GloPoWriMo: Day 19

letter0106

Shelter

“Your hat!” my friend calls.
“Too windy!” I mime.

Snapped branch of the palo verde tree,
golden in fallen bloom
crashed to the sidewalk.

Chilled in the shade,
roasting in the sun,
the wind and my braid
in front of me.

Down the alley, a crack–
thicker than my thigh–broken in two.
Wind bends branches,
cambium clings.

Cars stop suddenly,
swerve with no warning.
Half the road blocked
by strewn palm fronds.

Halfway home,
I worry over
our worm-eaten fence,
fallen across the Cleveland sage–
snow peas, blown off trellises
–dessicated kale.

Once home,
the fence still stands.
No mesquites lost limbs.
Rudbeckia wilts in one pot
but the other pot herbs
wave leaves at me.

A spot of evening sun,
high up on the acacia,
lights a brighter goldfinch.
He sings.
I’m home.
We survived the gale.

Daily Prompt: “Write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.,” from the Na/GloPoWriMo site.

The Paragraph: (Actually, five, counting dialogue breaks.)

“Where’s your hat?” my friend calls to me.

“Too windy!” I mime the hat flying off and me chasing it.

When I turn towards her, I notice the snapped branch of the palo verde tree, golden in bloom–a third of the tree, actually, crashed to the sidewalk. I take my afternoon walk, anyway, chilled in the shade, roasting in the sun, with the wind blowing my braid in front of me. As I turn down the alley, a crack–the branch of the mesquite above, thicker than my thigh–broken in two. I pause to watch. The wind bends it horizontally, but the thick skin of bark and cambium keeps it clinging to the tree.

The wind continues until evening, and as I drive home from the office, I am on high alert. Cars stop suddenly, swerve with no warning. Half the road is blocked with fallen palm fronds. I think of our worm-eaten fence, imagining it lying across the Cleveland sage. I worry about the dead branches on the acacia out back and the two mesquites out front. I wonder about the snow peas, blown off their trellises, or the kale, desiccated by the gale. And the snapdragons, calendulas, pansies, and petunias, in their clay pots–they must be withered and wilted by now.

But when I arrive home, the fence still stands. No trees have lost limbs. The snow peas and kale, save for the thin border along the west end of the bed, stand strong and succulent. The rudbeckia wilts in one pot, baked in the afternoon sun, but all the other pot herbs greet me with bright faces and waving leaves. In a spot of evening sun, high up on the acacia, perches a male goldfinch, even brighter in the day’s last sunlight, and he sings. He sings, I’m home, we survived the western gale. The jet stream is wavy, and it’s only the first windstorm of the season, but home is a sanctuary, for now.

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