Bonded to a boulder, living on air and random rain, a forty-year-old lichen claims a thumbprint of space. Centuries from now it will be the size of a dinner plate, will still be young when the millennium turns– not that age applies to a thing designed to override death.
Maybe this doesn’t sound like much of a life: stuck on stone, nothing to do but make more crust. Or maybe it’s a thrill a minute, living up to all that potential.
I would like to find out, to lie on a sun-warmed rock and give myself up, to become with steady assurance all I was ever meant to be.
News of animals, their misfortunes. Hopefully she has not seen these stories. I wouldn’t know.
Broken egg yolks. I give her the perfect yellow rounds, the slightly bigger shrimp, the cookie with more chocolate chips. I am nothing if not vigilant.
Worry about her health, especially her asthma. My anxiety will not help her breathe.
Worry about my own health. The little things. My body is my job, not hers.
Silly, daily mistakes I make. Which might, at this age, cause her concern.
My soiled childhood. This is what therapists are for, to hear the words that must be said to those will not be gutted.
Behavior I regret, the pages of our book I want to rip out. Admission is not absolution. Instead of infecting her with these images, I offer myself now, the improved version, the best I can muster. So far.
Her eyes are clouding with age, and when she peers at my face, I see confusion in hers: How do I appear to her now?
All I can do is lean forward and kiss that small patch of white just above and between her eyes, the star she was given by a god who foretold this moment. She bows her head slightly, allowing my reverence, knowing her worth all at once.
An osprey dives over and over,
as many times as it takes to stay alive
and become incidentally superb.
Driving down the road near my house
I see them flying, a stunned fish in their claws,
as if nothing could be more ordinary
than a bird bringing home dinner.
Wings or brains,
we work with what we have.
I can’t snatch a meal from the ocean
at 50 miles an hour,
but I can plant a garden,
make stories out of thin air,
learn the difference
between an aspen and an alder.
Minute by minute,
even I can be splendid.
Sometimes they are not dead.
Sometimes they just live far away,
and even if you stopped by for a visit
what words would persuade them
of your betterment, the worth
you finally achieved?
What could they do but listen and nod,
knowing what they know?
I am delighted to have two of my poems, “Snow” and “Vultures” featured in the latest issue of Voice of Eve. This fine journal promotes the poetry of women.
“Voice of Eve is a web magazine dedicated to showcasing quality women’s poetry. Our hope is to build a community of women who can be empowered by sharing and reading each other’s work. We believe strength comes in unity with diversity and ultimately it is love that binds us.”
Thank you to editors Jason Splichal and Jeff Sommerfeld for publishing “The Photograph” and “Nonconsensual” in Issue 7 of Sky Island Journal. Jason and Jeff have raised the bar on literary journals, honoring their contributors with kindness and respect. Every issue of this first-rate journal features exceptional prose and poetry.