April in Myth
April is old like water, prehistoric, recycled. Womb
and bladder. To my Third World parched skin,
she’s America, running the tap.And now, in a foreign
hot tub, she mothers me, as if she has it to spare.
Water and muscles, air and my salty grief.
April has bloomed before, on schedule, sometimes
an early surprise. She has chased and she’s been cupped
to the lips, been drunk in, and done someone’s share
of drinking. Me, too, always in August.
On April’s flesh, tears and kisses evaporate,
leaving shine. On mine, brine, crusty, leaving in cakes
like the ice shelf. I watch it go, with foreboding
that natural disasters will result.
But water and her children won’t be possessed.
In time, she does the possessing, pooling foolish souls
like shrimp, pulling us through hurricanes and extinction
and silence from space.
Mammoths, raccoons, wrens and Americans.
Like water, April is old, knows how to crest and trough,
be a beating organ of the beast, a good germ on the living
planet. Some herons are like pterodactyls pulled by hunger
too far from shore. There are fools and there are fish.
Drink, says April. Extinction breeds myth.
And oh, what a magnetic myth we make.
(Previously published in Antiphon Poetry Magazine.)
At the Lonely Gravel End
Waving oak leaves in the canopy
make windchimes out of sunshine.
A purple wing leans left, the lane sashays.
Two ferrel peacocks bookend
Nimshew Road, one at the head,
ribboning between ranch houses
in cul de sacs laid down like daisy
pedals. The other peacock materializes
less often, at the lonely gravel end,
down four miles of log cabins and soda
can trailers. His life is staying one branch
away from the juvenile bear; keeping
upwind from that cougar who snakes
from Paradise Ridge; politely
declining to be tamed by the new
neighbor who feeds black tailed
deer and wild turkeys. His irised wizard
tail eyes are stripped, maybe a slow bobcat
or the comb of a Ponderosa branch.
Tom turkeys are in full inflation, posing,
catwalking for hens and human painters.
But the peacock has no hen to impress,
just me, moved to spot the elusive emperor,
(Previously published in Peacock Journal, as Emperor of Nimshew.)
Cotton takes care of me.
I mend and wonder where
a word went as Cotton hops
out of bed, feeds the herd,
showers. I’m late with his
coffee. I have one job as he
capers around, clipboards
and clients’ keys, leash
and a dog to walk.
My hours pass in turns of
whiplash and molasses.
I’m glad he’s at work,
not watching. We both recall
when I was brilliant.
He soldiers and I try.
Who takes care of Cotton?
He’s aged out of his market.
Once six figures, now Cotton
cleans houses. Five today,
done at six. Home at seven
with rags to wash and stories.
Spreadsheets and payroll.
Menu ideas and shopping lists.
Leash and a dog to walk.
Cotton cares into the void.
Tonight he’ll make cornbread.
(Previously published in The Cafe Review.)
He is cotton on the stalk, all slicing
armor outside, talking politics,
rubbing you wrong. Inside,
he’s nothing but a downy bed.
He made it to lay you there
while discussing dogs
and enchiladas, deciding
to hide away for the day.
Our cotton rabbit in the warren
who warns the others of dogs,
owls and black snakes. Why
listen to the old guy…
He’s a mouser cat that will always watch
you and never follow you home
because you never
Shopping lists and spreadsheets.
A call from Kenya. Send cash.
Cotton boils quinoa while cursing
his web host and mumbling that humanity
has been a disappointment.
He’s leaping purple in loose cotton
at the dance, interpreting ice
skating moves, beading
every eye in the room
into one necklace, ribboning.
He might as well,
not that anyone would ever
give him credit.
(Previously published in The Blotter.)
Make Soup, You Said
I’m making a soup
to fill my bowl.
I’m after that carrot of consolation
I would remember
in that season of my childhood
The three sisters–
corn, beans and squash…
When they hold hands
they can give weight
while they dance and stir,
balanced in a circle chain,
If I know the right herbs,
if my flame is humble,
if I stir with the tide,
if I ladle with steadiness,
if I eat with grace,
if I digest with stillness,
I will understand
why you have gone.
I wrote you a letter.
I burnt it,
sent it sailing,
nailed it to my bed.
Make soup, you said, nothing is simple.
(First published in Baltimore Review.)
Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, and Bangalore Review. She’s an editor at Califragile.org and PoetryCircle.com. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.