Four Poems

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First Day School

We gather the children,
the tender and shy, the mischievous,
lead them to a jagged beach to find
their treasures of stillness
while their own parents settle into
the meetinghouse to gather
Light. We let the children wander
between piers, time dissolving
into moistness. One boy with purple
hair releases reticence to be mesmerized
by washed up logs, crabs squirting
at low tide, a turquoise glass float
with Japanese script. A girl in her brilliance
gathers fistfuls of pebbles and hesitance,
flings them skyward. The rocks pause
mid-air, then plunk to the sea
like notes on a xylophone.
She leans toward the water,
ears cocked, eyes gleaming.

 

Matins

Blossoms open this first Sunday
after the full moon and vernal equinox.
These periwinkle foot soldiers
of spring fill our garden, a blessing
of color after long-barren soil,
a harbinger of more bounty
to come. This year as always,
they surprise, like each holy day.
Renewal doesn’t happen just anytime,
but when tender shoots uproot
flower beds of despair and failure,
cover undergrowth of plans
that no longer fit, replace withered
brown stalks with spaciousness
and grace audible in the soil
we patiently till.

 

Eclipse of a Supermoon

We’ve seen pictures of the moon turning
the color of a martian desert.

We know it will be as full as a mother
about to give birth, and exactly what time

the faintest sliver will levitate
just above the horizon.

We don’t know we will forget
that which is not quite surprise

or mystery, but like nothing
we’ve ever seen. That on this dark night

we’ll heat leftover meatloaf, pour wine
from a box, settle in with reruns

of China Beach. Until we hear neighbors
murmur, gather on street corners

pointing their children east. We are meant
to be fulfilled on this earth, marvel

at our luminosity. On this good night,
moondrops stir thistles, replace our own umbra.

 

Homeland Security Wears a Hijab

checks boarding passes, matches stoic photos
          with faces, gives the IDs back.

Her soft, manicured hand lightly brushes
          our roughness, waves us on. Here we are america,

a gliding current wending around velvet
          ropes toward the far shore of the next checkpoint.

We are fluid, move as one organism. Two retired
          women in dashikis say the line moves 

more quickly this bright October day than in the slant light
          of winter. A young woman with rice paper skin

pushes twins in a stroller, propels a diaper bag
          with sandled foot. Spanish flutters rhythmic wings,

lands on shoulders of men with cowboy boots
          and women with gold hoop earrings. I stare,

because we are exquisite. A party erupts,
          right here on the concourse. We shake and shimmy

to “I Feel Good” and “Oye Como Va,” fill our bellies
          with doro wat, tabouleh, my mother-in-law’s sticky

rice, a splash of sake´. We go all night,
          miss our flights and don’t care, sweat and song

our destination as we rise
          from rusting factories, stifling suburbs, crumbling

projects, crumpled cornfields, dense barrios.
          Suddenly, the music and our security end.

We take off our shoes, put belts, laptops in gray
          plastic tubs, pass through the body scan,

                    re-claim our personals.