—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Medley of deficits and deductions,
emerging markets in India, bottom lines—
you stuffed those stresses back
in your briefcase; snapped it shut;
walked out in the giddy green morning—
meadow exploding with popcorn flower,
bouquets of dainty toadstools, litter
of petals under the arches of wild plum.
You kept on walking, and here's what you
found: an old willow soaking his feet
in the stream, recalling years of green-birth
and fall. You sat down beside him—that's all.
of April field—
necks in bloom, hey
After the angels faded, a lacuna.
A lake patched with fog, and dark spires
of fir standing sentinel on islands.
One friend after another becomes a number.
The lake drifts out to nameless sea.
Of clouds, a sky we call gray
emptiness, a gap that makes us nervous.
We grasp our worry-beads
and huddle closer
to the dark we've always known.
I forget the algebra that deciphers
this scene to light. A passage
we overlooked. Ripples, syntax.
The lake has no boat, but a far shore.
Angels guard the way with song.
—Kim Clyde, Sacramento
When I was young
I used to follow the moon.
I would wake
Every hour or so
And clock its march
Through the heavens,
Watching its progress.
Waiting for the big
Yellow harvest moon
That seemed to sit
In the top of the trees.
I never saw the man
And now can only see
Sometimes upside down,
Sometimes right side up
Looking further out
Into the wide
Searching for its mate
Not unlike me.
A DREAM OF DEEP WATERS
—Patricia Hickerson, Davis
I’m up to my thighs in deep water
must get you across deep waters
push the boat you lie in across deep waters
here’s a stop at Mother’s old house on Ross Avenue
a resting place
up the porch steps into the living room
after a thigh-high struggle through deep waters
pushing you to the brink
you can do it, Mother counsels
I return to deep waters
pushing the boat you lie in
pushing you to the brink
A car is approaching.
I hear its tires running softly on the macadam road.
The macadam is black and soft with tar.
Not like the harsh concrete streets I once knew.
The wheels are running silently on the soft macadam road.
A car is coming toward me on the soft black tarry macadam road.
Will it stop?
A car is a machine with big black lazy tires.
Tires go round, four approaching.
I will walk out of the way.
A car is bigger than I am.
Let the car have its way.
It will anyway.
I will walk away as the car approaches.
Let it have its way.
PUSH (for Rachel 1950-2009)
she pushes a stroller
a baby sits in it
the baby is laughing at weeds rustling along the sidewalk
they laugh together
the baby at 7 months is old enough to laugh
laugh at a rustling in the weeds along the sidewalk
she and the baby laugh together
the baby’s first laugh
her little girl
her little girl she pushes in a stroller up a long, steep hill
her little girl who laughs with her
CAT STEP (for Aaron)
kiss the cats goodbye
arabesque into the car
flailing against traffic
down the freeway to the workplace
comb the computer keys
music of work
music of talk
shuffle, paw, m-m-meow
back to the car, the wheel, the road
back to the country
the breeze, the trees, the creek
the home, the woman, the cats
cats arching their backs
cats in a huddle
stretching their legs
pirouette around the table
dinner for two, cats nibble
cats on high, cats on low
TV and a basketball game
coach the kids, the sweat, the pain
the court of balls, baskets raised high
home to bed to play, to sweat, to laugh
cats on the pillow meow
to cry, to perish in the arms of pas de chat
Take your time. The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors, and a note that we have a new photo album on Facebook, this one by Michelle Kunert, featuring readers from the Sac. Poetry Center reading last Monday night.
And thanks to Taylor Graham for her lovely Musette, our "Form to Fiddle With" this week. Hey—how come nobody tried the Brevette last week? It's never too late—click the Shadow Poetry site under FTFW in the green box at the right of this for info.