March Prompt #11: Is that Mt. Marcy?

IS THAT MT. MARCY?

March Prompt #11

 

. . . or Manford? Or Mohegan? I think it

starts with M. One of those old volcanoes,

or maybe a whatchamacallit like

in earth science. Block fault? Strip fault? Or wait—

folded up? Like something pushed it. Like a

layer cake. Anyway, it’s a mountain,

and a tall one by the looks of it, but

it’s hard to tell here, with all the mountains

everywhere and the hills leading up. Not

like at home where they just come up—POW!—out

of the flat. You can tell. You can see one

a long ways off and just look at it. For

miles. And it gets bigger the closer you

get. It doesn’t come and go like these, these—

what? Ozarks? Pocos? Andirons? One of

those, maybe, or Blue, or something like that.

March Prompt #10: The Chilean Skeleton

THE CHILEAN SKELETON

March Prompt #10

There was nothing to do but baptize it—

God forgive me—that tiny dead thing.

It was still warm, still damp with its mother’s

blood. They were afraid to wash it,

she said, afraid the water would kill it

before they could get it here, to save

its soul. The least they could do, they said.

She kept crossing herself, the grandmother

who brought it to the church. She kept

crying, afraid the girl had sinned, afraid

she herself had sinned. I did what I could.

I blessed her. I lighted candles for the girl.

I washed the little thing in clean water,

sealed it with the cross, wrapped it

in a linen cloth. I offered to bury it,

but the grandmother said they’d see to that.

It’s what women do, she said.

March Prompt #9: Definitely not a Robot

DEFINITELY NOT A ROBOT

March Prompt #9

Even though, now and then,

I click and whirr. Even though,

now and then, I need to shut down,

amnd recharge. My circuits

are not logical, not digital.

The nightingale, that organ

of delight. Peanut butter

for the dog. One thing does not

lead to another. If this, then

that, but only on Fridays.

This pimple in my nose

makes me want to sneeze.

How much stage direction

do I need to put in? And

margins. Good Friday next

week. Gotta burn those palms.

Storefronts. Street signs.

iRx7*v

March Prompt #8: Art Mangling

ART MANGLING

March Prompt #8

90% of everything is crap.

   ~Sturgeon’s Law

Crumpling works for poems and stories and manuscripts,

for drawings and lighter paintings, too, perhaps.

Crumpling and tossing, with a flourish, into the basket,

and missing sometimes, so that the floor

is dramatically, artistically strewn. Later,

one’s lover can retrieve a piece, smooth

it out and say, “Why, this is genius!”

and the rest is history.

 

Burning is excellent. Oh, the notebooks and canvases

crackling in flame while one cackles

and takes long swigs from a bottle of red wine!

Bonfires are best. Small fires on the edge

of the driveway arose the suspicions of neighbors.

Is there genius feeding the fire?

Who knows? Who cares?

One can always claim that, in after years.

March Prompt #7: The Chair that was First Owned by my Great-Great Uncle Asa

THE CHAIR THAT WAS FIRST OWNED BY MY GREAT-GREAT UNCLE ASA

March Prompt #7

He wasn’t actually my uncle. He was my cousin’s uncle, on the other side of her family, you see, but we called him uncle because of that chair. It was passed on to my cousin’s Great Aunt Martha (not my great-aunt, just hers) who was his second daughter-in-law, and she passed it on to her son Freddy, who of course was my cousin’s actual uncle. He was the youngest in that family. Johnny, the middle one, married a Brady girl, and we have, at least my husband has, connections to the Bradys since his sister-in-law’s first husband was a Brady, and her oldest daughter. She didn’t marry his brother till he died. My husband’s. brother. Anyway, Freddy—my cousin’s real Uncle Freddy but we all called him that, used to come to Thanksgiving at my Aunt Bet’s. She was my cousin’s mother, Dad’s sister. So he was my uncle’s brother by marriage. He was the oldest.  Never married. No one ever said why, but we have our suspicions. And one Thanksgiving, when he sat down at the table on that rickety old chair—you know how everybody has to haul out all the chairs at Thanksgiving if there’s a big crowd and there was always a big crowd at Aunt Bet’s since she and Dad were two of seven and Uncle John—not the John who married the Brady girl—that was Freddy’s brother—my uncle who was Aunt Bet’s husband had the same name—  was one of four and by then they all had kids, except Uncle Freddy, and she always took in strays besides. People, I mean, but she did take in some cats, too, but mostly they stayed up in the barn except that orange one that everybody called Blink because it was missing an eye. But he sat on that old chair and even though he was pretty skinny it broke under him. Bumped his head on the edge of the table on his way down. We all laughed, and so did he, but he was never the same after. Neither was the chair, so Uncle John threw the chair in the fire and Uncle Freddy had to sit on a stack of apple crates they hauled in from the shed.

March Prompts #6: Snufkin

SNUFKIN

 

People who stay and people

who go, or something like,

and one must decide, and

oh, I’ve stayed and stayed,

a Moomin behind the stove,

a Fillyjonk unwilling to open

the curtains to the light.

And there are things: tassels

and white seashells, my handbag,

the equipment I need to make

pancakes and poems, things a tent

could never hold. And yet, in Spring,

in Fall, when the geese are going

or coming, sometimes I wonder

why I am staying.

 

If you don’t know Tove Jansson’s Moomintrolls, it’s time you met them.