New poems inspired by the "city of trees":
command, O Mistress
Swift her strokes in dizzy
rumble ramble burning
scarlet gulps she glides
no net has gained a purchase
no wall could bar her from her
no words have ever marred
her murmurs to the moon
like red hair that skips a generation
like a royal-blue poppy sprouting along the highway
like long-lost notes to a Requiem
flip-flopping alone in a shallow canal,
she's spent her seed
till nothing's left
but a throbbing center
those lazy breadcrumb-munching mallards don't care,
they're watching a grey gull preen himself
perched on a rusting shopping cart,
Salmon Woman nods
and the spindle-legged white crane turns
step-dancing, bends and tears out her heart
together they ascend
a single silhouette
Written after feeding ducks near my son's school, when I saw a movement that seemed familiar--a salmon, barely able to swim in the shallow water, and a crane perched nearby. It's been a bad year for salmon in California. Here's an article about the almost total disappearance of the Chinook here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/17/science/earth/17salmon.html This is the only one I've seen.
A new hat
The first time we threw them into the water,
they splashed and returned to shore.
There, rippled sand marked the passage
of waves, and delicate petal-prints
announced a feline presence.
The little 'un fetched them for me,
and we threw them out again.
A motor boat buzzed by,
prompting the yellow daisies to sashay,
and the baby's breath to bounce--
the roses, past their prime, sagged while bobbing
back towards our bare toes.
We tossed them further out the next time,
watching them linger in the lazy current.
I helped to brush off her muddy knees,
so she could don her little britches.
I put on my new hat,
which cost me 50 cents at the goodwill outlet,
the one where you pay by the pound.
It's a pure wool fedora with a jaunty ribbon,
dyed a deep rusty shade,
the color of contentment,
my birthday present to myself.
When I turned to walk away,
I saw that she was holding three of the flowers.
"These are mine," she said.
"Okay," I calmly replied.
The thing was, I had already let them go.
she ate the world
she asked me to tie a day-lily leaf
onto a scrub oak twig
then she thrust it into dimpled water
"I'm fishing," she announced
with the confidence of a Four
the sun changed its tune
from salsa to a slow dance
while evening snuck up the river
"Hey!" she yelped,
"Look, mom, the world!"
--she waved her twig
above the fractured mirror--
"I catched da world,
now I'm gonna eat it!"
and with a swoop
© Jillian Parker aka "Flame in the snow." Momster of five, autism activist, myspace addict. Recently relocated from chilly Alaska to balmy Northern California, a barefoot warrior stumbling towards the light in life's bellicose circus. Shazam!