Never Return – Remain Here Now
“The doves are in the nest,” he says.
It’s so late. It’s hot already,
it’s so early.
“They’ve been acting weird.”
They dance in the garden, in family flocks, not pairs.
By now, usually, they would be
on their fourth brood.
“Why didn’t they nest earlier?”
The Cooper’s hawk predators the garden.
I love this hawk–his eyes.
His sharp call. The way he
stares at me, and cocks his
head when I chat with him.
Is this the last week for pansies?
I will miss their blue.
I imagine the garden without them.
Pink of gerbera, orange of calendula,
yellow of rose.
I want flowers always.
Lately I have been feeling my toes.
A tiny pebble pushes into that tender spot
between two toes. I press harder.
I press the keys in my pocket until
they jab my thighs–this is at the office
before the pandemic when I am
always surrounded by people
who ask or don’t ask.
who stare or don’t look.
and I am always alone
and scared and trying
to fit in. Now I press my toe
on the pebble and the tiny pain
with doves and hawks and
hummingbirds and sparrows.
A lizard eyes me–I storm back
My flow of weather. We smile
to each other. The company
I would rather stand here
I feel I will never return.
Why? When bother waits. What purpose?
My purpose prowls here: with this
dirt path that wanders between stone
and under tree.
On my back, I see traces, green over
blue. And this is life. This is the
constant I seek. The sky. Trees. New leaves.
“I love you,” he didn’t say with words,
but with a cup of tea, Darjeeling, in
my favorite cup.
And I reply in cookies.
This life could go on, if we
have food. Money. A home. A planet
I stop thinking to stay here.
feet on ground. Pebble in toes.
And when I am 10, it is much
the same. Life is barefooting through the park
with lizards and frogs. Saturday morning.
My friends all gone, but the sun shines.
I shine. And the shadow is blue as
all shadows combine. Dancing over
them, I feel substance. To be three-
dimensional over the two-dimensional
ground. That is life.
The other three-dimensionals recede
except for the willow, the oak, and me.
Within is much like it is without
except that terror shifts–with joy.
They say Thoreau was a loner.
What do they know?
One is never alone beneath the sky.
Blue and green is all you need
Hope and keen, strong and lean.
My circle and yours don’t touch.
And there is the secret of our
In the not-touching, we connect, surrounded
by all this.
This world. This sky. Like two
cells that never touch.
Daily Prompt: “an (optional) prompt for you that takes a little time to work through — although you can certainly take short-cuts through it, if you like! The prompt, which you can find in its entirety here, was developed by the poet and teacher Hoa Nguyen…” from Na/GloPoWriMo.
Author’s note: The prompt asks the poet to write without stopping for twenty minutes, aiming at incorporating elements from a list. I found this prompt deeply satisfying. I love non-stop writing, but haven’t done much of it since grad school, when it was a daily practice for a year or so. Originally, I’d intended to use my non-stop as the prewriting, editing it heavily while still maintaining that raw, loose form and feel that comes from writing in flow. But when I transcribed this, I changed very little.
My current favorite poem is by another GloPoWriMo participant in response to this poem: “Hymn to Life in Lockdown,” by Bee Smith.
On a personal note: I am seriously considering retiring when all this lifts–I simply don’t want to return to the office, and my focus in life is shifting even more strongly towards home, garden, and my own creative projects.