          

that quickly appeared in the last few weeks;

if that, like the peace you have now, you          

don’t notice them til the petals

have left the branches

piece by piece?
Posting my final edit again because the website seems to be working. Sorry!
Laura Slaathaug Aug 2017
Your beard ****** 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?
350 · Apr 2017
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
See how the farmer waits
for his  crop to sprout,
for spring rain to fall,
and for autumn harvest.
So you must too,
Your seeds are being planted.
Know your happiness,
because darling,
you need nothing
but patience.
Or better yet, call it hope.
Natizonal Poetry Month Day 17.
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
At that winter smiles in the North
and melts into mist
and returns a few weeks later
with soft snow flakes from the sky,
on an April afternoon
the same day the sun wore
her yellow raiment
and the grass put on her green dress
in preparation for spring.
The trees know better
and wisely kept their leaves tucked
up in their buds and sleep still,
warmed by the hardened shell of their skin.
We learn it is better to wait, to plant our seeds
–instead of letting their promises freeze
like our uncovered fingers and toes
during the false fade of winter.
So the sandals are put away,
and the scarves, gloves, and fleeces
come out of storage.
It feels cold now, but you smile
because you remember that
you are still warmer than the days
that turned your fingers blue with ache
and turned your breath into mist.
They say there is a season for all things,
and now growing things lie still,
except for you.
So, you wait
and grow more patient.
National Poetry Month Day 16
340 · Jul 2017
Laura Slaathaug Jul 2017
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 *** contained a plant you did not know.
You were not surprised when the orchid died; 
but how did the pine tree drop 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.
336 · Dec 2016
Laura Slaathaug Dec 2016
When you woke up today,

did you take your mask off?

Did you inhale the oxygen

of uncrowded air

and drink water for a free mouth?

Did you eat and taste foods

that you haven’t tasted properly in a long time?

Did you mark the blue veins in your wrist

and remember you are alive?

Did you breathe out the monsters

that stirred your dreams?

After all, they were the reason

why you wore the mask.

Maybe you can’t help

but put it on again,

Or maybe take it off just a second,

and remember who

you are

without it.
325 · Apr 5
Williams, Arizona.
Melted snow and dusty streets.

You and I had to stop.

We’re drawn to places

of power, like roadside

attractions. No matter how

cheap or quaint they seem,

they’re free of cliches.

Here it was, a shrine to

Route 66--even if it was

just a ***** painted banner

on a faded tan brick

gas station wall:


BY I-40 ROUTE 66


OCTOBER 13, 1984.”

You parked the rented car

on broken pavement.

You had to stop and take a

picture under the sign and

between the parked Sequoia

and mud-covered pickups.

You don’t know to

pray, but you know how

to pay attention,

how to halt and idle

in the exhaust of diesel fuel.

Really, what else should you

have done? Doesn’t everything

disappear too soon? What door

will you open now that your

sacred window is closing?
319 · Apr 3
Streets at Dawn
The only time the streets are paved
with gold is when the sun rises--
poor Dennis feels rich
old Marlys feels young
everything slow seems worth waiting for.
The birds fly north and greet the sky.
Over the streets the sun pours
like honey from the jar.
It's another day, and you doubted
you'd make it this far.
When the darkness feels too heavy,
your hands too empty,
don't forget that joy
comes in the morning.
315 · Apr 2017
Down the Slope
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
Find the river
where you find the trees,
past the flatland
past the sleepy town
beyond the gold wall
a trail of silver leaves will  
lead you
down the bank
Find the faint smell of mud
and the stirring of naked branches
prickly dead grass and trees
littering the *****—
Some cracked and white and crooked
most brown and brittle
and all of it wild
and weaving and spinning
a web of shadows
A crow may caw and fly into the blue
A red squirrel may scavenge in the dirt and skirt up the tree and pause in the crook
and watch you watching it
A tall cottonwood may creak as you
trespass under it’s hooked branches
and you’ll find it
its tarnished silver rippling
curving and swelling
like a snake
biding its time
National Poetry Month Day 24.
312 · Apr 2017
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
We talk about beginnings and endings
like we know what they are and can spot them
coming around the corner or predict
them like a green light turning red in traffic.
But really, we're just stuck in the middle
of a book without titles or chapters-
a movie without rewinds or pauses
or dramatic music in the brackground.
Instead you'll hear your steady inhales and
your exhales, your heartbeats,your thoughts echo.
National Poetry Day 15. Prompt - Middles
289 · Apr 2017
Why do you?
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
You keep on breaking
your own heart
when you live your doubts
and **** yourself with your what-ifs
So, here's the thing:
People will do the breaking for you
so I ask you why you don't chase kites
and sunshine and free air?  
Unburden yourself
And live as if your heart was never broken,
And if you can't, just think of it as cracked
to let the light in
And to let the poison out
So, climb mountains and rocks
What are men to either?
And all three crumble
No one is invincible,
but some like you are adaptable--
quicksilver, when the earth crumbles around, you will always land
--even if you're on your back
you'll still see the sky wide open with promise
and no one can stop you from reaching
National Poetry Month Day 19
285 · Apr 2017
Dream of Colors
Laura Slaathaug Apr 2017
Somewhere it's green
and  dandelions and soft grass
grow on hills
Somewhere it's blue
and the sky and stones meet
the river
Somewhere it's red
and squirrels and bridges
climb higher
Somewhere it's more
than white skies and white streets and
snow falling.
Somewhere you and
I walk in the sun and never
dream of spring.
National Poetry Month Day 23.
282 · May 2017
How to Care for Old Wounds
Laura Slaathaug May 2017
If scabs rip off
your skin like buttons
off your collar
and expose flowing blood,
wipe them clean and
retrieve sterile bandages.
Change them each day.
Repeat, watch your sores close.
You'll heal; take care.
And don’t mind if your skin scars.
Instead, take hope.
All you needed was time.
274 · May 2017
Cognitive Dissonance
Laura Slaathaug May 2017
Like a doctor

you want to cure others'

ailments and injuries.

Do you expect patients,

when you have no patience

for your own pain?
Laura Slaathaug Oct 2017
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
suspenders 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.
206 · Jul 2017
Laura Slaathaug Jul 2017
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.
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