let’s get to the strawberry point of it

let’s get to the strawberry point of it
we laugh after passing the world’s largest strawberry
in strawberry point, iowa
perched atop a building
and down the road
a leisure home
where people take shifts
being leisure in the armchair outside
teddy bear and peace bear
nestled in the little triangle window
off the dashboard
of the absolutely for certain YELLOW car
that deena drives
and the handwritten affidavit
that juniper an i sign
saying so
the photos my dad texts me
today (his 72nd birthday) of the bonsai trees
(one, a mini forest of maples
the other, a tree whose leaves close up at night
alongside an accent plant
featuring things dug up from the yard)
kurt making whale sounds
after alyson mishears harbor symphony as hardware symphony
and i mistake terrorists for tarotists and how funny it is
to imagine that they won’t let tarotists on the ships
because they’ll be distracted thinking about
all the meanings of the five of cups
endangering themselves and all the other ships
in the harbor

my heart is full i say
in the room of writers
diving into three days
of wordstuff
the light of a quarter-to-half moon
on the white gravel road
casting tree shadows and us shadows
while the barred owls
call to each other
under what stars can be seen
how the skin in this familiar air
feels home

tease of clouds

the swallowtail caterpillar
i find in the weeds i pull
from the carrot beds
and carefully place
in the tall wild grass
alongside the field edge

the rain, when it finally comes,
is the kind one waits all day for
almost unable to handle
the tease of clouds
and distant thunder
that may or may not break

naming tribes and bands

jacob standing in front of the giant map of wisconsin
in the thoreau house kitchen
naming tribes and bands
connected to this land
while we pass around the neem clove oi
to tick-repel ourselves
how this is healing
in the back of the vanagon
i note how
it smells a little bit like a vanagon i knew well
driven by the esteemed debra mazer
as we took it cross country
drinking vitamineral green
and crying outside cowboy stores
chai spice tea smell
rising from picnic table
and twining with the afternoon pine light

looks like pearls i say
gooseberries liz says
about the unusal array
of round green growing things
stuck to the top of a plant leaf
in a variety of sizes

the small light pink-topped mushrooms
sprouting from a downed tree
gone almost powdery in the proces
of becoming soil
and how those little pink mushrooms
smell slightly like strawberries
how i brush my fingers through the ferns
that gather on the north side of the hill slope
to bring their spirit back
for juniper
climate change we say
about the canyon ripped into the ground
that wasn’t here last time
in the middle of the coulee
a trench five feet deep
dug by the assault of water
from a thirty-year storm
that took place in the span of 30 minutes

the ache that snakes

the rustle of plastic bags
that dangle from the hands of the couple in front of me
as the walk down the sidewalk in the breeze
pausing to draw on a quiet sidestreet
the queen anne’s lace flowers
and later, a branch with pine needles
the ache that snakes
from shoulder up into neck
and along the back of my head
arcing over
into forehead
we went from zero to one hundred fifty i say to robert
as we round the corner towards the co-op
about how student orientation is going
the little metal shovel
that sarah brings out
to move the overcrowded cucumber plant
into roomier soil
i’ve had it my whole life she says

the nettle stalks
we work at stripping
around the patio table
while turns are taken for talking
i observe my neighbors
to learn by watching/doing
stripping off the fibers
from the stalk



sun rise sliding in
later and later now
like a student getting lax
as the semester passes
today’s gold glow
bronzing at 6:05ish a.m.
the first gold/yellow bursts

of the volunteer sunflowers
sprouted from fallen birdfeeder seed
evergreen holding one yellow pepper
me holding another
like a telephone
(little stem an antenna)
saying hello, who is it
at the end of the day
before we get into the cars
that whisk us along the curves
and up down the hills
to our respective homes
end of july
and on the eve of this night
that’s predicted to dip
down to 54 degrees
i’m wrapped in wool socks,
a beanie
and a shawl/wrap


nusrat fateh ali khan
on full blast
as i drive the hills and curves
air blowing in through the windows
and sun glowing its late afternoon glow
the ecstatic quality of the sound
how i scrub three times with a brush
and still the dirt clings to my cuticles
and under my nails
and in the lines of my knuckles
after a day of harvesting beets, sweet onions, zukes and cukes,
trellising tomatoes, and
removing diseased brassica leaves