The Significance of Grass
Most winters, the yard
keeps its blueprint throughout the season,
the skeleton of the patio bricks buried and resurrected,
the splayed bones of sleeping azaleas balloon to giant cones and back.
Snow, too heavy for the wind, drifts in piles
behind the fence, where miniature glaciers recede and expand daily.
But last year was different. Snow fell in December
and stayed through February.
Winter didn’t notice my mother
or maybe it did, since the only
break I recall was the day of her service
and the black hole dug in the white snow,
the mats of artificial grass rolled out
in walkways from the road
to the canopy. A spray of roses,
foreign to the melting winterscape,
faded into the black and white and grey of the day.
By nightfall, snow took over again,
smothering archipelagos of dead grass,
we knew it was there,
waiting to be reborn.
We swear we saw it
on that one warm burial day
between the frosts and freezes
that no one else can remember.
Steve captured audio from the open mic. It can be found here
This poem was published in the Winter/Spring 2013 issue of Pegasus, the poetry journal of the Kentucky State Poetry Society
The squirrels had a nest up in the big maple
in his neighbor’s back yard.
Since he was retired now,
he had plenty of time to watch them.
Climbing down the trunk,
defying gravity with their claws firmly
planted in the bark, tails twitching,
they danced along the power line.
His neighbor’s wife would leave peanuts on the deck,
the shells of which would inevitably be found
on his side of the fence.
Nothing but bushy-tailed rodents,
he complained to his daughter when
she stopped by one Sunday for coffee.
Oh, Dad, she said, but they are so cute.
So he kept to himself the rush of joy
he had felt the day before
when a red-tailed hawk,
desperate after another fruitless flight over
fields still full of corn and soybeans,
swept in and picked the fattest squirrel
right off the porch.
A muted squeal, then silence,
broken only by the sound
of the dropped nut bouncing off the deck.
This poem was published in an anthology titled On Our Own, Widowhood for Smarties from Silver Boomer Books in 2012.
The Year of Firsts
Shirley endured her year of firsts without him.
First Thanksgiving, first Christmas,
first New Year’s (his favorite
with cabbage for luck and all that).
First Valentine’s was sad; he was such
a romantic. And just when she thought
she’d given up on happiness, the first spring came
with first robins, then first summer
followed. Wasn’t that a hummingbird?
First grandbaby is due in December.
And tonight, her first date, well, just dinner really
but she’s as nervous as she was for her first prom.