First the Water, then the Light


First the straw, then the seed:
Dark soil hides the seed like buried pirate’s gold.
One day, the seedling stretches its neck to pop
through the tiny seedcoat. First the water,
then the light, draws the seedlings up through soil
like needle piercing canvas.

Among green and yellow stems,
wind and bee disperse the pollen.
Next, sun draws the grasses green
until her heat shades them yellow.
First the scythe, then the straw
to overwinter in the barn.

Above the Storm

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Vast clouds, a study in gray.
As wings gain altitude,
horizon’s halo of red
dwarfs storm clouds.

An hour later, as wings
approach the landing strip,
streets glow red
from reflected street lamps.

Fireworks in the dark
tumble like marbles
into a labyrinth
of tarmac and blacktop.

With nightfall, wings tip,
scooping air like sandhill cranes’
outstretched wings:
touchdown on the Chicago tarmac.

If Lost at Sea

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Let the pen
be a compass.

Strap the pen
to the moveable arm
that sweeps the page.

One arm of the compass
takes wing.
The other arm,
like a branch,
remains fixed.

Enclose eternity
in a circle.

Economy

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Though fingers fly,
economy of movement
is prized by musicians,
whose daily practice and rehearsal
carve the shortest path
from one note to the next,
rushing water rounding
chimes as it wears
down rock.

Air blowing through
the instrument’s bore
cues the fingers to lift
as breath is released
and replenished.

Do runner’s feet remember
the rhythm of the race,
soles lifting off as rehearsed?

The palm of the drummer’s hand
beats the stretched hide
but it’s absence of contact
that allows the drumhead to resonate.

Even planets and stars in orbit
practice an economy of motion,
each sphere contoured
to receive and reflect light.

Yet love proves the exception.
Love, extravagant as the stars
of the Milky Way, knows no economy.
Like snowmelt rushing over rocks,
love’s ceaseless energy
sustains all, carves rock,
fills the deep ocean bed,
crowns mountaintops with clouds.
Without it, life would cease.

Even so, I’ve seen the oxbow curves,
and know that love rebuffed
charts a new course.