Published in Western North Carolina Woman, September 2005
Strong as mountains made me,
Carrying bushels of corn
Up the steep path
From the truck garden
Near the river,
Sitting on their front porches
Shucking the ears,
Balanced in the cradle
Of their cotton dresses.
Their voices, like birdsong,
With the autumn breeze.
Sitting beside them,
I touched the corn silk gently,
Wishing my hair
Were that shining golden color
Like a vision of forest faeries
Dancing beneath our chinaberry tree.
Holding the corn in my hands,
Feeling it was still alive
Though common sense told me
It couldn’t be,
Plucked from the stalk that way.
Gently, I peeled the outer skins away
Exposing the naked corn.
At night when the moon was full
I would lie awake
Floating in its light
As if balanced on the water
Of a cool mountain stream.
I had no questions formed to ask
But knew there were mysteries
Pulling at me in that cool light.
I knew my grandmother,
My mother too,
Knew the wisdom of the mountains
And the mysteries of the moon,
Though we never spoke of them.
April 1, 2013
Dinner is at five for the squirrels in my yard.
They’re picky eaters, often ignoring
The piles of acorns covering the upper lawn,
Choosing instead to dig up winter’s buried
And left-over treasures.
Standing upright in their gray and white tuxedos
They seem so proper, neatly nibbling on one acorn
At a time, never arguing about whose it is,
Or if it’s organic or from a red or white oak
Or fallen into this yard from the neighbor’s.
Early in the morning when humans
Are still trying to open their eyes and fix the coffee,
My squirrelly friends are chasing each other
Up and down and around one tree after another
Dare devils, flying through space to the next tree’s branch.
I watch them defying gravity and common sense,
Envying the simplicity of their lives,
The joy of their play, and how they just go on,
Even on the day, the hawk appeared and fled
With one of them hanging from its talons.
“Damn You, Mother Nature”
Sharp wind and icy rain slash across my face,
My umbrella turns upside down,
Almost flying from my hand.
I want to shout “Damn you, Mother Nature,
What did you do with Spring?
Don’t you know we’ve had enough!”
She must be going through menopause,
Restless, quiet, and patient one moment
Raging the next like a warrior defending –
I don’t know what. What it was,
Slips away, and the sun comes up
And the birds sing spring songs
And build nests and mate like they’ve never noticed
Nature was flipping out,
And I just sit here thinking
We women have our challenges, don’t we?