Sitting and Riffing on Stacey’s Virginia City Porch—Fall 2016

Joining in call and response with magpies,
busy thieving from the finch nest in the lilac bush,
dive bombing the gutters on the roof,
Flock. Tribe. Gang.
Omen. Portent.
A solid mass of black and white at the heart of the barren grey tree
across the road.
Whose is the birdcall that sounds like a squeaky wheel? (Is it getting the grease?)
Dog love. Ruby, dancing with delight at my gate.
Rubbing in circles round my legs, my scritches following her onto the ground,
where she opens herself up in happiness.
Me next, please.
Clouds Doubt—img_7727
Clouds flowing by like current in the sky.

Grateful for sun this self-doubting day, when grey would only reinforce the mantra:
You are not other people’s burden to carry,
Child to feed.
If this work had merit, it would have a lover by now.
The prices paid to date have been a gesture:
Empathy. Solidarity. Faith…but not Merit.

Then I argue that that is only my own growth debating the younger me…
the knowledge of how to make it better, more interesting…not helpful…
and will myself into the stream of the clouds in the sun.
Weather Bonds—img_7400
Riding pants, a sweater and boots to a summer sheath and bare feet, in minutes.
The grass is still green in this yard—the moisture holding on, even as the deciduous trees are going yellow and gold and russet…and then naked and grey.
Though the ones across the road to the west are holding onto their green…a stand-out, my favored chartreuse…
color of strength, color of hardiness, color of resistance against death, color of lingering summer, color of resilience, color of protest, color of vibrant life,
like a jewel out here in the darkening landscape…
the muted one, before the brilliance of White takes over,
with the clarity of True Cold.
A bracing wind off the mountains, lifts the table cloth, the newspapers covered with turpentine and paint leavings, my dress,
Rattles the crystal stars and bulbs strung along the porch ceiling,
the beautiful, woman-made night-constellation
that carves this house out of the darkimg_8181
with Stacey’s glittering spirit.
A circle of chairs,
meant for gathering,
conjuring plenty–whether or not the larders are full,
they make them seem so–
an invitation.
The Helena Handbasket, hanging from the window,
an old wicker fishing creel; the kind my father used to carry.
His smelled of water and trout.
Hers smells vaguely of pot.
Both make me smile.
Both my Montana worlds.
Chemistry Artistry—

Textures, patterns, designs of decay,
reclamation, reforestation.
The stuff we’ve built, left to itself,
slowly returning to ground,
leaving a revealed art on the way.
Glittering panes, singled out by survival,
rows of board showing both their grain and the skill that made them,
cured them, attached them;
the bones of making and un-making,
composition and decomposition.

The buzzing and knocking of fat flies
caught between the window pane
and the plastic covering,
Splat-splatting against the glass in a bid for freedom.
Useless. They will be fat black dust
to sweep up with the grass and leaves and dirt the next time the Virgo moves me.
Cohabiting with the winter-going wasp
Startling me on the honey set in the kitchen window to melt,
on the fruit, on glasses in the dish rack.
Wandering, wandering wasp,
trying to find its place.
Or its end.
Like me.