When the sun sets – red – in the trees,
I lie in the new grass.
The cat comes, too.
Together, we sink into earth,
sniff the soft, green, blanket that holds us,
breathe in harmony.
Life is the color of things:
of place, of thoughts, of people, of sky and trees.
(I have lived in gray, know that place well, for which I am grateful –
for its gift is to know, for the first time, the color of things).
Life is the color of things, and
it is good to breathe the riches of sky and earth,
of shadows across sky, of green grass that carries earth’s fragrance,
of long autumns and bright maples, of spring melting snow banks,
of a navy blue awakening, dawn.
The color of things lives in the eyes of friends, when sadness lurks,
when pain is not covered with dull happiness. The color of things, this gift, earth, and all
that is in it,the heart, and all that is in it.
rumbles, marking work and action.
Here, hummingbird darts at the red feeder,
chases the giant sparrow away (chuckling, of course).
Squirrel hordes nuts and things for winter.
The small creatures of earth move as if there is no train in the distance, as if this moment is all there is, which is truly true, busy, bursting bodies, breath.
A siren roars , cuts through silence in which the creatures thrive, part of the mystery, also.
Reflections, autumn morning, city
My little friends,
there is so little I am good at in this world:
my children want for what they cannot have –
I have only these hands among your leaves
and a few places of sunlight in the house.
My little friends,
my eyes drop tear-less on your stalks;
I protect you from the cold in this place.
I touch you with these worthless hands
and you flourish.
I wrote “Houseplants” as part of a series of poems that belong to my grandmother, Feodosia. For these poems are the story of her life, told through me over the course of a year or two in the late 1980’s. Surely our connection to the ancestors goes deeper than we know – or than we are taught to cherish, in our culture. The magic my Grandma – a bent-over babushka in a long black coat walking through the slush of Milwaukee’s narrow alleys – must surely have come through me, the magic of our connection told through the words I recorded.