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Nineteen Years

breathing here
for far less than 19 years,
our masked students
return Not yet singing
but nervous, flippant,
sleepy, smiling, tense,
chattering, brittle,
brave but
not yet boisterous
Not yet.

In the newly quiet house
far older than 19 years,
the walls remember

On the table
the Japanese lanterns
glow orange in their vase
even in the dark

First Day

After all the years
of new shoes and lunch boxes
and pictures I took in our front yard
of her smiling and hopeful and ready for school
now it’s me with first day jitters
And she remembers,
and texts me good luck
which all by itself
fills me up with four leaf clovers
green luck and gratefulness
flourish in the first day air

Beneath the Basil

summer is leaving
whether you say goodbye or not

So stop pretending you haven’t noticed.
Remember good manners
Write a thank you note
For all of June, July, August
And whatever marvelous gifts
or gardens or warm nights
you received. Tuck your note
into tall grass, or under the swing,
or beneath the basil in its bright blue pot
Snail trails and mud and crickets
will track and chew and dampen
your words will sink into the ground
carrying memories you want to hold
and all you’d just as soon forget
Summer reads them all,
and writes back promises to return

Look Up

World woke sky changed

while I fretted over it on paper

and missed the showiest part of sunrise

another signal, another sign

from this world that keeps unfurling

exploding and dancing and cooking

breakfast and growing peaches

while I scramble its jigsaw pieces

head down and searching for

the answers. Stop. Just stop.

this world will not be solved

by diligence.
Look up

August 20

She says, Would you like some hydrangeas?
Cuts branch after branch of huge white blossoms
says, I’ve been meaning to prune them back.
A sweet and possibly invented excuse.
But who can tell, busy as you are,
cradling what she hands you?
Armfuls of blossoms
and blossoms and branches of blossoms

Shooting Star

outdoors, early
I watch for signs in the heavens
on what might or might not
be the last night of the Perseids

trying to be noisy enough
to scare off yard-wandering
opossums, skunks, bears, bats, bugs

trying to be quiet enough
to not wake the neighbors

One more in a long string of balancing acts

the sky opaque and speckled
to my kitchen light dazzled eyes

Then
like in all the best stories, where what you seek
arrives just before you give up
One star, bright tail of light shoots overhead

a Sign, I decide, that we’ll all be Okay.
Okay.
a word whose definition is as fuzzy
as the fixed stars fading from this lightening sky

July’s Work

pink clouds, crescent moon
soft gray trees slowly appear
rise through morning fog

night and day, this world
a continuous factory
of beauty, handing it out
everywhere, for free

The world behaves as if
it loves this job–
to keep tapping us on the shoulder.

Impatient, distracted,
we raise our heads up from our worries
and look where the world points–
Sunflower, laughing toddler,
Rain puddle, star
Look, says the world,
There is all this, too.

Heron Morning

All the small birds
dart and swoop full
of being busy become
insubstantial
when heron crosses the sky
Slow calm
a deep breath
after many fast and shallow days

Middle of July

backyard is a wide sweep of greengreengreen
dotted with waves of white clover
dash of dashing rabbits
and one almost red tomato

Working On It

From Day 5 of Every Day Is A Poem class: “It takes work to be in awe,” writes poet and teacher Jacqueline Suskin. This final day’s lesson is all about giving yourself permission to be creative.

Since I live alone
there is no one
I must ask.
But
sometimes
scurry
sometimes long, harsh lists
of Things To Get Done
Or Fix
Or Buy
Or Clean
are the mean and clever
ways I say no.

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

The Sketchbook

MOSTLY MONTREAL, MOST OF THE TIME

Red Wolf Prompts

I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.--John Ashberry, "The New Higher"

typewriter rodeo

custom poems on vintage typewriters

A Poet in Time

One Poet's Writing Practice

Writing the Day

A Ronka Poetry Practice Since 2014

Invisible Horse

Living in the moment

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry