River has learned
a new song during
our time apart.
I sit close to her,
listening with more
than my ears
to everything else
I have missed.
as he drives across Wyoming
and I drive home from work,
he tells me about being able to see
storm clouds fifty miles away.
His voice crescendos as he describes
rain sheeting down, sky turning
grey then white then purple.
Yes, I say, yes, and I wish
we could have this
conversation for hours
because he sounds more alive
than he has
in a very long time.
Monday morning shower
to wash away the weekend,
prepare for return to civilization.
Water rushes over dirt-stained knees,
coloring white bathtub brown,
muddy memory of crawling through jungles.
Shampoo scrubs out twigs, leaves,
sticky remnants of swinging through trees.
Facial cleanser exfoliates away two oily days,
slippery shadow of leaping through forests.
Fingernails rid each other of grimy substance,
one by one, deleting evidence,
gritty proof of hanging from cliffs.
Razor trims stubbly growth,
prickly artifact of primitive communion.
Steam clears filthy pores,
stubborn memorabilia from earth’s damp bed.
Soap foams across glowing limbs,
fading sun’s colorful embrace,
a hangover from drinking too much sky.
Towel wipes away wet drops,
leaving me dry, squeaky clean,
a restless, reluctant participant
in this long, tame week.
Winter keeps glancing at the door
then looking back
at lovely spring,
finding excuses to stay
just a little longer.
Easy to loathe the wind
until you notice
grass dancing, seeds soaring
Underneath a cloudless, windless sky
afternoon sun cloaks me in heat,
birds chatter, insects hum,
seedlings emerge, flowers explode into color.
Seems silly to contemplate
the last frost still to come.
Surely the earth feels this too,
cherishes the warming and swelling of her skin,
the life beginning to venture forth,
emboldened by the seduction of a sunlit, blue suitor,
but cautious that winter may not have left the premises.
Nature possesses the wisdom, the patience I may never achieve
as she acknowledges the gentle memory of so many seasons past,
enjoying this day for what it is, but not leaping to conclusions,
knowing the greater order of this world in a way I never will.
I try to be the pupil who will make her proud,
not taking any part of today for granted.
Nine women displaying
with each pose.
Nine women exchanging
with each breath.
Nine women releasing
with each drop of sweat.
Nine women embracing
with each moment.
After sitting inside
me all weekend,
watching me whack
branches, my words
then duck back in
before they too
in this frenzy.