Origin

Merwin said on the last day of the world

he would plant a tree

Not for the fruit bearer

but for the one that stands

in the earth for the first time

What for

Wisdom’s genesis  

Innocence.  Wonder.  Remembrance.

That the first and ever ancient spirits are ants and spiders

And the land is God

So when I step out into night I can feel their quiet work

Stare and crouch

with the fervor of one who has unearthed a city lost

to the wrong kind of unknowing

Glance and brood

over either shoulder, wary of thieves

But it’s just myself and the many legged gods

And mountains

whose caps like the crowns of teeth

suggest roots unseen, dark and vulnerable

And trees

whose mortality I know if I too bare my outstretched limbs

That faith in life is moved by

a delicate and dreadful energy that is Love

How can I not feel this

I want the hawk to eat and

I want the dove to thrive

The impossibility breaks my heart wide open

in agony and ecstasy

every time

Waxing Gibbous

There she is.

I wondered how she’d look tonight

when earlier today

I swept free the cobwebs from the legs of a patio chair.

Irritable and stately,

perhaps

half a cloud sliding from one nude shoulder.

Radiant and hungry,

no doubt

searching for the approval she knows she deserves.

Wide eyed and watchful

99.7 percent full

encountering the events of the world

just as it is today:

November on the coat of a cat.

Crickets at precisely 7:58 PM.

and my mother,

sliding in a pan of cupcakes for my birthday.

Light in the Window

What if all our little deaths

are as beautiful as fall?

That somehow

to someone

even the savage that swallows us

wears on its face

our sweet aftertaste

for others to see.

Who’s to say a leaf whirling casually

to its end

doesn’t feel in its dry vein

the same absurdity as cancer

or overdose

or a broken heart?

It all reminds me of this strange dream I had last night

where I inherited a mansion

historic and regal

the smallest one in a row

of like majesty

but in the basement

rats were eating other rats

and larger rodents paced in cages

Still

all I really remember now

is how beautiful the light looked in the upstairs window.

Nepeta Cataria

If I accomplished nothing else today

I planted nepeta cataria

inside the broad mouth of a flower pot

leftover from my grandfather’s passing.

I held a pony tail of her sticky locks

and considered long the origin of her species,

the ancient quality of dirt unearthed

with five extra heaves of a shovel,

and of Annie Dillard for no good reason at all,

ruffling the tips of winter-killed grass

with the flat of her palm.

Loving her not for those words

but for how they make me know her.

I whispered nepeta cataria

An incantation

for the animal of that root bundle

to rouse with startled delight

inside the dark.