Poems & Prose

How Many Signs of Spring are Found on a May Day?

A mammoth ant appears from nowhere,
marches across the white counter

to commandeer my crumbs

I swipe him away; he hits the floor,

takes his mission elsewhere

 

The sweet scent of viburnum rolls around the corner
on a gentle breeze, drifts into the kitchen,
thick and spicy, compelling
I drop my lunch and track the scent,

like a teenaged girl following a musky scented male
down a crowded school hallway

 

Outside I grow saddened by the daffodils
as they fade and nod,
worn out and resigned, like former beauty queens
forced to hand over the reigning garden crown
to the statuesque perfumed lilacs

 

Lilies of the Valley push hither and yon;

the circle so carefully planted last year
resembles now a hastily scattered display

as greenlings, prepare to unfurl

share their sweet scented tiny white bell clusters

 

The placid pond reflects a lime blush from eager trees
and with the May sky’s bright blue face,  
creates a blue and green liquid tapestry.

 

A pair of geese repose statue-like and unawares
under a Japanese maple
resembling a placid old couple
bench sitting in a park

 

I crank open windows
stretching and breaking
accumulated winter cobwebs.

Chimes tickle the air 
Birdsong trills from the trees

How many signs of spring on a May day?

I am a Wounded Bird

still flying

with sturdy new parts

irritable old parts

aches and pains

pride and shame

beneath tarnished feathers

 

I am a wounded bird

still flying

Eager to overcome

willing to compromise

Fearful of landing

hopeful for adventure

grateful for choices

 

I am a wounded bird

still flying

Searching for sparkle

simple joys
peace of mind

bright colors to tint

the last miles of my journey

unaccompanied                    

one chews on details
the pointy church steeple

leaning against a sapphire sky
a woman quietly unlocks,
then walks into the old church

 

locust blossoms, white fluffy detritus

flutter through the air
their fragrance lingers

like the swift whiff

of a young woman’s hair

 

scarred slats of a worn wooden bench

deny their promise of comfort

a skinny elder man in black jeans
steps carefully, 
avoiding weight on his right foot

 

A pregnancy test box lies opened,

tossed next to the railroad tracks
a parked car, smudged and forlorn,

filled to bursting with piles of

black trash bags in the back seat
 

unaccompanied, one snaps photos

of the backs of people 
of the backs of buildings,

outlined against a polished May sky,

the worn underbelly of the city street
like the warped slats,

the gritty railroad tracks

the lonely old car.

Margaret of the face so smooth

Her grace displayed in every move

Of stylish calm she is observed

Her modulated voice is heard

Her step of sure and steady foot

With one before the other put

Walks gracefully thru the hall of years

Her bright blue eyes belying fears.     

 

written for my sister Margaret in 2011.
She passed in 2018; gone but never forgotten. RIP     
                              

Vicious

Mid November and the sudden cold snap

bites me in the ass like a vicious dog

My crooked finger wails with pain

I curse those autumn lovers who

Knew this was coming

And nonetheless

hailed the harbinger

the brown, the orange, the gold,

the dead leaves of autumn

Autumn Drops its Veil

The house next door comes into view
from the upstairs bathroom window,
November, and the green lush curtain of summer is suddenly swept aside
In its place, leaves, yellow, rust, and brown
twirl and rush to betray my privacy

 

Long antennaed brown seed bugs,
mistaken for brown marmorated stink bugs
invade the house,
landing on walls and drapes
high up, always high up
they cling to their slow life but
ready for that lethal blow,
the strong scent released at death
fighting, they cling tenaciously to fabric
their last valiant effort

Autumn drops its veil upon us.
Wet brownness all around
Sweaters must appear
scarves must protect
farewell bare feet.

Winter Haiku

Soft powdery snow

sugar coating covers deck

chairs idling till spring

MRI

 

Knock knock

Tap tap

depraved PA system

Machine gun spraying bullets,
trigger stuck on

jackhammer drilling 

sandblasting, bridge repair

                     

Quiet

 

Knock knock

Tap tap
depraved PA system

Machine gun spraying bullets

Incessant jabbing din

Loud barking dog

 

Cold

 

Lamb’s wool covered mufflers  

How many ears have been muffled?    Rubber squeeze gadget in hand,

like an oversized ear syringe

“squeeze this if there’s a problem,
I’ll come and get you out

 

Knock knock 
Tap tap

A place-holder dot

on my pelvic bone,
injected by a doctor
with a tan face and large needle 

his shoes clicked on the cold floor                                                            Cold

 

What kind of shoes were they?

I didn’t see them

my toes are taped together

my tongue feels tied

unable to mouth an irrelevant question

what kind of shoes was he wearing?                   

October Moves

Image ©2018 kathleen suess

Mid October sees windows

snap their mouths shut

against the chill air

Bird chatter is hushed in a

church like whisper

Wind chimes,

like admonished children,

are seen but not heard

Socks urgently rush 

duty bound, from drawers

plates clatter with cold from the cabinets

the oatmeal box marches confidently

to the forefront

 

Without struggle

the house adapts this quietude

then quickly switches

to the clatter of logs

dropping to the basement floor

furnace rocks and rumbles

The dehumidifier nods to duty well done

Until next year

Haiku: Hopeful Songs of Spring

when will the green come?                          

to sooth winter weary eyes                              lone robin waits patiently 

 

morning nods its song                                    

lime green spreads slowly across               

maples, oaks, birches.                                    

laughing lemon drops                                    

spreading across green landscape 

dandelions tease 
(published in Chronogram, May 2019)                                            

Ohayo Mountain Road                                   forsythia bedazzles                                        winding yellow curves       

                     

Black Beauties

published in "Poetry Leaves" exhibition and book at the Waterford Library in Michigan. May 2019

Starlings amass
in hundreds to circle the building

we watch from the second-floor office

of many windows

feeling safe behind the glass

yet trapped with a titillating fear
of what

we don’t know

turbulence perhaps

or the power of the graceful spectacle                   

They swoop down swiftly 

transforming
parched browned winter grass

into a dense shimmer of ebony,

a black crowd throbbing with intent        

 

Abruptly, they rise in unison,

soaring at a vertiginous slant

to a shadowy sky

scarcely a flapping wing visible

to the discerning eye;

a fluid, inky black motion of resolve        

 

One’s stomach rises with them

such is the dizzying feeling

they create with their flash-mob ballet

a splendid spectacle
like a thousand debutantes’ black gloves

tossed to the ground

to attract attention

then rapidly reversing their focus

rising, rising

flying magically away

Soft Sliver of Time

Somnambulating in the soft sliver of time,

mushy, cushioned niche lulls

before full wakefulness

before physical or emotional discomfort or
life’s burdens threaten with

piercing fingers.

 

Somnambulating before awareness of age

or chapter in life

slaps like ice water

before frustrations
or fiascos strut into view

before deadlines, or lack of deadlines.

 

Somnambulating before cognition
of loss or grief

grips tightly in sore awareness

before a niggling hint of annoyance

chips at a perceived

or insignificant hurt                                         

Somnambulating in the soft sliver of time

the fleeting split-second ledge

of comfort and equanimity

Resting within the delicate fissure

twixt sleep and wakefulness

Holding tight to a brief and flawless reverie

My Wooded Path

...resembles a game board of

child’s pick up stix

littered by deliberate winds

Past the felled whiteness of the old stately birch

I hear the roar of

 

Spring’s rejuvenated stream

running like a wild child

raucously tickling the ear

creating mini waterfalls

chortling happily over rock steps

 

Froth builds like washday around

matted piles of brown leaves

snags stick stubs

trickles down atop

pale lettuce-stamped rocks

 

Morning is sanctified in this

sheltered arena of woods

Rain blackened trees eagerly await

the imminent kiss of morning sun

Brown carpet complements

the mossy green smattering of feathered firs

Herein lies the altar to pray

Two Hawks

Two hawks and a great widespread owl in my dream

a large, nubby red wool sweater lies in the woods

Is it a sweater installation I asked the brothers?

 

"Over educated is the new black" my pencil states

as it whines thru the sharpener

Rice Krispies stick to fuchsia sox

My egg is a pathetic substitute for a Churchill egg,

it's pale frightened yolk with runny white

scampers to the edges of the black skillet.

 

Hibiscus and geraniums, plump and bulky,

coral and Pepto-Bismol pink,

protest loudly in in the living room

Take me back outside!

 

Pain reminds me of who I am these days

my right arm captive and useless

observes the left fingers tapping the keys

letter by painstaking letter.

Radio drones

Washing machine hums

Coffee soothes.

Winter Poem 

published Chronogram, Feb. 2018

I am the Duchess of layering,
a wizardess of wool.
embracing winter with gusto

Though I long for mittens to type
I tire quickly of the moaning
the whining and the gripe

Bring it on! I say
Though even nighttime tunneling
cannot prevent cold hair
I will not lean to despair

All poetry and prose by KFernSuess

© 2019 

All images ©1998-2019 kathleen suess