in the dusking

with the scrap of kindling held up victoriously
like a celebratory scepter i call a jubiliant,
welcome home while mid-fire-building
to  baigz who walks in the door
of the not-yet-warmed kitchen
the deer carcass
under a juniper tree
hard to tell in the dusking light but might
have been a casualty of a missed shot or 
who knows but her entire rib cage
overturned and unsheltered at least five feet
from her skin, her doe eys

icy peach is the pre-sunset sky report over here
and over there she sunset reports
We had icy peach too!
And scarlet ibis feathers.
And lemon peel.
and one of the things i realize
while staring down sky trying to come up with more
is that the difficulty comes not from trying to name the color
but to name the color/light combo
and later i report back again naming the sky’s progressions:
cigarette glow
and neon blaze


the rosyness of stan’s cheeks
against his white hair
making me think he would
a perfect santa claus
though he might need to get padded/gain weight

the thrash of

under a gray of many layers
kneeling in the sand flat along the fabius
in the wind that carries the shit smell (of either: manure spreading or the pig CAFO)
as i clip whips
i sing (remember to remember, remember to remember) and wonder when the last time
(if ever) this willow was sung to


the jingle jangle of jack’s tags
as he walks/trots his way on the white rock road
whose rolling hills we crest and dip down into

today’s sunset color she reports is flamingo feather
to which my response is
here it was dishwater with blueberry
the line-dried (outdoor-fresh) blankets i fold into a big square
upon which i sit as i 
weave willow over willow – the beginnings of a basket slowly
forming in my hands and lap


the thrash of yellow yarn curls
as matt makes the puppet dance
to improvised techno bass

scribbling the nuances

though it is difficult to tell,
a thing that sounds like a fox bark
not far past the mushroom yard
this (and the thin orange line of light) are how the day begins unfolding
willow basketweaving 101
as taught from the distance between a pacific northwest forest
and a northeast missouri sunpatch
i sit on the ground under the clothseline scribbing furiously
the nuances
from a train hurtling west and north
she names the sunset spindleberry
while i, from the rise-fall of northeast missouri gravel hills
call it faded 1983 teal tshirt
never seen it like that before
both cynthia and i say about the moon
as we walk the rise of the rolling ridge
and the sunset spills all its color (from copper to purple-bruised pink) everywhere
and up there, under the thinnest veil, a moon about halfway full glowing a cool blue

compressing sweetness

how we compress the sweetnes
knowing that time is limited
(a train awaits) :
an extra savor of the million dollar tea,
a shred more flair as we do the kitchen dance around each other at the stove tending to mini pancakes and fried eggs,
the words i save like coins in a piggy bank (set aside for rare and special ocassions)
that i dish out when i lean in to
drop them into the curve of her ear like one might toss wish-coins
into a fountain

the number of dead deer i count
bodies curved like stray parentheses
heads tossed back
and the one cat (orangey)
and then there are the innumerable others (skunk, raccoon, possums)
on the ride back south and west
from quincy
lemon honey i write 
naming the sunset color 
carolina rose she responds
ashby the cat licking my nose
– the prickle of his tongue almost too much –
and then how he falls asleep with his chin resting
on my hand and his paw reached across my arm

how i hunt

willow is very forgiving  i say
while we work with our spokes, our god’s eyes,  and our uprights that don’t all want to seem to stay up or right
i am a ridge person
 she says
as we step out of the slater’s woods and onto the prairie ridge
that opens up and overlooks
the western horizon
which the sunset unravels itself along
like a skein of neon yarn

childhood food cynthia says
of the salmon cakes she flips at the stove
the buzz of too many flies
swirling about cool ranch
whose two doors i left flung open
because the 60some degree temperature
was too balmy to pass up
thus is born the tv show characters of
the fly spotter and
frankie the fly hunter
(somewhat inspired by the crocodile hunter)
how i hunt 
with my flappy small notebook and she
with her twisted up black shirt

for the family we become

best chilequiles maker ever
i say leaning in
my plate full
my belly and heart too
sun on bare arms
that haven’t seen sun in too long
while perched on the southfacing slight slope of grassy yard
where we clip and tuck the uprights into our basket bases
jennifer chopping the apples while i 
mix the crumble together and soon
the smell that only apples in the oven can make
filling the kitchen

the common denominator gratitude:
for the family we become/make
the simpleness i say
and the ability to change directions and shape
in my list of gratitudes


the swedish/scandanavian movement/clapping game
how we can’t help but laughing in mica’s living room
as we move/dance in rhythm
the awe/wonder
and how many stars can fit/be seen
into a sky
including the planet blinking blue red
coming up along the southeast horizon

tornado sky

perched atop the row of round haybales
the sun pouring over us
we wave at whoever it is in the pickup truck
rumbling past on the gravel of underpass road,
jack the jack russell up there with us too
the roadside raccoon tail
that jack chomps the last vertebrae of
as he carries it while trotting alongside us

with six willow spokes
thick and straight
three pierced through the middle and
the other three passed through
the basket begins
the sky a dusty pink everywhere around us
(doming over us and to the east/west/north/south)
1953 party dress is the color she names it which spurs my own
1961 postcard
gorgeous and eerie weird i say something about tornado sky – if it were a different time of year
and she points out the strip of green/blue cloud to the west
jennifer working the masa dough in her hands
before pressing them one by one
and tossing them onto the griddle