show me

while chopping onions and
gutting delicata squash
amanda palmer says many things
in a thirteen minute ted talk
including this:
i trust you this much (in this context, “this much” means “tons”)
should i?
show me
_______
i have never experienced
an axe to the skull and hope
to never ahve to
but this ache
might be slightly
comparable
_______

this darkenss i say
about the severe internal weather
passing through
_______
i’m not fililpin@, but you are
i say
so – see you later
maybe there is a name
for those who don’t know how to say goodbye
at the end of a phone conversation

the night on me

how one of the things i like about this time of year
is rachel’s yom kippur text that reads
in honor of yom kippur –
will you forgive me for anything i might have said or done this year
that has hurt you?
_______
the saxaphone sounds
drifting across a day
perfectly sun-warmed
while i tiptoe through forest
plucking fallen persimmons
soft and impossibly cute in their smooshy roundness
and placing them
in a small basket
_______

the contra caller
and her impressive patience
for a mic that keeps shorting out
and a room that never falls silent and the kids, goddess bless ’em, who want to dance but aren’t really listening and must be steered by their shoulders
through the doe-see-does
swings and
sashays
_______
sometimes after nine but before 10
the half moon sending light across sky
and down as well
how it hits the high parts of the land
while the low parts stay in shadow
as i pedal through

_______
i want to bring you the night on me i say about
climbing in with night-bikeride-cooled skin and 
the cycling-sttoked inner fire
burning
_______

Nepali Hindu devotees splash water on a buffalo set to be sacrificed during the Hindu Dashain Festival in Bhaktapur, on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

the day in pieces

the classic redness
of the apples we pluck
from heavy branches
trying to call out
when the fruit is falling near another’s head/body
filling crate after crate
with the best baking apples
(oh! the sweetness!)
i’ve ever tasted
_______

the almost unbearable buzzing and 
diving of bees
hovering around the windfall fruit
and zipping past
our ears
cheeks
noses
_______
the multi-colored zig zgs printed 
on the fabric i guide through the machine
that stitches elastic to fabric
_______
the new growth
which surprises all of us
on the green bean plants we work our way down
plunking the harvest into buckets
_______

moonstar the cat and the sometimes small snore
that comes out of her always small self
curled up in the medium sized priority mail box
made cozy with fleece scraps
as i write down the day
in pieces
_______

i mississippi river you like nobody’s business she writes
and i know exactly
what this feels like

diagonaling

the buzzing inside the cardboard box
that was once a winter-warm cat place
now turned bee condo
_______

the low gold light 
(particular to fall)
plus less leaves on the trees plus wind – 
how the shine and shadow
dance onto my walls
in the morning
_______
the thirteen turkey vultures
perched on the electrical wires (and poles and crossbars)
that hold it all up as seen from
the whitehouse woodstack
where the cats gather on their respective perches
over a crunchy breakfast
_______
emory and i selecting one piece of candy each
from the bulk bins
he chooses a red, white and brown piece of taffy
which ends up, according to his report from the front seat of the truck i drive us home in,
tasting like cherry vanilla chocolate
and i choose a butterfinger peanut butter cup
which is mostly like a butterfinger in a sqaure shape
and i give a quarter of it to em
_______
first the honking
and then the sight:
three geese diagonaling south
against powdery late morning sky

we go back to the practice

two pancakes on a plate
oily and delicious with a hint of almond
on the butcher block
_______
savoring the lemon balm scent
on mama cat’s forehead
(a clue to places she’s been)
when i press my nose
to the fuzzy and warm softness of her
_______
put your body into the poem she says from the playground 
and, like other things she says, it is so clear and simple that it seems anyone (including myself) could arrive at this
but most (including myself) don’t

she shines the light
whose on-switch i couldn’t find

_______
a bold life with you at the center 
what if you tipped the uber discernment/heart-led risk scales bruin says
what/who do you care about
and who do you want to be in the world
and how to make this goodbye resonant
with your values
_______
thanks coach i joke
when he says something along the lines of
what do we do when we are having a hard time
with the practice? we go back to the practice

_______

the unexpected sadness
of turning down
a chance to be with family
because of coming to understand
that i’d be out of my heart and mind
navigating resort-staying
on a carribean island
(the sadness layered with the extra sad
of having said so exuberantly yes to it all earlier on
yes regarding the unknowns
of resorting out of the country over winter break thinking yes, i am committing to family this year, let’s do this
_______

what’s he doing? making smores!?
eric asks bout emory
crouching in front of a small smoking fire
under the black walnut trees in front of the whitehouse
as we approach in the red ranger
love that kid i say
while we round the bend
_______
cecil and i laugh-talk-joking
the same way we did seventeen years ago
just three miles down the road
something heartening
about homes 
that are effortless
to return to

all the fallen persimmons

words for the way the fall sun
at its low angle
not just up but still early in the sky
backlights the broad still-green leaves
i stand under
on the gravel road
at the end of my run
glancing up
at magnificence

_______

the goodmorning message that 
reads: welcome to another day
with us in it

_______

a chain:
me (as i write) watching mama cat
(and her intent and inqusitive face) as she watches
a squirrel swinging fantastically
as any acrobat
(and maybe even more fantastic than some)
through the persimon trees
_______

is it raining near you she asks
i think we’re in each other’s storm system
_______
the box that arrives packed
with spices for making hari mirch ka achaar
repacked by jnfr
along with a note 
keeping ourselves espicy!

_______
there is no word
for the kind of happiness
the dahlias
and gumphrena
and snapdragons
and asters
and strawflowers
and bachelor’s buttons
and zinnias
and celosia
and cosmos bring me
while i walk among them
and clip the right and ready ones
and then arrange them
in a clear clean jar
of water
_______

the rustling around
just outside my room
of a possum (white and gray/black)
whose lips/mouth i can actually hear smack
as they feast
on all the fallen persimmons
_______
from the water world: 

This photo shows a man performing on a water-propelled flyboard at Shenyang Olympic Park in Shenyang in China’s northeastern Liaoning province. – voice of america , day in photos

we have to figure out how to make a prayer first

the two-to-three cats
that accompany me most mornings
on my walk from the priv to their feeding perches
how sometimes i wish i could step out of my body
just to stand back and watch it:
frank and the cat gang
rolling deep in the tall grass
_______
what i first hear as we have to figure out how to make a prayer first
trish saying before emory digs into
the porkchop breakfast
though it turns out to actually be
we have to figure out how to make it fair
(about portioning)
_______
the pine sap stickydirty on my hands
arms
legs
and emory’s hands
and arms
and legs
from our climb up to the crows nest lookout
and back down again
_______

em and i’s hushed voices
as we play spiderman uno
in karma while cynthia weaves the black thin cord
hrough another broom in progress
accompanied by the straw-like sounds of
handling that broom corn
_______
peeling the hazelnuts out of their husks
whiel baigz cracks them
as he sits there with his legs elevated
from being stung by an estiamted 15 bees
that snuck their way through mouse-chewed holes
in the suit

_______
i just want people to be kind and nice to each other
i call out from the office
correcting emory’s frankie was mad statement
(and later realizing 
how much that sounds
like my 13 year old self
who wasn’t too old to climb into the quiet and 
soothing darkblack of the closet
when the shouting and yelling 
picked up
________
from the water world:

A small estuary seahorse, Hippocampus kuda, drifts in the polluted waters near Sumbawa Besar, Sumbara Island, Indonesia. 

JUSTIN HOFMAN, WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR national geographic