I planted a tree
When it was just a stick,
The label promised a redbud tree
And I anticipated the soft pink buds
Prepared for full wispy wandering leaves of summer
The flashy red of fall.
It barely grew.
A dead stick mostly
Too many years I still hoped for
I almost ripped out the spindly thing by the roots.
But just now
After the longest
Harsh winter of stark truths
And dream deaths and unmet expectations and bitter
Just a little.
I might have seen a shark fin
Disappear beneath the water.
I can’t be certain.
The lunacy of a thousand details washes over you.
The deceptive lure of luxurious productivity
Grasp at the ropes of what you expect might be your net.
Seeking contagious courage
Vacuuming the wreckage
Arranging the furniture to cover hairline cracks
In the foundation.
Pursue the narrative
The roles are predetermined in the regular ordinary
Life-ness of life.
A shark fin disappeared under the water.
We wake to
A cacophony of early morning birds
Darting about to survive the swirling swift winds
of a sudden spring storm.
We propel ourselves forward
Through the rehearsed muscle memory motions of morning
Because there is nowhere else to go
And standing still hurts too much.
Our lives are full of
Words that cannot be unspoken
In a life full of little deaths
As the ones we loved slip off the raft
Often in full view
As we reach back over small cavernous space
To lay a hand on a cheek
A chest, an arm
Or eyes on eyes
In the trees around my house
Now lives a hawk with wide wings.
There were six squirrels I have not seen for days.
I watched them since the little ones leaped out of the nest
To dig up my lilies of the valley and scratch across my roof
Too early in the morning.
I see the hawk every evening. I haven’t seen the squirrels for days.
I know these two things are related.
But this morning
I spotted two squirrels through the veil of leaves
Out of place and welcome
Like a cardinal in winter.
As we all know
The key to happiness
Lies within the truth
Of long ago promises
Kept and broken but
The people who have known you the longest
Do not always know you the best.
But no one else was there
That evening when the world was new
And whoopperwills whispered
In the hot wet twilight of fireflies
Grass on bare feet
Water from the hose
The key to happiness.
Be kind to your sister.