I Want

You’re old enough for your wants not to hurt you,
my mother would say, and I was sure
she was wrong, because
I felt real pain when I could not have
the thing I longed for: a blue dress
with ribbons and rhinestone buttons.
red patent leather shoes with 4″ heels,
a second piece of chocolate cake.
Those wants were real,
the agony of not getting them
like a knife in my young, yearning heart.

60 years later I understand her wisdom.
I want for simpler things these days,
things as unattainable as that blue dress:
the end of hate, the coming of peace,
safety for everyone I love,
immortality so I might see
all these things come to pass.

from a prompt at first50.wordpress.com

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winter sun spills gold

glitters on ice-sheathed grasses

Iowa morning

inspired by a photo posted by an Iowa friend

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Come Here

Come here, he said.
All sex and liqud eyes, muscles
because bricklaying does that to a man.
Come here, he said, and I did,
came into those strong arms,
those blue eyes, never thinking
what the future held.
Come here, I said,
see your son, see our lives,
twisted together
like morning glories, blooming
in the brightness of day,
Come here, I said, and he did,
never looking back.

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Let Us Dance

The old year is leaving, the new coming in,
so let’s dance. Let us dance, dance til the end
of this year of illness and anger and fear,
and drink to the future and those we hold dear.

Let us dance, let us dance, let us dance,
Spin with the earth and weave a new trance
of joy, peace, and love, of strength and compassion,
the end of division, of hate and derision.

Let us dance, dance, dance, this night til the morning,
to the coming of light, and a new year a-borning.

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Christmas Candy

In my stocking, wrapped

in plastic, a stuck-together rainbow

of colors and shapes:

red raspberry with rich chewy middles,

flower-centered cut rock, delicate ribbons,

striped chocolate-filled straws, root beer barrels,

peppermint canes, cinnamon discs, bright golden butterscotch.

For one magical moment, anticipation

A child’s cornucopia of glorious tooth decay,

but who knew, and if we knew, who cared?

tasted sweet, heavenly on my tongue.

Christmas morning, Christmas stocking,

Christmas candy: the holy trinity of childhood.

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Moving Argument

I’ve thought about moving,
to a place more convenient,
with neighbors, a flat lawn,
and a little house that’s easy to clean.
Yet here I still am,
in this isolated place,
with a large sloping lawn
and a house that’s anything
if not inconvenient.

But here I can listen to leaves rustle
in soft fall breezes,
watch the Milky Way wheel overhead,
unobstructed by buildings,
unfettered by lights and wires.
Here I watch deer graze, squirrels hid nuts,
woodpeckers busy with their work;
a wren wakes me with her song at dawn,
the only other sound my husband’s breathing,
no automobiles, no planes, no voices.
Here I have space for all the gardens
any woman could want, contented hens
to fill my breakfast plate with eggs,
and neighbors far enough away
that I cannot see or ever hear them.

When I am too old to garden,
too old to hear the wren
or see the deer,
too old to enjoy being alone,
then, perhaps, I’ll move.

from a prompt at First 5 blog.

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Rural Riot in August

Insects take over August nights

like rioters on city streets, bugs

rule by force and sheer number,

driving me indoors lest I become

their victim, scarred with attacks

of bites and stings. Call me soft.

I am that, and a coward as well,

cowering inside my screened doors,

longing to be out but knowing

the enemies of my kind lurk,

waiting to feast on my blood.

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The rain came at last
after days, weeks of drought,
steady, cool bursts that soaked
stressed trees and gardens to new green.
We, the gardeners, know
that we did what needed to be done,
fed our gardens so that they will feed us.
Now we clink our glasses, celebrate
survival. It is enough for this day.

Tomorrow we begin anew,
pull weeds, check for damage.
Tonight, we light our fire,
watch the embers
glow in each other’s eyes,
feel worry slide away,
claim the rest we earned.

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June 30th

Daddy longlegs sunbathes

on pink chenille hung on a clothesline

on a hot June afternoon; breezes stir

but do not cool; the bedspread flutters,

daddy longlegs drops into white clover

where a bumblebee hums summer.

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Dancing with the Devil

They gathered under a white tent,
a large family, hugging and happy
to be together, enjoying a June evening.
No one wore masks; they didn’t need them,
did they? “We’re all healthy,” they said.
And they ate and sang, danced and laughed,
talked into the wee hours of morning. “Creating
memories,” they said. “It’s fine, we’re in the country,
fresh air and good home cooking.” And they danced
and danced and danced, not knowing
they were dancing with the devil.

written in response to a prompt on First50.wordpress.com

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