moving slow in the slow current

pears and grapes harvested
from earth’s rising in oregon
now being presented/shared for breakfast
at the kitchen table
in southwestern wisconsin
followed by the sizable
chestnut feast
solé, mahogany and i
laughing at the drinking fountain
at sidie hollow park
where we take turns pretending we don’t know:
approaching, cranking the handle
and watching the water shoot up to hit the underside
of the small roof built over the found and its two
neighboring benches
and the look of pretend surprise
on our faces

the silvery fish slinking
up and down the creek
as seen through its clear grayblue water
plus the bridge hanging over it
where we drop dried leaves in on one side
and wait on the other for them to appear
moving slow
in the slow current
the post-hike drive through town
at the halloween witching hour
where we find unicorns on cellphones walking on the sidewalk and 
sly ninjas in all black roving with costumed packs
plus two people dressed in red leggings and light blue jean jackets
making the four of us in the car wonder what they are
(and me chiming in c for effort)

the unnamable grayblue hue
on the edges of the oyster mushrooms
that solé holds in one of the photos she shows us
of the year’s work
sounds like geese i call out
about the video solé plays over and over
of mahogany and i from earlier today
taking the green slide down
in speedy succession
each of us calling out a whoop at the end
of the ride

what kind of tree

the birthday heron
the birthday beaver in the pond appearance
the birthday red tailed hawk screechcalling out overhead while gliding/circling
the birthday white horse and black cart clomping and clacking up the gravel road
the birthday appearance of two friends on the porch arriving from the west coast with a ryvita cracker box that magically keeps refilling with different treats (feathers, blueberry jam, home juiced grape juice, walnuts, a pinecone from the badlands…)
the birthday sun and the birthday temperature – a day so warm that i can go out hatless
the birthday trout flickering in the clear stream under the bridge

the parade-y procession of presents
filled with so much love
(wintersilk long underwear,
stay magical rainbowy-in-the-light notecards
the best selection of mrs. grossmans stickers
the polish sunflower and zinnia seeds
and magnificent magenta polish scarf/shawl
not to mention all that came before:
bodywork session certificate,
the sun magically arriving in the mailbox
after a red enveloped notecard from orion)
something warmly wonderful about being so seen
and so known
so well

what kind of tree? she asks
when i talk about how turning forty three
is really turning forty tree
(wherein i become part tree)
quaking aspen
white pine

i answer
the story we make up about bob, big bob
the beaver and the bragging bob must have done
about that big old tree he chewed down (show-off)
so huge it’s impossible to move anywhere
plus, it got stuck in the tops of other trees on its way down
so it’s still suspended up there

looks like it could rain

the gray cloud
that pulls itself across the sky
changing the look/feel from sunny to
looks like it could rain out there

ray bryant’s cover of horace silver’s song for my father playing
on driftless radio
on the small ge radio atop the chest freezer
that i listen to but sortof dance to also
as i stretch

the sound of mason jar glasses
clink-clank-falling on the porch
and a big big possum
the culprit
lurking around there

a bag of nouns in three rounds

the anti-climactic last day of work
in which there are no dramatic farewells
because i didn’t really understand
that it was my last day of work
the pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles
plus pink candles on the cake
that lisa arrives at the door with
the cocoa powder sprinkle-dotting the just-whipped cream
on the chocolate and locally-harvested chestnut cake
with the burnt up sparklers (one in the shape of a 4
and one in the shape of a 3) poked into it

how we, gathered in a circle
laugh in only the way a bag of nouns in three rounds
can get us to do
and then there’s fede, riding the home-made broom around the table three times
and zara offering me the advice to channel my inner grandma
and then tim with that feathergrass in his mouth
and all of us doubled over
laugh upon laugh upon laugh
rolling like ocean waves
at high tide
not bad that two of the four men
were cross-dressing
i reflect later that night
regarding the birthday potluck
in which evan donned the sequin dress
from the basket of sparkly things
and fede dressed as zara
featuring earrings and lipstick

the soup that keeps going

a small and dedicated showing
at the final farmer’s market of the season
in the cool gray and spitty rain
we stock up on the peach jam we won’t see for sale again for four or five months
and beeswax candles
and a giant jug of maple syrup
collected by someone in verna’s family
on the stove: the soup that keeps on going
lentil daal
with kale and carrots
reheating on the stove
the cider from eve’s orchard
that tastes like 80 round apples
tumbled together
all their flavors magnificently
crashing up against each other
(depth and width)
and then i sample the pasteurized stuff
which tastes like one apple
flat as a piece of paper
in the car
we discuss ambition
climbing the hill
and rolling back down again
into town
when i say i wish i had more
i mean i wish i followed through more
the poets and musicians
from madison
la crosse
and right here in viroqua
filling the chilly bookstore
with words and sounds
the warmth
radiating out
from our ribcages
not a bad way
to spend an almost-birthday weekend

buried in the food forest

the i did it dance/song
i sing/perform
in the kitchen/living room
i did it, i did it, i did it did it!
i did it, i did it, i did it did it! etc
after replacing my first bulb
in the headlight
of my first car
(thank goodness for youtube i say
with deep gratitude for it
and the man
who very clearly
showed me how
through his camera lens
from somewhere in georgia or florida)

the slight rainbow
in the rain we can feel
dotting our faces
but we can’t at first see
the grey/black striped tiny kitty
following the grown black and white cat
around at sullivan’s farm
near the edge of the road
the tiny thing
letting out its
tiny rattly roar
ungracefully i move the roadkill rabbit
with a thick branch
off the gravel road into the grass
and then, from the other side of the road
i grab the white fluffy puff
i’m giving its tail back i say
placing the white fluffy puff
at the back end of the smashed
but not yet stiff
beautiful brownblackgrey body

almost a year later
this is the day the body of gibbous
the sweet orange cat
who shrunk and shrunk and shrunk
goes into the ground
at sandhill farm
perhaps buried in the food forest
down by the mulberry tree
that hangs over the chicken coop

what are you optimistic about

you got newsed juniper says
upon her return
about my fury and sadness
at the state of the usa-centric happenings
going on as of late
as heard in democracy now

the package mailed from new berlin
wrapped in a children’s bible trivia game box
(containing flannel hankies and
lorna doones
and several items for good dental hygeine)
that i get a kick out of
partly because of the contents
but mostly because of the wrapping
i’m stuck i call out
burritoed in the purple-covered flannel down comforter
and wedged between the little chowki tables
and the couch
my stomach full
my body sleepy
after a filling dinner
listening to the wpr show host
ask caller after caller
what are you optimistic about?
while i chop onions

and grate ginger
and peel garlic
juniper reaching into her backpack
to deliver the watercolor paper postcard pack
purchased per request at the art store in milwaukee

the great geometrical arrangement

it is dificult
not to be concerned
when a gray cat you love very much
shows up
oddly lifting his left paw often
and limping
(not shockingly
but not walking like the grey kitty you know either)
the great geometrical arrangment
of carrots in the round glass pan
that annie brings with her
up the hill from town
the stuffed animal creatures
including penelope and sad starry eyes
that join us on the floor for dinner
in the living room
where annie and i compare shitshows

as we clatter along

the catastrophe of a dead coyote
on the side of the statehighway
as we make our way
to the apple orchard
how we pause
partway through our apple orchard walk
to sit on our jackets,
take in the broad view
and pass all the words
there are to pass
back and forth
from at least 10 years
of not hanging out in person
clouds of pigeons
moving in formation
swooping in loops above the roofs
of 5th and king
and then a crew of bigger birds, all black
also swooping and looping in their seemingly choreographed
pre-sunset flight-dance
while heidi and i wait
at the bus stop
talking politics to heavy to look up
the almost full moon just above
la cross bluffs 
glowing silver/parchmenty against the
powderpinkblue of sky
as seen from a bus
rattling along the highway
and how i follow it through window
eyes glued
as we clatter along the curves