I built a frame of apricot
wood. This was for you. The clouds float
through it even as I sleep. You wrote
once of wild herbs gathered and brought
to a lovely girl, an offering not
of passion but of some remote
desire to hear a word from the throat
of the Lord Within Clouds. I thought
of this as I chiseled the wood.
Last night it rained. I listened to
it from my bed by the open
window, hoping that the clouds would
not leave. This morning two birds flew
by. It is raining again.
Originally penned in the 1980s, “Apricot Wood,” is included in my 2015 chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform. It was first published in 1986, in SPSM&H, a publication devoted to sonnets, and was featured on Autumn Sky Poetry Daily in March 2015. It’s interesting to look at my writing from this period. Some pieces seem to have been written by a stranger, long ago and far, far away. This one somehow seems closer.
The dog is my shadow and I fear his loss. My loss. I cook for him daily, in hope of retaining him.
Each regret is a thread woven around the oak’s branches. Each day lived is one less to live.
Soon the rabbits will be safe, and the squirrels. As if they were not. One morning
I’ll greet an empty space and walk alone, toss the ball into the yard, where it will remain.
It is Mother’s Day. Why did I not weep at my mother’s grave?
I unravel the threads and place them around the dog. The wind carries them aloft.
“Mother’s Day” was published in The Lake in July 2016, and last appeared here in May 2020. It is included in my recently published chapbook, My Mother’s Ghost Scrubs the Floor at 2 a.m., available now from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.