The Mock Orange at Night in Mid-July

Out of flower now,
yet I smell it and so
must the dogs who
know where the cardinal
was at noon and the red squirrel.
Who knows which
trace is truest –

this one as if someone took
a torch to pearled sugar,
crust on custard,
almost too sweet.
We, or at least I, rely
certain in seeing.
The moon is a firefly
in the pine, a silver flash
above the greenish
flare of beetles.

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The Dogwood in Early June

I’ve waited seven days for this dogwood 
to unfurl its white cups, to drink the light
it gathers. Other flowers have passed
their season, our path matted
with pink rhodie remnants,
but the dogwood shows off 
in open space between cedar
and fir. 

Sun fills each cup as I witness
from shaded days steeped in protests
heated to burning, to melting, 
to truth yelling and tears. 

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The Robot Petting Zoo

Look for it close to the Amazon warehouse district,
not race tracks or the railroad station.

Don’t expect auto-vacuums or auto-lawnmowers,
it’s a fur-ever home for snuggle pups that don’t grow

into rambunctious black labs and for calico cuddle cats
that purr at any touch and home in on shoulders

in bed. Admission fees are need-based; declare
your loneliness on a scale of one to ten. Best

to come alone for the cheapest price, and best
deals are on Friday just after work, advertised

as Thank God I Feel Friday when you have one hour
for free. Leave your striped tie at home; the goat

teases by trying to chew on ties but gladly accepts
carrots. Shoelaces are sometimes a problem.

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April

the clouds hinted of old bedsheets
left on too long
and then the fog fell clammy
in a downing with the sun
and we were so cold
the wet seemed like wind
and the turns in the road
like twists in a tortured gut
until the steam rose with bravado
from the lonely sugar shack.

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The Vernal Equinox

Each quarter-turn carries an invitation.
Spring’s on-again, off-again wind calls for séance, 
candlesticks and musky incense, perhaps sage. 

My mug of coffee cools fast. I do not fight
in-between-ness, transience set in scarcity.
No angels, fireworks, zombies or astronomers’

star stampedes. The clay pots hold slime browns
of marigolds and geraniums that bloomed
last August. The glass table for al fresco July

dining is spread in algae scum. Alder catkins
clog the birdbath. A one-inch Japanese maple
sprouts from the pot that once waved gold feather grass. 

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February

We only say it correctly when we’re learning to spell it, a hint of brew, this month more soft-spoken than the last, and short – though Valentine roses’ petals fall before ice melts. Oh, some whisper it as a synonym for claustrophobia, closing down or slamming doors so fast that cold lurks abandoned out there where invisibles moan and something smelly hides under the front steps.

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My Pumpkin Pie Recipe

The singing ingredient (two parts aria) is for the pumpkins, the gratitude moment when the seeds go in, the months cajoling vines up the pyramid of lath, celebrating bees in the fluted yellow flower, waiting for slow golding of the green

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September

September This month cuts its own hair, the trees’ dream of going bald and old roses sport candelabras. The mosses cannot hold on as tightly as they did in June. The forsythia droops like a girl’s braids at the end of the first day of school. Black-eyed Susans flirt over the heads of dead-headed daisies. […]

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