Solar System

I organized my solar system,
Milk on the top shelf,
Little bottles below
Organized by spiciness.
It was a clean solar system.
Then came life.
Someone moved my orange juice. 
Hidden from me lying sideways
on the lowest shelf
Means I lost my moon.
The rotation of the planets
Fruit and Vegetable
became skewed, bizarre.
The old slipped quietly away,
Rotting and needing more 
Than my old heart could give.
Fruit, covered, moonless now
and all alone in the world.
The clean shelves, blocked by 
Drips and drabs of unpleasantness.
I will reorganize my solar system.
I always do. I must live where I am planted.

Thinking Green

The world, a single landmine,
found in a solar system of beauty.
Ordered by nature to change,
the leaves fall, sprout, grow and dream
of what life would be like
if we danced with the rules of nature,
If we protected with our careful steps.
I saw a wave, long and sensual,
White caps spilling into sand
Loading lighthouses, lighting them.
If we tread carefully, perhaps,
just perhaps, someone will defuse our danger
and allow skipping to flourish.

Night Comfort

Tonight is dreamy eyed dogs with heartfelt snores. They burble as they snore and their happy feet thump. Suddenly the sleep bark begins. A squirrels runs before them, rabbit and such joy away they run in their sleep calling to each other, the paws in unison.

Frankie sits on the bed amusedly watching the paws run in tandem. I wiggle my toes near her and she pounces: Once, twice, thrice. Then she sits still and waits for a wiggling toe to twitch again.

I count the hours between now and morning and decided to join the hunt in my sleep. I have no appointments until dawn, when the squirrels will greet my bird feeder with actionable intel and the birds will fly around in circles in protest. I’ve already set the seed by the back door and will wear my rubber boots out into the muddy grass left by warm air today. The dogs will circle and demand breakfast immediately after, Frankie will sit in the window tapping on the sill and we’ll all settle into the day as if our routine was just beginning.

Good morning world.

Ann

Tax Night

I vacuumed through the small dog fronds of fur, compiled it with cat, augmenting it with the dirt of living in a house for 24 years. I moved furniture like the powerful Katrinka from the fjords that I used to be. The room is half together when I call a break for a MacDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. I glance about, furious with the amount of work that needs doing. My eyes fall on the mess in one corner.

The tax forms were escaping from a bundle of useless paper, formal documents of every moment of our spending, and pictures from here and there around the world that I still have to edit or delete into a basket that was wider than long. The laptop lay open waiting to tease me into confronting my fear that we would owe, that the government thought us richer than we are.

I let the TV ramble on its own, deciding not to listen to the story but to use it as white noise. As the last number snaps into place and the tax forms grab my credit card and checking account numbers to abscond with them, I find myself being annoyed at the fluff that is chasing itself across the screens.

Trivial is the first thought and then I hear the shot ring out. No, not from the screen, but from memory, a shocking vision of what life was like for me growing up just this side of 31st Avenue. A pregnancy, a terminal illness, a shotgun wound, an abortion, a loss, a hammer through the skull of a child, a foundling, and old men playing with forms of drink, cards and knives, these things were just on the other side of the neighborhood my parents found for us to live. We were on the good side of the street, hell was on the other side.

This Morning

I’m listening to a recording of Summertime performed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald this morning. The dogs are walked and fed, the house is emptying as my son and daughter-in-law are heading to work. Frankenstein, my little girl cat, is purring with a happy tummy. My husband will be home in an hour. The night and early morning are my quiet times. There is an air of calm while I am alone with a hint of anticipation of a new day. It feels like a warm blanket, vanilla in the air, and a snuggle with life this morning. I haven’t checked the news yet. I know that today someone somewhere will do something that would qualify as hate or anger and will hurt others, but for now, I’m taking a moment of calm.

The snow and frozen rain of the last few days is melting and the birds are tapping on the window asking me to fill the feeders. They rally and flutter at each other, but they take turns. The squirrels try to eat the plastic feeders. Yesterday they finished feeder number four and five. I have three cages for suet left and two feeders for large seed. The gymnastics are amusing. I think they are trying to answer the eternal question of how many squirrels does it take to take down a feeder. The answer is two. They hang on each side, and shake the Dickens out of the feeder. When it falls I can hear their cheers and the birds disgust.

The sun has a few moments before it disappears into the gray. It beams red, orange, and tinges of tangerine. “I got plenty of nothing.” We have lots of locks on doors. We have plenty of stuff. What we need is the time to watch the sun rise and set. We need to take the time to trace the moon across the sky, seeing it eaten like a pie and reborn again. Simplicity, a lack of unneeded drama, a chance to see a great painting, a chance to make an artistic discovery, that’s what we need. That’s what I need anyway. I want to travel more. Patagonia, Africa, Asia, Europe, Canada, and, yes, more of the United States are on my list. I travel through the books. Conrad’s Out of Africa, Weber’s Honor Harrington series take me far away from our house just south of Washington DC.

I am embarked on a new love affair with my husband. Over time everything has changed but we are calmer when we are together, more than anytime in 35  years of marriage. Marriage isn’t easy, but when the world seems to be gaining up on you, you have little time to fight because you stand back to back to protect each other. We have 21 months before he retires. It seems so far away but the weeks pass so quickly. It will be no time and such a long time passing at the same time. Time is an illusion of what you anticipate happening. Money is an illusion of prosperity, but it is not the valuable substance that people will attain. Family, closeness, laughter, tears, and the rising of the sun, those are the things that are of highest value. The love of my two dogs and silly cat are more important that even my laptop.

Have a good morning and a hug from someone you love. If you are alone, here is a hug from me.

The Homeowner’s Management Company

Smashing down a wall of indifference,
I dreamed of shouting,
angry and persistent as I fought
The organization that was to be my family.
My home, my yard, my neighborhood
Finding fault, faulting me
For two hours early on the destination
Of a trash can. I wave my pen,
Streak across the open places fully
In my birthday suit.
What have we done to deserve contempt?
The management company
describing themselves in the shrill icon
of a Cardinal and I take my fancy pen
to a murder of incompetents who
know neither the law or compassion.
I wake knowing that the meeting is
Wallowing in two hours as I grab a pen
And angrily exit the door of my home.