Poems

© Cheryl Grey Bostrom

SHEDDING

Ah, you’re here.

Hang your age on the hook by the door,

those pilled, worn decades too heavy for

warm weather like this.

Pull the stitches on your hem,

empty out the leaden years, sewn inside,

documents of your flight,

now past.

Here, I’ll help.

Fold all your rememberings.

Put them on the shelf above and

come outside,

come outside.

Bring no age, no garments at all.

We’ll lie on warm moss and

rub our backs on the bark of trees

until sorrows loosen and

dried treacheries rub away in flakes.

We’ll butter ourselves with Yes

until our scrubbed new skin shows

life’s holy texture.

We’ll hunt berries until

God’s breath mingles with our saliva and

we chew and swallow

ripe gulps of hope.

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PACKING

So, tree.

Does summer know you’re leaving?

De-leafing?

Leaving leaves to senescence?

You’ve shuttered your

first zones, I see.

Closed some taps.

I know your obedience.

your death to self.

Soon, she will too.

Those wrenching tears,

that hard abscission.

First ride blows into town and

you’ll send them packing.

.

.

*******

BARBER

I lie on your floor, Barber,

chin down, eye-level with

all your trimmings

so I can

crunch them in my fingers

before your gales sweep.

I know your tools:

auxin, ethylene,

the Word.

Can almost hear the

snip of abscission

before a petiole’s

brief penumbra

floats by,

while you shave your

shaggy ones down

to bones that

will carry them through

dark and cold until

spring when

you warm them,

and me,

to green again,

beloved.

Fall leaves piled on ground
heart-shaped autumn leaf
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As leaves fall, tree's bones show

.

SMOKY TIMES

Caw, cawing. Raucous,

a murder of crowers, flap

on air of blame, on waves of . . . of

cacophony, caw cough phony.

Not one unflappable.

Invite them inside, will you?

Where it’s warm?

Offer suet, seed, a talon trim.

Might take awhile, for

when have they known

a place like this,

with no door on the cage?

*******

CHANCE OF RAIN—A Sonnet

Just grin at me, and I’ll bask, sunning,

Slow tanning in your smile’s embrace.

Soft whistle me, and I’ll come, running,

Eager, wanting you to trace

My skin with fingers warm from morning,

My mind with tales of us again.

We’ll roll in May’s advance, adoring

With banished thunder, canceled rain.

But storm on me, and I will burrow;

Drench me cold and I will chill.

Shrivel me with glare and furrowed

Brow and I will wrinkle, ill.

So choose, my sweet, the atmosphere

Of anger’s squall or love’s skies, clear.

*******

SLEDS: WHAT TO DO WITH YESTERDAY

You, child, first came to me

sledding on water

from the hill of my belly,

the water in your blood

drawn through me from

a well in the field.

So when snow came,

born of water,

I wondered if

you had flown home

to say hello.

Then the flurry of you

took shape and

your fresh powder skin

covered yesterday.

I retrieved your storeroom sled

and lay downhill,

occiput anterior,

racing the slick track until

at the bottom,

at rest,

I pressed my cheek against

your lovely heart,

as close to you

and as happy

as I could

possibly be.

Sled run

Bird print in snow.

“. . . I have you in my heart . . .” —Philippians 1:7

*******

TEETH

My dog slows near the fir as

wings jut from her muzzle.

I catch her collar before she

dodges and

pry her jaws to

reach the fledgling inside:

a swallow,

new to flight

from his nest of

grass and feathers,

where he’d fed on

ballooning spiders and

flies and such and

had grown from egg to launch

in thirteen April days.

Now he lies in my palm,

his creamy breast

wet with saliva

and blood,

one minute after

his first bold swoop

too close to the ground, where a

black dog snapped

him from the air.

Will I let the dog finish,

gulp her morsel?

His young wings dangle,

beak unhinged as if to call,

eyes wide as if

astonished

that he could die.

Gordon Setter running
Gordon Setter panting

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PURPOSE

If blades of timothy and rye
Were made of flesh and bone,
And orchard grass and clover green
Were my own form, full grown,

Would I dare cheer the mower sharp
As round the field it came
To drop me groundward at my knees,
My willfulness to tame?

And would I welcome ted and rake
To cure me in the heat,
Before the baler packed me tight
And bound me, winter’s feed?

Or would I resist sacrifice,
Ignore the hungry, poor,
To wave in autumn’s windy chill,
Then shrink to soil’s store?