Thursday, August 3, 2017

Visitants

           Fox

Bright fox with rag of rabbit
dangling from jaws trots
clear of woods into space
between feeder and house.  Head
up, healthy, hello brush! he
flashes past our big windows.
We rush to bedroom to see
him pass, to see him pause
at head of path, but no,
it's under fence and across
meadow, out of sight behind
trees and winter grass.
                                          O fresh
fox, give us your clear light,
jaws and feet rabbit swift, fast
food held heading home, alive
and sure this cold morning.


            Infection
The song says I've got you under
my skin and there you entered a spider
bite or maybe poison ivy laced buckthorn
I was clearing, a black spot on my left
wrist surrounded by red swelling, tender
balloon of heat and itch soon taking over
my forearm with harbingers streaking
up past the inner elbow toward lymph nodes
in the armpit and beyond to the heart.
Surely it would pass because I'm so
reasonably healthy, but as with poetry
and love, my immunities and pure intentions
proved insufficient. Smaller water blisters
flowered beside the black spot, and soon
a swath of red across belly and chest
where I anointed myself in the shower.
I showed my proud wound to friends, who
murmured appropriate concern. The black
spot wept, blisters broke, and I badged
my spider kiss with gauze, took huge red
pills at conspicuously inconvenient times,
exaggerating the danger by mentioning
intravenous antibiotics. I rejoiced the itch
on my chest which I refused to scratch
with patience sublime and somehow Christian.
But under the ministering of time and pills
the red recedes to a sane domestic disturbance,
the kind that could happen to anyone, though
the rich purple of skin in the cold, the
lingering black heart scab and surrounding
volcanic skin scales make a pleasing story
of how deep and beautiful such wounds can go.


            Visitants

People who believe in God think I don’t understand,
but something must have sent us the startling blue
of an indigo bunting: a chip of light on a hickory
whose leaves are emerging from yellow-green pods,
then a swoop closer to the feeder where it pauses
to be photographed, though my religion says it’s blasphemy
to fix on film the radiant face of God. The same day
a scarlet tanager appears for one brief visit, outshining
the sun and the fierce beauty of blue jays and cardinals.
Then a summer tanager, with first year parrot-like reds,
oranges, olive greens and yellows. And eastern orioles
arrive, like Job’s messengers in reverse, bringing news
of blessings, riches restored, families united. The hand of God
reaches deep behind the cushions of His couch to bring us coins.

We fasten orange halves to the deck to lure these shimmering
visitants. Meanwhile, our regulars become angels: rose breasted
grosbeak with its bib, woodpeckers downy, hairy, and red bellied,
the ruby throated hummingbird this year more and brighter red,
the green back iridescent, the dartings random as grace. Even
the stupid mourning doves in all their clumsy dignity cull
the spectrum for hues to pay homage on this sacramental day.

It may be that third cup of coffee or the early flowers at last arriving.
None of this matters. Is this God or only like God? Does the Holy Spirit
flash and move on just outside my window, or does my caffeine jag
create a Ghost of serotonin? Paraclete or parakeet?

People who believe in God think I don’t understand,
and they are right, for who can fathom the appearance

of an indigo bunting one Sunday morning?

1 comment:

  1. I like the last poem, "Visitants", especially the last line. The poem flows like an artist's brush splattering vivid colors of paint on a blank canvas! Angie

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