Autumn Falls

In Vermont,
Autumn trees wear tweed scarves;
brilliant crimson, blazing orange,
with gilded gold tassles.
Hillsides are covered
in the bright fabric;
leaves lay folded in piles,
a bright quilt of color.

In California,
leaves curl yellow,
dry brown,
fall to the dirt,
crumple into dust.
The wind carries
the musty scent
of eucalyptus and sycamore.

Autumn always falls into winter;
sometimes a blaze of fire,
sometimes a faded felted blanket.

Prompts: Poets United Think Tank Thursday for signs of autumn; dVerse for symbolic use of seasons.


The Migraine

She parked her car,
thinking of cool water,
long smooth strokes
and gliding in the quiet.
She set her purse and briefcase
by the door,
at the edge of the carpet,
feeling the pressure
of a familiar migraine.
Squinting against the glare
of the flickering TV,
and wincing at the blaring sound,
she said, “the doctor suggested
exercise to diminish stress.
It would also increase my fitness.”
(which was nonexistent)
She was thinking about
warm sun on the deck
and on her skin.
“The pool near work
is open at noon.”
It would be a rare break
from the demands
of being breadwinner,
mother, wife.
He raised his tennis tanned face
from the recliner,
glanced her way,
and in a voice flat as mud
“Wouldn’t it be cheaper
to take a migraine pill?”
She turned away,
at the absence
of emotion.
She wasn’t a wife.
She was a financial

Prompts: Trifecta for use of the word absence as want or lack.  Also Poets United Vice Versa for the word pairs familiar/rare and diminish/increase

Recipe for Dressage

Defrost one horse
(preferably dark brown
with white spots scrambled
on his rump).
Add a rider
(long legged, green eyed).
Saute in a sandy arena, toss
with wind and weather:
freeze in February,
baste with April sunshine,
broil in July.
Mix canter with halfpass,
fold in harmony
and happiness.
Dust with music;

Prompt: Poets United Think Tank Thursday; write a poem about a recipe.

For Mrs. Zastrow

She stood in front of the class,
(Honors English, senior year),
Shoulder length hair
black and shining
like raven wings.

I received back my essay,
staring in silent disbelief
at her red ink covering my blue.
I gathered my books,
blinking back tears of rage;
hating her youth
her poise
her raven black hair.

I went to her classroom;
the harmonious years of easy As
replaced with the discord of a D.
I coughed and sputtered.
We sat.
She wrote.

I finished the year in triumph.
I practiced the power of The Preludes;
The picture painting power of words.
I did not fail,
I earned my proudest A.

At 49, she was gone,
leaving her sparkle,
her raven feathered life,

Prompts: Poetic Bloomings continued with its memoir series of prompts asking us to write about an influential person (other than family) in our life.  I also used the Vice Versa words for this week.

Red Willow Dreams

There is an ancient place
in New Mexico
where the native people
live in reddish-brown stacked pueblos.
A native girl
dressed in ordinary clothes
led our tour.  It was raining
and my fingers nearly froze.

She took us to Red Willow Creek
where she gathered water
in a bucket, as a child,
living with her grandmother.
We ducked through an earthen doorway
and found a wise woman, wrinkled
and silent, sitting by a fire made

from sticks gathered
in the sacred hills.
We stood by the church
ruins; rubble, rock
and wooden crosses
stacked high — for the women who fled
from the army; to the sanctuary (with their children);
Who were slaughtered, she said.

The true tales
of the Old West
are found in the upturned faces
of the women, singing sculptured sadness
from within their mica flecked
pottery robes.  They sing their story
to their children, and the small statue I bought –
she sings to me.

Our history is not glory
but sadness,
and also truimph.
The red willow village remains
and the people live today
beneath their sacred Blue Lake.
I bought dream Catchers there;
the real deal, not like those fake

ones you see, hanging on a rear-view mirror,
picked up at the Five and Dime.
Ours hang in our bedrooms, crafted
by the Taos, woven of ecru twine,
a rawhide handle,
beads of robin egg blue, purple and red;
and a spider web net
to catch bad dream thoughts full of dread.

Prompts: Poets United (content: Dream Catcher) and Poetic Bloomings (form: L’Arora).  The header picture for this blog is a picture my daughter took of her dream catcher.

The Leap

We were living
on a quiet, leafy street
across from a green grass gazeboed park.
There were pool parties and Bunko,
a backyard tree
with tawny blushed crispy sweet apples.

On a wet November day
we came upon an empty mountain meadow;
— for sale —
Debt doubt questioned the wisdom
of building our dream.
Surely it was nonsense
to believe we had the strength and ability
to raise a barn
and live within the seasons’
harsh discomfort.

Fear knotted in my stomach
while the dream beat
its wings
and flew
us up the mountain.

Prompts: Trifecta/Triextra on writing about someone taking a giant leap and Poets United Vice Versa words for the week (doubt/believe, wisdom/nonsense).



I cannot coldly observe
how you have her curled
on the floor, fetal
position, frozen, shaking
like a kitten in a cage.
I try to ignore the trivial
bait you set;
so subtle she can’t name
it for me.
Fight or flight fails her.
She is trapped;
you stack her thoughts
— the significant memories
on top of future fears
of failure, unfounded
and untrue.
She wimpers
Help me.

Prompts: Poetry Mixtape to personify a serious subject, Poetic Bloomings to write about something I don’t understand/can’t grasp, and Poets United Vice Versa.