Farm Ponds

May 18th, 2015

The farm pond gurgled
Like a chorus of stomachs
Waiting for dinner.

For three days it rained.
Pond became a fast river,
River, a new pond.

Each pond had a name
Only bullfrogs could pronounce.
They sounded the same.

Standing between ponds
We shook our heads in night’s song
Roaring stereo.

Pond Two rolled on south
Under roads to other fields.
Water flows downhill.

Some water stayed here.
Before red heifers came home,
Pasture drank that pond.

The first pond still shines
Just over the rise with ducks—
The sky’s own mirror.

The second pond roams
Green pasture, eating itself,
Watching me sit still.

2015

Rite

April 26th, 2015

Outside it rained
and prayer flags
flew like magic carpets.
Lighting cracked
the night. We laughed
in silly play, a ritual.
Into my lucky limbs
four friends struck
earth with fists,
lit fire with friction,
spread rivulets of water
through my spine,
threw wind with finger tips
across my plains.
We spun like planets.
Took turns as moons.
I didn’t know my mother
had so many hands.
I didn’t know I was a kid
in need of them.

2015

Not Broody, but Dying

April 24th, 2015

Four days after he found Geoffrey Greg Brown
sprawled dead
on her side in the run—blocking the door,
I found Rosie face down
under the roost, buff wings folded neatly
like a proper lady,
head tucked beneath herself like the curl
of a question mark.

2015

Susurrus

April 23rd, 2015

Frogs chirp in rounds in the muck
of what’s left of April’s farm pond.

20 years ago, a rancher pulled a calf
out of the hole in its ice
with rope, plywood and a pickup.

I open windows at bedtime to listen.

2015

Healthy Choices

April 22nd, 2015

Twelve-hour work day?
Watch a two-hour war film
Instead of sleeping.

2015

Elegy for Geoffrey Greg Brown, a Fine Hen

April 20th, 2015

When the first chicken you ever loved
Dies of unknown causes
While you are out of town,
And your practical partner
Tells you he has tossed her
In the dumpster, do not judge him.
Pull her out when you return,
When time permits a burial.
Examine her brown plumage,
Recollect the story of her mystery,
How she joined this flock
From who knows where.
Marvel at the joy of unknown origin,
Clandestine breeds.
Remember how she squatted,
Stomped her feet for you
To stroke her velvet back?
Imagine a year of her brown eggs
Bloomed now in your musculature.
Notice in her current limpness
She was more than body—
Clever, friendly, generous bird
Full of electricity and hope.
How she would chase you
Carrying the compost bowl!
Remember her gentle beak
Stealing seed from your palm,
The way you wished the others
Would learn her etiquette?
She is lighter, smaller now.
Her head lolls side to side
On the walk to the shed,
Her eyes two shriveled sockets.
Where is the animal you loved?
You dig where water has run off
The roof of an old outbuilding
And made the ground soft.
Your shovel finds its way with ease.
Sing simple syllables over her,
Curb the urge to wish
Her constant ghostly presence.
Even chickens must move on.
Spread her perfect wing.
Try to take her feathers
With bare fingers.
When that fails, find scissors
In the kitchen.
Pluck two from the neck,
Cut two from the left wing
To share with your youngest son,
Who, like you, knows the power
Of a good name and called her Geoffrey
After you named her Greg Brown.
She never knew her names,
But Brown and Neruda
Were wrong about chickens.
Sit her up in her new nest.
Gather brown upon brown.
Set a log on end.
Promise to carve her name.

2015
with love and thanks to singer/songwriter,
Greg Brown, for the story after this song.

Wont to Do

April 19th, 2015

On this night
of our second anniversary,
Venus burns her lamp
remarkably bright.
How odd, I thought,
pocketing my own small
flashlight. I couldn’t help
but guess she and Mars
were arm in arm
on their walk through
the pasture, too,
but they are not
as close as we are.
He went down and she
shone all alone,
mopping up the aftermath
as love is wont to do.

2015

To Gravity

April 18th, 2015

At last up the sled hill
With boys who both
Outweigh me now,
We give ourselves
To gravity like children
And snow.

2015
Leadville, CO

She asked for it

April 17th, 2015

Give me a good one liner
And I just may let you live.

I’m already dead.
Nice try.
That’s not my one liner.
Mmhm.
Go ahead, I can’t be killed.

Point blank.
I don’t tremble.
Sunflowers sprout from my eyes.
My arms become a flock of snow geese.
My body, the prairie sky.
My legs, a washboard road.
She walks it, lost.

2015

…his snore to keep

April 16th, 2015

Morning in my arms
when he gives
himself utterly
to the unselfconscious
proboscis of sleep,
and breath catches
deep in the center
of his innocence,
contentment makes
of me the lord
of a shoreless sea.

2015