long day

I almost don’t notice the softening sky,
moist gray clouds,
warm enough to melt a little.

A recent, new acquaintance tells me quickly, almost off-hand, that his cancer, which had been at bay for 20 years after taking his spleen and gall bladder, has now found a breach in his defenses – his lungs – and the prognosis is not good.

brotherly love
I call my older brother, M. We have lost the easy familiarity we had growing up. Maybe there wasn’t as much of that as I remember, or maybe it was quickly left behind as he went away to high school, college, work… and a few years later, I did, too.

But still I feel comfort, reassurance, kindness, affection when we talk – and I hope he does, too. The path may be a little overgrown, but it’s still there, and it feels good to walk a little way along it together.

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shift in the wind

A shift in the wind. Up to 30 degrees, but by the time the sun comes, the clouds have come, too,
giving the light a diluted, dishwater cast.

We hear a talk by Tammy Quist of The Wildcat Sanctuary. She has courage to stand up for what is right. In the face of indifference and cruelty (directed at others) and hostility (directed at her), she responds with sadness, perhaps anger, and (most importantly) action, but no hostility. She looks for common ground – and finds it – where others see only differences. She answers questions thoughtfully, passionate for her animals, but never (at least not unproductively) confrontational. She subjugates any ego she has to the mission she has chosen for herself.

I’m a fan.

She’s inspiring in the best way – in a way that makes you think *you* could do it, too. I am still hoping to find courage like hers in myself.

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spring pentimenti

6 below at 7:30 in the morning:
your cold says ‘winter,’ but your sun says ‘spring’.

clouds move in low, smoothly, steadily
white daubs on a light blue canvas
lit from the side by a pink-faced sun
but by 9:30 it’s washed over
with a fine light gray clay
but that first painting still lies underneath.
I see it in my mind.

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squirrel spiral

I know it’s cold again, and getting colder.
The 5 inches of snow we were supposed to get turned out to be only one,
but it’s bright and getting brighter,
and today I’m feeling more hopeful, too.

When a crow comes,
squirrels spiral up the nearest trunk all together
then freeze, their tails giving them away
a suddenly softer, warmer, bulkier tree,
draped in fur.

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warmer, but not warm

warmer, but not warm.
more light, but not light.
gray, a few flakes,
the morning sounds like spring.
birds are hopeful, more hopeful than I feel.
but I offer them seeds to encourage them as they encourage me.

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raisin pie crust

light gray again
and finally some sun

I’m making crusts
for my wife’s pie
for her parents’ anniversary.

She asked what they wanted
for their anniversary,
and they asked for a pie
a raisin pie.

I like to make crusts
fingers in dough
for coarseness for fineness
for dampness for dryness.
press into a ball.

beat, smear and roll
into a thin buttery skin.
drape in a pie tin

forefinger to forefinger
and thumb,
around the edge
I pinch.

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a little relief

a little relief
not as cold, not as windy,
a light gray sky.
a big flock of crows – dozens – flying happily:
not too fast, not too straight.
plenty of looking around,
plenty of conversation,

more than I’ve seen together in a long time,
since West Nile killed so many.
I hope they stay.

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shell-shocked cold

Shell-shocked by cold.
Dazed, stunned by cold in the morning:
13 below zero in the sun.
In the car, strange lights flash on the dashboard in protest
and stay lit until it warms up.
Too early to put on the pride and bluster that gets us through the winter:
“This is nothing! You should have seen what it used to be like – blizzards, snow over your head, pipes frozen, no power, no heat. Now that was winter.”

Today I am fasting from the computer and TV.
Just like fasting from food,
I notice my head seems clearer
and there is a lot more time in the day.

j j j

swift silent still

barred owl
swift, then suddenly still.
an angel of death,
beautiful and terrible,
merciful and cruel

I notice the silence, the stillness fall over me before I see the flash of white wings: a barred owl. She swoops into our locust tree, watches, listens and waits.

Blue jays come looking for food, full of bravado, talking loudly to ward off their fear. But it works, breaking her concentration, and she turns her head quickly to follow their commotion. Distracted, she moves away.

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