Tag Archives: nature

County Road 23

Published / by Gabriel / Leave a Comment

The weekend over, we left your parent’s house,
and drove home in the rain,
tense and tired to our bones
from your father’s opinions about the government,
from your mother’s mild but persistent interrogations,
from your little brother and his dog Cheyanne,
both joyful, but barking desperate for attention.

Neither of us said anything,
you with your arms crossed in the passenger seat,
me with hands white-knuckled on the wheel,
weary to be home, but with miles to go.

The sun went down, and drove darker
until we rolled along County Road 23,
past a dairy farm and a baptist church
with a parking lot full of farm trucks,
even though it was getting late
even for country preachers high on hellfire.

Those were the last lights we passed
for miles, until pine trees nuzzled close in the dark
and we hit a patch freshly paved:
new asphalt so dark, so smooth it seemed like
we sailed down a river of night,

a slick of black glass that stretched
to the limits of the high-beams
and seemed as if it might crack beneath the tires.

We were both startled
by the tiny tree frog that popped into the road,
by his little jubilant leap into the rain,
his dance in light and wetness, his happy transit,
and your hand flew to my thigh
as I pressed the brake and slowed to let him pass.

Neither of us said anything,
but your hand settled from tension to comfort
and I eased my grip on the wheel
as the small green wanderer landed safely
in the pine straw piled on the other side of the road,

and then we continued on our way,
but your hand never moved,
not for the next fifty miles until we made it home.

The Unwanted Spring

Published / by Gabriel / 1 Comment on The Unwanted Spring

The weather crouches
and readies herself to leap
into the basin of warmth and rain.
She loosens the towel of winter
at her waist and lets it fall.

I wish I were a lifeguard.
I wish I could loose a shrill blast
from an orange whistle,
seize her wrist,
close the pool:
lock us on the cusp
of the last cold snap,

all because spring is coming
and all the days of it
will slip by
with you in your city
and I in mine.

My hand is empty.
How can I walk
through the garden
and show you
the fresh buds ready to burst?
the purple gillyflower,
the pink ranunculus,
the white lisianthus
with the tips of her petals
dipped in paint?

The bees like little doctors
have begun their rounds,
and today, a grasshopper
tanned his long legs
on the porch rail.
Pause the seasons
until you are here
and I can share these
little beauties of life
with you.

I don’t ask much.
Let weather only wait
until we are together again —
then she can dive,
then can spring wash us
in hot greenery,
in the blossom of the sun.

January Crickets

Published / by Gabriel / Leave a Comment

The year winter decided to play
in the sundresses from spring’s closet,
we left the windows open
to enjoy the breath of January azaleas
blooming in the flower beds.

A cricket snuck into your craft room,
and sang to us for hours,
somewhere under the stacks
of colored paper, under the bottles
of orange paint, the bits of curled wire,
the forest of projects you grew
behind a decorated door.

We searched for it for hours,
until my hands were glittered
and red yarn tangled your hair;
we even let the old mother cat
try to flush it from its artsy haven,
until her white fur was chalked
to pink and blue cotton candy,
and the cricket chirped at us.

That night, I curled beside you,
my hand on your breast and
your breath in my ear,
awake with a winter spring song:
cricket song, white azaleas asleep,
you asleep, a last jewel of glitter
bright on your breast beside my hand,
thinking I might let more crickets
sneak into the walls of our house.