NaPoWriMo Day Six


Plant Catalogs are Crack

When the groundhog’s been sadistic

when a “high of 50 degrees” yanks my chain

that colorful pile of cheap shiny paper

croons my name.

If I buy enough plants, spring will come.

If I send enough dough off to Bloomington, Indiana

(have you noticed how all these “different” nursuries

are in Bloomington, Indiana?)

tropical warmth will touch down with a riot of fragrance

in every kicky, candy-sweet hue on the wheel

and I will samba on the patio and drink lemonade

in a splashy sundress and paint my toenails

mandarin. Plant catalogs are crack.

In my email box appear letters from Bloomington,

“thank you for your order”–orders I’ve forgotten

but must have placed at 3 a.m., my nightly bout

of winter insomnia best soothed by shopping.

They’re crack. Full of plants that “thrive in difficult soil”,

that “love gravel and salt”, are “drought tolerant”, “pest resistant”,

and will make me “the envy of my neighbors”.

Oh, to be the envy of my neighbors, my double-blue clematis

vining up my mailbox post, the Empress Wu hosta attaining

six-foot splendor creating privacy for me, sipping pinot grigio

amidst the breathtaking majesty of trumpet lilies

guaranteed to rapidly attain the stature of small trees

and all I have to do is hit “submit”.

Oh, and pay for them later. And plant them, later.

Crack, I tell you. 25 strawberry plants come today.

It’s much too cold to plant them.

I’m going to buy some more. Spring will come.


NaPoWriMo Day Five



Fred, newly indoor-outdoor cat,

likes to bring in his finds

for us to exclaim at. Magpie-cat,

peddler-cat, hobo-cat, treasure-cat.

That section of vine he trotted in with yesterday

had eyes. Wary-eyes, scary-eyes, little brown

gem berry-eyes. Still as a vine but velvety, segmented.

Still life. Still alive. Now, I’m not one to touch a snake,

but could not stop to think; popped him in the teapot,

leaving Fred bereft. The opulent ribbon poured

from the pot onto the glass topped table; exotic jungle tea.

Unmarred, thank God. Satin smooth. We took a little walk,

friend snake and I. Found the perfect rock, and he turned

liquid bronze and flowed beneath, a shape-shifter.

A little garden god. Granting my wish; wonder.

NaPoWriMo Day Four




Butterfly Bush

Finding it was such a roadside coup;

“have spade will travel” being my summer motto.

There on the packed, nearly barren earth

of the soon-to-be parking lot, fragile tendrils of rich purple.

How I blessed the bird that dropped that seed!

Now I walk the yard checking on the over-wintered;

an anxious time, before the new green shoots flag

my gloomy worries to a halt.

It seems a blighted stick, festoons of fossil flowers

droop to find their colors in the soil.

Too early to declare a loss, and uproot;

not to early for the shadow of grief to creep

across my hope.

All the winter long

my heart has seemed all scar.

Maybe it’s died back only to the ground,

leaving some bright life poised

to surge up from the root.



NaPoWriMo Day Three

Buried Treasure

   “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”  Margaret Atwood

I’m not surprised by the “recent scientific news”          NAH at lake improved

that dirt makes you

happier and smarter; now we know this,

via mazing mice:

inhaling or ingesting Mycobacterium vaccae

stimulates neuron growth and boosts serotonin levels.

Old hippies everywhere, rejoice!

Grandmothers, our memories of you are vindicated;

you really were warmer and wiser.

The sun is out; gotta keep this short.

I’m off to find happiness in my own backyard.

NaPoWriMo Day Two




Gardening in a New Home


The good dead leave their gifts

for nothing can they take;

a bed of crocus unearthed from their leafy shroud

by this new owner’s rake;

four  lilacs forgotten twenty years

demurely veiled in shadows of

pine and beech, brushy workaday;

what light my saw and I create

will draw them forth to re-debut

in fragrant petal gowns

as fine as new. A mountain laurel

bound by thorny scraggle,

spidered by blackish ivy run amok

has kept her sleeping beauty

waiting for the kiss of knowing snips.

Every aging gardener knows

the good dead left these gifts

adorned with living ribbons

waiting for a lover

to unwind the shrouds,

untie the bows.

NaNoPoMo Day 1


         Prompt: write a poem that has the same first line as another poem. *








Bonfire with Wild Geese


You do not have to be good

you do not have to be strong, or brave

you only have to drag the winter’s fallen wood

all day long to the hungry fire

let the smoke paint you with the smells of childhood campfires

let the exploding beer bottles rocket like gunfire

See the faces in the flames,

forgive yourself

See the hungry orange element devour the dead,

the wasted things

forgive yourself

See the wild geese floating tranquil beyond the fire,

unafraid, disinterested

bowing down for waterweed

rising up to be

just what they are.


*This first line and title are from Mary Oliver‘s poem “Wild Geese”