Smoldering air presses on my shoulders
Smoke lingers, lungs labor
Eyes water, I stumble among
Charred remains of broadleaf forest
Snap, crack, vibrations radiate up my legs
I lament over fallen trees, injured
Soldiers strewn like pick up
Sticks on a forgotten battlefield
Wounds ooze sap, limbs abscess
Causalities cry out, I cringe
Bone saw grates, chain saw roars
Surgeon removes a limb in hope
Of saving a sentinel,
I pray for nurturing rains,
Reseeding, and regrowth
Months pass before next visit
My eyes and smile widen as
I spot a chartreuse shoot near a
Slippery Elm’s burly scar
Regrowth brings new life
Each season you stand erect and strong.
Squirrels chatter, a bird sings its song.
Your root system, like a house’s foundation,
Anchors your trunk for the storm’s duration.
Through gusts and rain, you twist and bend.
Supple limbs try not to descend.
Branches gleam with fruits, nuts, and berries,
Spices, medicines, bounty varies.
Your food and shelter selected.
Your gifts we have accepted.
Keeper of time by your inner rings,
Historian of what weather brings.
We are more alike than you know.
Rooted in soil, family, we grow.
Give each other a sense of place,
Appreciate our need for space .
Long after we are gone,
You’ll remain to carry on.
I do not live in a perfect world,
so why am I upset
when I am not perfect?
Do I feel I have let
myself or others down?
Change in outward appearance
does not taint one’s beauty within.
Bruised peaches can still be eaten.
Tattered pages can still be read.
Dirty clothes can still be worn.
Tarnished coins can still be spent.
Bumpy roads can still be traveled.
I have learned--
acknowledge my mistakes,
platforms for growth,
be content with
my best effort,
To be alive
Web of Lies
It started with one tiny, white lie,
One sticky thread--
already have plans.
Each lie escalated,
love someone else.
No harm meant,
personal desires preempted
others’ needs and wants.
Received fewer invitations,
Lips trembled, muscles tensed,
beads of sweat streaked down
pallid face, flinched as
web strands vibrated,
yielded struggling prey.
Alarm sounded, voice shrieked.
Time to think beyond oneself.
Cut the sticky fibers
before lies devour you.
Oppressive Night Drive
Driving my 1965 Mustang
down a remote country road
one sweltering August night
with the car windows rolled down,
strands of hair cling to my face
like plastic wrap around a slab of meat,
my temporary escape from life’s obligations
and a smothering blanket of humidity,
drains every ounce of my energy,
sweat trickles down my back,
dark, wet marks on my shirt,
I resemble a bedraggled rag doll.
Invigorated by erratic flashes,
electrical charges zig-zag,
streak across the charcoal sky.
I inhale the sharp smell of oxygenated air,
view the outlines of clouds
illuminated by the radiant lightning.
A storm in the distance,
yet too far off to hear the thunder rumble.
My summer drive cut short.