Habits, Hobbies, and Heirlooms

Spring is here.

We all start thinking about getting back to our pastimes.

Some think about turning over their gardens,

putting in plants, and watching them grow.

Others get out the tent and gear.

They check maps for new places to explore.

Some make sure the power is turned on at the cabin or cottage,

so as soon as it warms enough the family can get away.

Still, others make the call to schedule the water for the pool

and to make sure the swimsuits still fit.

While I check the list of photo requests

and make sure I have directions to each cemetery on my list.

Check to make sure I have as much information on dates of death

and other family members noted on my list.

Spring is here.

And you’ll find me lurking around the oldest sections

of the local graveyards with my camera.

Taking pictures of crumbling stones and searching out family plots

so someone far away can add to their family story.

To search out the next branch on the family tree

or just to add to the pictures of heirlooms in the old album.

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Cat’s Eyes

Early this morning they were just open a little bit

and looked quite orange to me.

When breakfast was being discussed,

they were wide open and bright copper.

Just now, she jumped at me from behind the couch

and they were very yellow with black slits.

And as she settles down in the sun for a nap,

one blink shows very green eyes.

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counting

63 minutes and counting.

I try not to look again.

I try not to think about the time.

I try to make my body relax,

Instead, it tenses from head to toe.

 

I feel the cat uncurl and stretch,

The unique stretch that all cats do,

One Halloween stretch, then around in a circle

And back down in the same place.

How is it that she can sleep again

While I lay here counting the minutes?

 

How many more minutes have passed since last I looked?

Do I dare look? 10, 20, 30?

I need to relax and shut off my mind

Instead,. my head keeps working

I’m writing poetry without paper

Instead of writing dreams in my sleep.

 

I have to shut it off, but it doesn’t work that way

When it needs to shut down,

It goes into overdrive.

I’m too tired to stay awake,

But can’t seem to slumber.

Another 15 minutes pass?

 

I know I can’t stay awake all night reading

Or writing

So why can’t I slip into somnambulance?

That’s just a fancy word for sleep

Just a way to distract me from still being awake,

To keep me from screaming

Into my shrinking skull-

The one with the burning eyes-

Yeah, the one that’s too tired to still be sitting here awake-

The one that wants sleep more than anything.

 

The cat slumbers

The husband slumbers

The neighborhood slumbers

So why am I still looking at the minutes ticking over?

How do I take out the batteries and shut it down?

Where is the off button?

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Root and Branch

cropped birth certificate

My eyes burn and the clock ticks,

and still, I cannot find the right little baby named, Harriet.

I don’t even know if I have the right mother,

and still, I search for this elusive little girl with one or two “t”s.

And I already have five James,

who could be her father, her brother, or her son.

And when once I have narrowed it down

to the proper Harriet,

the one with the proper number of children,

with just the proper names,

I will work on another branch.

Or is it a root? Heavens, I sound like a gardener!

Next, I’ll be pruning, watering, and fertilizing things.

Watching to see things grow.

Digging up things that have died.

No, no time for that.

I’m off to rescue fair Joanna,

a Coffin born, yet buried a Knight.

Not for lack of trying mind, I was bound and determined

she would be a Lunt,

but no, not our fair Joanna.

And did it in style with eleven children,

almost all of them boys to go into the Navy.

So, what next? Walk through another cemetery?

Check on that date of death?

Or should I switch to something really challenging,

and go looking for lost Uncle Harry

in Florida? Texas? ??

no pain..

I woke and paused to send a thread of thought out.

No pressure.  No squeezing.  No stabbing or throbbing.

No pain..   I hesitated to move for fear it would sneak up on me

as it had been doing for the past eight days.

Finding me in my weakest moments.

Just when I thought I might be free.

This time it seemed to be gone,

really gone.

Not just waiting for me to make the wrong move and set off

more pain..

that would send me back under the covers,

into the dark and quiet womb of my bedcovers.

Back to search for numbing blackness

with just the top of my head sticking out of the pile

to keep my head cool

to keep my head from overheating and exploding again.

Perhaps I could attempt to sit up – to see

if today I might be free from its grip.

I gently pushed back the covers and pushed myself up.

Tentatively taking in a breath of air, testing my limits.

A small stretch.

And then a bigger one to get out the kinks in my shoulders

from hunching under covers for so long.

Just to sit and blink at the morning light,

and listen to the morning birdsong

with no flinching or cringing. No pain..

jee3.2018

Cultivated Carefully by Hand

What does it look like?

I don’t know what to look for!

They say I need it. To find it.

They had all kinds of suggestions

about where and how to find one.

But none of them said a word

about what it looked like.

It’s a seed, so I’m assuming

it’s quite small, tiny even.

Maybe curled inside a shell

of curved black parentheses?

Will I find a packet of them at the garden store?

All neatly labeled with planting instructions?

Or do they have to be collected in the wild,

cultivated carefully by hand?

I’ve been looking ever so long

for my seed of a poem.

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Prompt: Wink

On doesn’t disturb a birdwatcher.

And from the corner of my desk, I hear

The particular sounds of a dedicated birdwatcher,

The chattering chirps come quietly, the body tucked and alert.

 

And you wouldn’t distract a starving child

From the only meal it’s had in awhile.

So intent on getting to the dish and eating it all

Before someone else could possibly take its food away.

 

You couldn’t think to wake a sleeping person

Whose been working hard all day

Keeping intruders at bay and keeping track

Of all that goes on in its own immense domain and estate.

 

I’m beginning to think perhaps

I should possibly dip in reverence

Next time I serve her majesty’s meal or snack

And, WINK, she sends me her love across the room

And I’m content at last.

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