BRUNT OF THE STORM

Streaks of lightning stabbed the darkness,
fluttered in the sky
to brighten the blue-black
with gray clouds smoothed flat

As the thunder clamored and the knock-
knock lessened, rain teamed and raced
toward the ground,
essentially ready to uphold
a magnificent wellspring of dew

The storm tumbled and heaved,
blasted every oak branch, held the land
by its throat—mischievous to a fault

Mud swam in snake-patterns through
the rivulets, green leaves clogged up
the flow, a sogginess pervading, a deep
impression made on the land.


FOR THE MENDER

The shawl in her lap,
a task to mend,
threading the needle by the glow of
a lamp,
every movement of her hand closed the hole,
newness
to the tired black shawl,
doctoring the wardrobe
of all five brothers,
but the shawl was hers,
passed down from her mama.
Drag the needle up—
secure the lace
along the edge,
such pretty lace;
jeans were next to resurrect, so
with thimble ready,
she steadied
her hand, moved it along the denim,
replenished her resolve with a hymn,
la, la, la
she hummed to herself,
sewing all the while,
occasionally shooting a glance at the basket,
torn-apart shirts with potato-sized
holes, enough work for weeks to
come; always more sewing, always
more cooking and cleaning…
only female among five brothers.


INGRID THE DETERMINED

In admiration of tempus fugit,
Ingrid did everything
in a rush,
thinking it was best to ride
on the wings of time
before it flew away forever.

In her spare moments
she quilted, knitted, loop-stitched,
boxed, yoga-posed and ridge-climbed,
sought out masters in every art,
arranged meetings with people
who could teach her
how to harness time.

Each marathon she ran had
rigorous terrain; the mountains
she climbed poked into the clouds.

Toward the end of a race,
the roadway grew murky; at once
she understood it was futile, out
of reach, never to be impeded….

No, it reeved, hummed, nudged
and pulsed at every turn,
besotted with haste, ultimately antsy;
she’d done all she could do…it was
time to bow out.


VALERIE’S DOORSTEP

He stood on Valerie’s doorstep, roses
in the crook of his arm, large amounts
of his resolve dwindling;
he had half a mind to leave,
drop them and run

But suddenly the door opened
and she beamed at him,
cradling the flowers against her breasts,
which meant no turning back, no escaping

Out of habit, he swiped his hand over his
mouth, doing his best to stare at the doorbell,
the one he’d never pressed; it hovered
just past her elbow

None of that mattered when she invited
him inside for tea, a drink he considered
unmanly, a romance he was currently
rethinking, if only the roses hadn’t
elated her so much

Like a fool, he stood no chance of
turning down the teacup placed in front
of him, intricately-painted daisies along
the lip, yet he had to figure this out—
were they right for each other or not


OAR IN HAND

For adventurous types,
the slap of tough waves, the spit of white water,
a raft coursing through the rapids, ordained
a sisterhood with nature, a euphoria
that felt gritty to the touch,
and how could it not?

No one noticed the sting of overturning,
the soggy mess of getting back in,
the extent of brainpower
it took to push forward, steer
clear of rocks
and boulders around every bend—
but exhilaration taught the choppy
water its ways, how to let the oar sink in,
push out,
dig in, and chatter on…