Sunday, May 11, 2008


- or "the bearing of young that are incompletely developed." Webster's New World Dictionary, 1957.

In late spring, ponds are full
of broken broom-handles
& sodden wrapping-paper tubes, none of us
believing in lurid shoots or rootstalk’s
floury sustenance or even babies
that get up hours after birth.
But out in the pasture, afterbirth cures
like sausage between the bison’s legs
as her kinked calf hobbles over ruts
& wallows. Footsore, bored,
you spin so you can fall
& you spin so you can see me again
& again & you spin to spin
& fall, laurelled with sere grasses
and attention.

When the calf is eight months old
its headbutts to its dam’s udder
will almost unseat her
the bison will be almost as bruised
as when she presented the prairie
with her bloom open
& raw.


In late spring, ponds fill
with lusty frog-song & shorebirds shriek
sleek counterpoint at flashes of leg
at the eyeless lids of opening leaves
& the sound washes over me
as though through skin.
The pond offers marbled sheets of algae
& water weed, silence
& din & I want to stay. But you
believe in me even through a screen
of willow, its branches buckshotted with galls
& even that cancer
shows shoots:



Out in the pasture, the bison is delivered
from the sway of her pregnant sisters
& stands apart. The calf, sensitive
to haunch & hip, to fillips of movement
jumps as the tractor works the other half
of their range, as I give up
& cart you off.

* * *

This was my second May Day poem and I was so heady after writing it that I intended to write/post the next day. But then my column was due. And then I had to read through the entries for the Writers' Collective youth fiction contest that I'm judging (I know, I know: fiction?). And then it was/is mother's day.

So here I am, several days later, with no poem written/posted. Bad poet!

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