River dream

I cannot say, Child, what you might be experiencing within, but I can tell you I dreamed
that we were sailing along a river with green overhanging boughs
and that the waters before us were only troubled by a succession
of indentations made by tiny feet running rapidly across
—a little Jesus lizard, there in the recesses, trying to catch
or, on second thought, cavorting with, a dragonfly which shimmered and skimmered
away just as the swan drifted into view, its white feathers transforming as it neared,
changing from white to gold flushed with crimson
and then the eagle, gliding low over the glimmering water, huge, like life itself,
its curved yellow beak closed, its sharp eye affixed on us, not on the hunt,
merely acknowledging our presence
and so we drifted on and I didn’t even realize until the shore loomed
before us, rocky and steep, that we’d been riding in a little wooden boat
that navigated the river by its own power, not ours, to land us
right where we needed to be, and that we’d be able to navigate
this embankment, too, for there amid the stones and earth were steps
perfectly placed for our climb.

Cincinnati – Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum ‘An Unreal Moment, and a Gift.’David Paul Ohmer CC BY 2.0.

with thanks to the Two Writing Teachers community
for the place to share Slices of Life
even when they are but dreams

The offering

July morning
before the dawn
I step outside
with the dog

night clings
like a heavy curtain
silhouetting trees
against indigo sky

waning gibbous moon
gleaming bright
bathing the earth
in silversoft light

that’s what draws me
the ethereal glow
and a strange star
above the moon

the dog is here
on practical business
trotting out in the yard
—he is not mine
but he loves me so
he lived here
not so long ago;
he belongs to my son
away on vacation—

the dog
is like the morning
velvet charcoal
I can barely glimpse
the glow of his white breast
out in the darkness

a whippoorwhill calls
from the pines
while I try to discern
what star that is
so bright above the moon

king of the planets
and there in the east
Mars, glittering red

the ancients could read
their preordained ritual
but I, in the silverdark Now,

—a loud animal cry
shatters the stillness

I know without knowing

—here comes the dog
shy and humble creature
who’s not really supposed to run
on his congenitally malformed
frail back legs

here he comes, running
as hard as he can
through the shadows
charcoal in charcoal
soft shape in his mouth

No! No!

how is it that
this most benevolent creature
who’s never done another harm, never
should be ceremoniously dropping
a rabbit at my feet

no, no, I cry
horror and awe intermingled
at the unnecessary death
that he can even catch a rabbit

how Elvis starts singing in my brain
as if this act
is the sole measure
of a dog’s worth

for here stands The Dog
magically transformed
from meek pet
to mighty hunter
bringing the solitary catch
of his life
to me

a blood offering
under the waning gibbous moon
beneath the winking planet-king

oh beautiful dog
oh beautiful rabbit

I am sorry.

I could never be
a god.

July morning. Jupiter above the waning gibbous moon.

Quirky poem

For Day 11 of National Poetry Month, my friend Kim Johnson invites teacher-poets to compose quirky poems for VerseLove at Ethical ELA: “We all do quirky, bold things that break the ice and bring us closer together. Think of a time that you’ve done something quirky – with friends, with family, with students or even complete strangers. Let’s share our quirky exchanges today and whatever emotions they bring – in whatever form of poetry we choose.”

I hardly have to think about this one…

Quirky Legacy

What goes around
comes around
particularly in 
prankster families
like mine

Once upon a time
my husband hid 
our oldest’s shoe

The boy (in his teens)
hunted high and low
demanding to know
where his dad hid it
because he knew 
exactly who
had done this 

Funny thing is,
my husband forgot
where he stashed
the shoe

Years later,
in the midst
of redecorating,
I moved
an antique pitcher
and discovered
the shoe inside

By that time,
the boy had achieved
many times over,
the most legendary
of his pranks
his dad’s cell phone
suspended in jello
(a Ziploc bag
didn’t help at all;
my husband hauled
the boy and
the ruined phone
to Verizon
for a replacement
while the clerks
tried but couldn’t keep
straight faces)

Years later
the boy 
(now a dad)
texts me
while I’m out shopping:
Mom, can you pick up
a copy of Prince Caspian?
He was reading 
the Narnia series
for the first time
and his daughter,
age six,
had hidden the book
from him
and couldn’t
remember where

What goes around
comes around
particularly in
prankster families
like mine