let’s just say there was a shop vac

front porch potting-up factory
where the peppers are upgraded
from studio apartments to one-bedrooms
and the
sunflowers and zinnias and cosmos
get upgraded from a group dorm
to single dorms
(which some people might say i am ridiculous
for starting rather than direct seeding into the ground
but i’ll take all the extra growth and time i can get)
_______
gray cat hunting its new toy:

the plastic strip ripped off the top of a
25 pound bag of potting soil
_______

it’s probably best not to mention the rat remediation
but let’s just say
there was a shop vac
and formula 409
and a half eaten tub of mink oil leather conditioner
and flashlights and spray foam
and a saw and particle board and another saw
and a mini pry bar named richard
and how we toss all the clothes we were wearing
into the wash machine
and neither of us could scrub
hard enough
_______
you’re already leaving she says
to the glasses-clad one
over chili and spinach sunflower sprout salad
and homemade bread
i can hear it in your voice

_______
the setting sun a smudge
coppery swabbed by wisp swoosh clouds
over silos and green fields
as seen from green acres road and highway J
_______
are we ok she asks in the light
of a single beeswax candle bought
at the farmer’s market and made
by verna’s sisters

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all the bright red

how it can help make a place feel like home,
running into a friend on the sidewalk
and in this case it is the small backpack basket
that gives annie away
_______
all this sun
in the 70some degree air
and my arms bare
as we pedal, pedal and pedal
_______
the smashed dark shell and all the bright red
meaty ripped organ muscle body
of a red eared slider turtle
on the road
the impossible brightness of its blood
not even dried running
on the blacktop towards the ditch
how somehow this seems more brutal
than what happens to the possums, the raccoons, the deer
and i circle back around to it,
grab the plastic bag off my bike
and scoop its sunwarmed smashed self up
and carry it off into the dried gold/brown
of last year’s grasses that ring the pondy wetland
where so many frogs sing and sing
my ojibwe teacher said it is the right thing to do –
to move the bodies off the road
if you can stand it
jennifer says
_______

a cat i call out pedaling
along highway J about the caramel colored creature
sitting a distance away
in the growing green grass and then later
a black and white one pouncing
some distance away on the right side of the road
near a propane tank
_______

your first customer jennifer says at the sink
about the all smokey-gray ring-tailed cat
lurking about outside the porch
to whom i bring
in a metal bowl
today’s conflicted purchase
of kibble

we tried

birds mourn she says as we walk
through the bright bright bright
of sun thrown of the still there but
rapidly melting snow
with the body of a dead robin
(wrapped in fabric)
taking turns being carried
by one of us and then the other
back to it’s other robin people
where we try to say that
we tried to help
about the bird we took in yesterday
and gave warmth and food to
without realizing he was impaled
through his hip/torso
by a stick/thick grass
meaning: we provided the best hospice we could
without knowing there was an injury to tend to

and we walk towards

am i inscribing my whiteness all over it i ask
about the peninsula bus system whose stops are vague
and whose maps are even more vague
but whose friendly person on the other end of the line
has the answers to my questions but still
i want to  know why isn’t it all
just printed clearly and cleanly somewhere
_______

the bench/bleachers that we work at outside
in the glorious coastal light/sun while the laundry spins inside
first, in cold water and then in hot dry heat
colors tumbling a blur into one  another
_______
the plain yogurt with berry jam mixed in whose remnants
i clear out with my fingers
_______

jenafr and i hopscotching tree roots
that insist on buckling the paved path under our feet
hi tree, hi tree, hi tree we sing/say
with the movement/play of our bodies
_______

there are two suns i say about the one lowering itself into
cloud/horizon haze and about the one shining
back at us off the sheen on the sand
and we
walk towards

a few steps in

sunlight through lace curtains is one
of my favorite things
i say as the lacey light/shadows

land on the many-times-painted-and-chipped
kitchen table in the morning light
_______
how the fuel of just one yes is enough
to continue propelling me forward on this
bigdream trajectory
_______

the high and short whistles
of an eagle on the air currents
drifting/circling and then another joining in the call/song
as the first lands in fir boughs shaped
by the saltwater wind blasting in
from the pacific
_______
a few steps into a small small cave
(bigger than a slit) opening
in the mound of rock that appears as the path veers
away from beach grasses and into the
moss and fern and huge-tree land that leads to
the north head lighthouse
_______

the lyrics/chorus how long has this been going on as heard
from seaview washington’s post office lobby
flashing me back to whitehouse kitchen,
gathered around butcher block, jeauxseph saying
so good with neither a squeal nor a giggle but something
perhaps akin to both

will you make a bridge // home is everywhere

the light of the sun shining so hard
it brings out the sparkle in the hard bare parts
of the gravel road
_______
walking county line road
a farewell excursion
a last jaunt
a walk up the swell of the neighbor’s hill and then down
into the dips where the creeks run through
and me thanking everything: the treetops (barelimbed ad budding) against blueblue sky,
the black capped chickadees flitting and singing,
the bold bright sun on this big clear day, jack the jack Russell
even though he couldn’t choose between walking with me and
a really exciting bone back at home and eventually he decided he
wanted to hang out with the bone,
mama cat and her soft fluff of fur,
moonstar and her consistent love of
curling up in a lap,
and everything else that i can name in the moment
for holding me in all the ways these things have
in unnameable and often unnoticeable ways until seen
from the view of today – the leaving looming soon
the white coach to arrive
in a half hour
_______
the leaving song i try to sing
on the county line road
wind in my hair
sun on my cheekbones:
may the longtime sun shine upon you all, love
surround you and may the bright light within you
guide you on your way home
this song that brings tears to my eyes

no matter who is leaving nor when we sing it
but this time it’s me and the thing that gets me
is that one small/huge word at the end:
home
_______
this body
sleep-lacked and
thin-whisped and
moving forward because that is the direction we move
racked with the grief
of loving a place hard
(the growing things of this place,
the wild things of this place,
the seasons moving through this place,
and all the love and energy and effort put in)
and the leaving of it looming
the sounds coming out of me as i
half-drift, half-trudge, one hundred percent move through
across the windy prairie

the sky
void of eagle shrieks
but spilled with all this blue
and a patch of geese at high elevations
shimmering in the light
_______
the cat make-up on apple’s face:
the black nose tip worn off
but the freckles and whiskers still there
when she appears
_______
trish’s sequin skirt
throwing gold light everywhere
and paired with the long red wig and
dange jacket
accompanied by trumpet and
ringing dinner bell and
drums and the love flute
this bright and raucous sendoff
sandhill style
_______
almost everyone says something
as we each lean in for a hug one by one –
all of it impossible to respond to
since my throat, my voice, my eyes
have stopped working
_______

eric handing me a pocket sangha
on a pink piece of paper
that’s you he says pointing
to the little stick meditator
in the bottom left
opposite the bell on the bottom right
_______
i’ll keep you on the sandhill google chat em calls out
until/unless you want to be taken off
_______
will you make a bridge i ask
and everyone lines up arcing their arms together
(emory and cole using the trombone with its slide out as their arc)
from gravel road to car door
and i walk under not fast not slow
but taking time
my bags already in back,
a pause to pet jack,
and plop in the front seat
a wind of sorts
knocked out of me
_______
kris calling out from the hill
in kris style
sand hyill!
or at least that’s what i think she said
but even if it wasn’t the right words
i can still hear the tone
_______
the shortest drive
to the quincy train station
ever, surreal is a word
for most of the day
my body not my body but still my body
the missouri air around me the missouri air but not air but it’s not anything else either
time maybe moving forward maybe moving backward or maybe
it’s not moving at all
_______
apple in the quincy station parking lot
how we find each other (me looking through the window
and her out ther)
and wave an endless wave
and blow bundles of kisses and then
she turns and moons the train
on this fullmoon-in-pisces day
and how on her drive out of the parking lot
while the train still sits there she waves
and waves and waves
out the open window and i wave and
wave and wave back
until we can no longer
see each other
and on some plane
i’m not on the train at all
but just going to visit dan Kelly and his apple farm or
we’re taking the long way back to red earth or
we’re just out for a spring drive
_______
the single long white crash of wave
as seen from a speeding cab as it moves
along lake shore drive while isa and i laugh
at some ridiculous thing or another
while the jazz on the radio jazzes and
the night is dark around us and
isa’s got a little extra money these days so
she splurges
to get us from here
to there
and how this lake michicgan wave
is the first YES i hear
on my way
_______

as a pre-dinner appetizer, isa and i
share the alline-cinnamon roll
imported from missouri to this
nest of a one-bedroom chicago dwelling
(home is everywhere)

neither of us can get over
how good its cinnamonyness and
not-to-sweetness
and perfect texture is
_______
the pad see ew with extra broccoli
we take turns feasting from
and the salty spicy sauce we take turns
dipping spring rolls in
_______
the deep reward of falling back into
the cloudnest bed
while the radiators hum/whistle/hiss and
every cell in me simultaneously vibrating and
depleted how maybe in this moment i feel something like
what Cheryl strayed described in the beginning of
strayed
an empty and a frayed and a full that i don’t even know yet and
a brightness before me and this is what one feels like in their body
when a thing they could never imagine losing
is gone

with wings and wind

jack and i both eyeing the unknown shape/color that catches both our eyes in the grass as we approach

jack, avoidant/scared and me

slow/curious

looking like an animal for so long but eventually turning out

to be a medium round log

_______

two juvenile eagles cry/whistle/calling overhead

as they hold themselves in place

with wings and wind

as seen from old canada road

where sometimes our feet sink in

to dark soft earth

_______

the opaque creek ice obscuring a white blur held in place

by the freezing –

it isn’t until i climb down and cross solid surface that i see

the bones of limbs, an upper and a lower and shreds of flesh still attached

and the face is impossible to make out but looks as if skin has turned itself inside out – the whiteness

and the dark fur which alludes to racooon but it isn’t until i break through surface

and see that long and grayblack wrinkled paw pad

that i know for sure

and i don’t know for who or what

but i apologize

_______

that bright line

of hotwarm pink

unspooled along horizon

and the crescent moon arcing its way

slowly towards it

______

a potluck joke about how ryan’s farts,

now that he’s back from his 10day vipasana meditation retreat,

sound like chimes, like the gong of a singing bowl

_______

apple and i passing

the sheets of paper back and forth

that becomes

the illustrated cat care guide

of sandhill farm

this is what friendship/kinship/allyship/support looks like

______

apple searching the word pithy in a dictionary

and how we play-act

pretending there was no time before internet and wondering

how does this 3d app work

(i as if it’s got siri

apple demonstrates the turning the page movement (similar to gestures on a laptop trackpad)

apple compares the pages to pdfs

i ask of there are ads in there)