about ohms and edges

the first snow of the season that stuck
(it snowed a few weeks ago, but
it melted upon contact)
how it all glows gold orange on the morning drive
to the farm
the still-warm apple crisp mat made
along with caramel topping
(the latter of which i resisted
due to the cold i’m trying to keep at bay)
served up with paper plates and paper birthday napkins and plastic forks
and the feasting the amish crew and mat and i do
in the greenhouse
before our last 15 minutes of work
(maybe last for the season for me,
or maybe i’ll be needed next week)
georgie the cat curled in the smallest box
that hugs him just right
despited the seed packets and pens and plastic seeders
that the box contains

mom and dad and i talking
about ohms and edges of comfort/discomfort
and cruise ships
and anniversaries


knowing snow

the bright yellow butterfly
same color as falling leaves
that we cheer on
knowing snow is in this week’s forecast

in between tortilla chip crunches,
reading chapter 28 aloud
at the kitchen snacktime table
lisi-cat waiting with devotion
near the kitchen sink/counters
where all the food magic happens and me saying
he thinks lamb chops are going to fall from the sky
to juniper posted at her computer
grantwriting and grantwriting
that they may die quickly
or remain unharmed

a little prayer that comes to me
for animals in the area’s of california’s kincade wildfire

small bright things

how we both gasp or oooooh ahhhhh
or do something audible
in response to the bright yellow leaves
showering down in front of us
as we drive through town and juniper mentions the study
of things that bring people joy
and these leaves would qualify
under the category of collections of small bright things
lacey she says
of the thinness and the pattern
of the clouds across a dusty pink/gold sky
(whose haze i wonder whether or not
is a result of the fires out west)
as seen from the orange couch
where we curl under covers
taking turns reading harry potter
to each other

the miracle summer

the black horse who stays close to the fence
even as we walk past,
so we sidle up
and the horse sidles up
to chomp the thistle
whose leaves are still greenish
along the fence line
as is tradition,
the lorna doone cookies that arrive
in a package with my mom’s handwriting on it
(plus the time capsule experience
of a pillowcase i fabric-painted on in 1982)
lisi-cat gnawing and chomping away
at the lamb chop
gnawing through meat to bone


the miracle summer salad juniper calls it:
the cucumbers and tomatoes
chopped and tossed in the clear glass bowl
all from the garden
(cucumbers discovered under a volunteer plant
kept protected from frost by being low to the ground,
and tomatoes plucked not ripe
but left to redden in windowsills
and on the table)
and the glorious miracle summer taste of it all
in my mouth

the unweaving

more rusts and browns i say
to juniper on the drive back up the hill
while comparing our fall colors
to up north’s fall colors
wondering what the breakdown would be,
pie chart style, of what combinations and ratios
of what types of trees
make that 70s palette of greens to yellow golds to orange reds
as opposed to our mostly rust
(which i attribute to so many oaks)
the suction-pop sound
the tomato trellis poles make
as we pluck them from rain-softened soil
in the annual act of
the taking-apart
the putting-to-bed
the unweaving
the two dum dums juniper hands me
(cherry and pineapple)
one in each hand
brought back from corazón
and how she had to fight peter for one of them
sarah to my right
says that i know this song
so we’ll sing together
in front of the group
when it’s our turn
and the singing in front of the group
reveals the parts of the song i don’t know
but still, i like the vote of confidence
that she gave me
and later we clumsily the spooky song
about the ghost of john
(wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?)


for planting out

in the pack shed
lavina, sarah and i
separating garlic cloves from their bulbs
for planting out
gross (or was it disgusting) is the word sarah uses
when talking about the person at union station
with the pink red fuchsia hair
(which she brings up after she talks about
the amtrak person’s two-inch long fingernails)

how we laugh about the endlessness
of stripping leaves and buds from hemp branches
because that’s all one really can do is laugh
and keep stripping

two paragraphs of harry potter
before one of us starts falling asleep

the hours it takes to harvest

the woman on the spiritual-ish episode of the body/heart/mind/healing talk show
says something like
do not doubt that if a loved one who has passed on shows up in your dreams whether or not it is them,
by all means: it is them,
it is them paying a visit to you
which makes me think of kate
and long for another dreamvisit
painstaking might be the word
not only for the work of stripping the hemp plants
of their leaves
by hand
and the two hours it takes to harvest
11 pounds
but also knowing there is a whole barn
with gajillions and squazillions more plants
the strong winds
prying at every branch and loose bit tonight
ready to carry things off
to the east/north
the patches of cotton candy fire
scattering the sunset sky which is
still blue where the candy firepatches aren’t
the little blooms of mold
in various colors
in the pages of the edwidge danticat book
that fell into the bath
a week or so ago


snake herding

lisi cat curled on juniper’s pillow
taking up over half
while juniper sleeps undisturbed,
her head taking up the remaining quarter of the pillow
me reading the wikipedia page aloud to juniper in the morning on the orange couch
about the minneapolis/st. paul food cooperative wars
and how it makes us laugh out loud
because it reads like an onion article (cooperative wars)
even though it is the real deal
snake herding we joke about me
escorting snakes off the sunny gravel road
into the safety (though coolness too)
of grass
out of the way of mighty truck tires
the swallowtail caterpillar
that crawls the surface of my hands
over and over
as we walk up the rest of the road
towards ki’s garden relocation

the handful of fresh clover leaves
i hold up over the fence
to offer to the sheltand pony
who nibbles at the ground nearby
but does not amble closer
substantive snack
how i ask juniper to repeat this
again and again
along with the silly expression she makes
for each syllable
at a sandhill of days of yore
now would be sorghum season
i write
which i didn’t realize
until walking up the gravel road
with a crew (kris, eric, juniper)
on this unusually warm day (given all the recent cool days)
in the sun,
the japanese lady beetles dive bombing our sleeves,
our noses,
our cheekbones

the yellowgold butterfly fluttering
that i can’t tell at first is a butterfly or a leaf
but turns out, indeed, ki is a butterfly

a spirit we’ll always carry with us

the last farmer’s market of the season,
we stock up on amish jams,
sweet potatoes,
dilly beans
ceramic bowls on the scale
at craig’s 5-dollars-a-pound
pottery sale in the pop up tent in his yard

the sandhill style circle of held hands
and moments of silence
that we take before dining –
how being in kris and eric’s presence,
i am reminded that, yes, sandhill is a physical place,
but sandhill is also a spirit
that we’ll always carry with us
first meal eaten out of aforementioned bowls:
african peanut soup
with baked marinated tofu
over rice
and tabouli on the side
the pictionary easel evan built
to accomdate a roll of newsprint paper
and some of the more difficult words:
kris navigating the toaster
through fog patches that whooosh come up from nowhere
and whoooosh disappear into nowhere
along the county highways
and we laugh when we can’t see the road
we’re supposed to be turning onto –
knowing it’s there
but beginning to feel like it has weirdly disappeared altogether

the brightness

shiny new exhaust parts
christopher the mechanic says
pointing to a pile of pipes and other things
which means the unnerving rattle
should be gone the next time i drive
back up the hill
but as a takeaway, i’d like to keep behaving
as if it doesn’t work/isn’t driveable
because i love this earth
the too sweet too heavy (and delightful) cookie i
dropped a dollar in the box for
still there
still too sweet
still too heavy
the brightness that i want to capture, carry, preserve somehow
of the sun in a parallelogram
glowing on the living room floor
jacob popping in the front door
of thoreau house asking
mid-class if he can take a picture
a little sheepish but also a lot excited
spoooooooky i call out from my bike
while juniper and i pedal the town streets
swirled with wind-carried leaves