How can it be,
brother of dragons
and companion of owls,
that here I am
a noisy, dark-plumed bird
still spinning in the sky
around your memory?
I recall your amber eye,
the tilt of your head
against the blue,
the smell of your sweat
in the sea breeze
We shared the wind.
There were no excuses
for our fealty
as it happened such a way
we did not notice it,
until the hope surrounded us,
and we belonged;
the swirl of yin and yang,
a little of you in me,
a bit of me in you,
around in the blinking sunlight
until you disappeared.
(c) RCGA 2018
For Mani: 5-30-49 — 5-1-08
I have been out of pocket for a while; the writing Muse has been hibernating, I’ve had the flu twice and a few other assorted winter maladies. I am brainsore, even as the end of Lent approaches, and Alleluia is dusted off from its forty days in retirement. Spring emerges early here, hectic and wet, and a geriatric cat came to live with the familiar and I following the passing of her person. Somehow I keep breathing, and talking to ghosts, staring into the centers of flowers and exorcising demons by exercising my wrists with paintbrushes. My steam-powered heart keeps thumping, and the bellows of my lungs heave with regularity. I assume this means I am still alive, whatever the reports have been to the contrary.
Last night there was a strange dog
in the neighborhood,
and frightened by the midnight train,
he bayed relentlessly against the thud and boom,
then fell silent at the sound
of the emergency god’s paternal voice
proclaiming all was well.
I wondered at his smothered frenzy,
at how easily quiescent the most feral falls
listening to father.
In the daylight those that huddled down
pretended nothing happened;
a crow displayed glistening wings to the sun
high in a budding treetop,
and dropped a broken strand of plastic beads
onto the muddy sidewalk.
Another country heard from:
hydrangeas from a distant shore.
The island of my husband’s family
cheerfully inscribed with a message
from a mutual friend
tugs at my nostalgia for his long fingers
holding up the camera,
his drawl coaxing me to smile for him,
then turning to a flower, closing in;
both subject to his fascination
enclosed in pixels just as much as mind,
his warm regard upon my face
a swathe of summer sun
and the scent of long-faded blossoms
somehow brushes across me
(c) RCGA 2017
Moonlight shines through the curtains
a streak of white in the darkness of my room
a river of milky light spilling on the sheets
tickling the cat’s whiskers
pouring across my thigh
cool and pure
and the repetitive sound
of the night train passing
is punctuated with a periodic wail
a metal wolf howling
at the full moon
(c) RCGA 2017
The crow comes to the high tree across the way
and talks to me in code
two caws, three caws, seven, then two
I don’t know what he’s saying
but I respond
my ragged awks less resonant
he answers me
fluffing his black feathers
spreading his dark wings
upping the ante
with a longer call pattern
Today it was just one caw
one after another
and he only went to two
when I gave him two of my awkward calls
When I came inside he flew away
and I wonder what we have spoken of
what he believes of me
from our conversations
bird and woman
perched across the street from each other
in the spring sunshine
3-23-17 © RCGA
Here is the rabbit
in the burrow
while the coyote
and the buzzard
light a fire by the door,
waving smoke and sweet talking.
“Little Rabbit, I will be kind,”
“I only want your skin, I swear.
If you give it to me now
I will go away
for the season
and come drive you out in the winter.
I hear death to cold is easy, small friend,
a simple nap to the other side.”
“I am kinder,”
“I will wait until you’re dead to eat you.
But I’ll be honest, if you come out now,
you’ll make us happy
and when you are gone
we will sing for you
songs of thanksgiving…
isn’t it tempting?”
Rabbit sighs, and lights tobacco, and sage.
“Wait, wait, brethren, until I am old and slow.
Then when I come out I won’t even run.
Until then seek some other burrow
that may find your voices pleasing.
I have enough roots to sustain me til spring.
By then you’ll be frostbitten
and your navels meeting your backbones.
So off you go, and thanks for the fire,
it keeps the wolves and foxes back,
and they tend to dig at the door.
Next time bring some sweetgrass,
maybe some cabbage, or beer.
You really need to work on your approach
when there are so many predators
competing with you.”
(c) RCGA 2016