Friday, June 17, 2016


Bridal Veil Falls, Fresh Pond, CA
—Poems and Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


Maroon—not macaroon—

hot afternoon
—how the thoughts gush


how images come lumbering

through the mist—

Marooned with my mother

looking for Christmas gifts

looking for a good buy—

the past crosses the present

in front of Oser’s old store—

long-since closed—

leaving memory

shattered on the sidewalk

I don’t remember her

ever holding my hand.

 Heart of a Yellow Rose


If the delta wind was right, we smelled
the cow barns on the far side of campus.
We filled 980 square feet
with lawn furniture and dog fur.

At night, the train whistles
called mournfully. 
And somewhere in town
a bell tolled carols on Sunday.

We were on the outskirts of Davis,
just a few blocks away
from a silver-grey, unpainted barn
that boarded horses.

I used to fight the weeds that
crowded in among the iris bed and roses.
The things I loved needed room
to breathe, room to grow.

Over time, caterpillars plow beds for new streets;
ant-like armies of carpenters erect scaffolding,
grow houses from piles of lumber deposited on lots.
The neighborhood presses in toward original streets.

My little house seems to inhale, get smaller.
I reassure it that we are far enough away
from the galloping expansion overtaking
fields and wetlands surrounding our neighborhood.

 Yellow Iris Inverted


We hired a stone cutter

for the old retriever—

put the monument by

the place on the trail

where she met that lion

back in ’58.

She was chasing a prairie dog

into the ground— 

so her attention was low.

It would have been better

if she’d looked up—

if she’d seen the danger.

Too late, she had no refuge

but the sky—

no mourners but

the infinite blue dragonfly.  



I said good-bye to the old pine tree
the day before I cut it down.  It was our
first Christmas tree in our first home.

We had kept it indoors for only a week
then planted it beside our driveway.
I said good-bye to the pine tree

sixteen years later. — We’d moved. Rented-out
the house. Our renters cut off the top to celebrate
the joy of their first Christmas together. 

The tree grew two tops, branching and splitting
over the years until one limb cracked and fell.
I had to say good-bye to the old pine tree.

I moved back into the house a while ago, after
splitting our family.  The tree lasted two more years:
our first Christmas tree in our first house.

I saved some sap and burned the last cones
in a solstice fire that warmed the winter.
I said good-bye to the old Black Pine—
our first Christmas tree in our first house.



           (Even the most broken life can be restored
           to its moments—from “Blue Hour” by Sean Christophe)

A blue heron rises from its shattered reflection
into the indigo hours before matins,
scattering runes for redemption over water so profound
no sunlight can pierce the gloom;
dark as stewed woad or mollusk shells,
lapis ground into ultramarine,
like scattered sapphires or turquoise beads.

You might think all hope is lost. —    But wait.
The great blue shark that the Maori name Mako
carves the fractured runes along a reef.
Meaning is never lost: the most broken life measures in moments.

Lamentation in flattened thirds and sevenths.
The blue whale takes up an undulating song,
calling into the diminishing future, sending longing
into every note like a prayer hummed into the void.

We dive.

All of us.
Our prospects vague as a trail of bubbles along the deep song
from beyond the range of light or contact.

We are all plunging into the blue.
Diving through air or water or visions
in the lexicon of yearning,
through the first azure shade before dawn:
of light just below the surface.


Broken as a trail of bubbles rising from the deep.
How we cultivate the pieces is a measure of our forgiveness.

Into the gathering dark, spiraling toward the depths
through a fan of ascending air, we follow the low rumble
of leviathan.

We are all broken
and only the intense pressure at the edge of life
will seal us back together.
Something vast is calling.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Katy Brown

He figured out how to mine the numbers

for meaning—a technique unique 

to statisticians—

each column a phrase in the

foreign language of cipher.

I could never balance a checkbook—

but he could keep whole treasuries

of numbers—I could find the

vacation spots—he could figure

out how to pay for it—

Together we plotted the world.


—Medusa, with thanks to Katy Brown for today’s wonderful poems and pix!

 And many more flavors...

Celebrate some of the many flavors of poetry today 
by heading down to Sac. Poetry Center for the release of 
Susan Kelly-DeWitt's new book, Spider Season
from Cold River Press, 7:30pm. Scroll down to the blue box 
(under the green box at the right) for info about this 
and other upcoming readings in our area.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.