I want to go swimming in the brook
like we used to, getting lost in time
until we couldn’t feel our fingers and toes,
only getting out when our lips turned blue.
Wrapped shivering in towels
we’d try to get warm on a rock in the sun,
talking and giggling and imagining.
The no-see-ums or the mosquitoes or the horseflies
finally chasing us home to find
only an hour or two gone
out of the longest short season: summer.
Eevee-cat and the Bugs
The porch light draws the bugs to our back door
She knows they will find the holes in the screen
and lies in wait, splayed out on the cool floor.
She plays, then chokes them down: extra protein.
A Slippery Slope
Peculiar. Eccentric. Strange. Quirky. Odd.
Sad. Bizarre. Outrageous. Anal. Oddball.
Aberrant. Outlandish. Whimsical. Freak.
Awkward. Screw loose. Ditzy. Wacko. Gonzo.
Weird. Cuckcoo for CoCo Puffs. Meshuga.
Touched. Loopy. Crazed. Lost your marbles. Loony.
Nutso. Bonkers. Nutty. Out of your mind.
Basket case. Cracked up. Stark raving mad. Cray.
Nuts. Bananas. Off your rocker. Batty.
Certifiable. Unhinged. Cracked. Dotty.
Mad as a hatter. Batshit. Looney Tunes.
Screwy. Loco. Sick in the head. Crackers.
Crazy. Nuts. Mad. Mental. Schizo. Psycho.
Lunatic. Disturbed. Deranged. Demented.
OCD. Manic. Moody. Depressed
Of unsound mind. Insane. Mentally ill.
The Trees Have Their Own Songs
Now that you’ve learned the songs of 100 birds,
your task is to learn the sounds of 20 trees.
It is especially easy when it rains:
“a splatter of metallic sparks”
or “a low, clean, woody thump”
or “a speed-typist’s clatter.”
This acoustic world is open to everyone,
but most of us never enter it.
Through sound, we come to know the place.
Life is about relationships;
not just networked, it is network.
The self degenerates into the network.
Roots draw nutrients from symbiotic fungi
and communicate with bacteria.
Leaves sniff the air to detect the health of neighbors
while releasing chemicals that summon
Photosynthetic cells harness the power of sunlight.
Seeds are dispersed by far-flying birds.
All words and phrases are from Trees Have Their Own Songs, Ed Yong, The Atlantic Monthly, April 4, 2017
What’s On The Menu
Coffee for dinner
A melatonin nightcap
I could be thinner
The Objects She Left Behind
for Emma Morano
Fame came late in life,
to the tiny two-room church-owned apartment.
Her simplicity was sculptural;
photos of her parents and siblings, some religious images,
anti-aging cream she applied every evening.
“The doctor told me to change air, and I’m still here!”
She would sneak out at night to go dancing.
A jar of grapes with grappa and sage.
“I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone.”
She kept rosaries by her bed
near a photo of her only child, buried with her.
She loved clocks that chimed like Big Ben.
She was very house-proud,
she would put newspapers on the floor
so their feet wouldn’t dirty it.
Verbania thanks you. We are proud.
You’re in my nightmares,
calling me all those names
that are really what you think of yourself.
Deep in my wiring,
though we share no blood,
I will never fully exorcise you.
Even when you die
I will revive you,
imprinted with all you held against me.