Sitting in bed half-dressed,
looking out a polygon of windows
at green, light and dark
oval leaves with pointed tips,
endless, endless rain,
news of mudslides, news of floods
in my thoughts
(but with this headache,
thinking kind of hurts.)
Wind chimes on the porch
sound far away,
flowing water everywhere.
perched on a wire
under the roof of
the triangle porch
two little green birds
safe enough for now
but hunger will bring
them close to the ground
where cats are hunting
the creek swollen with rain,
the clock ticking.
I knew that evil grading job
would cause some problems for the road.
After weeks of heavy rain
a slump took a bite from the edge.
Instead of being twelve feet wide
with a one-in-five slope at the edge,
the road was only eight feet wide
with crumbling rim and four foot drop.
I was driving Rusty to school
Wednesday morning and went whoops!
over the edge and clunk!
onto the mud at the bottom.
The car door was really heavy,
pushing up and climbling out.
I stood on the side of the car,
lifted Rusty to the road,
and crawled up over the muddy rim,
walked back to the house to get
comealong, cable, jacks, and chainsaw.
Sorry, no school for you today.
For me, slicing a big log
into wooden cookies, putting two jacks
between these and the tire rims,
a cable stretched across the road.
Jack the car, tighten the cable,
over and over for ten hours.
One side was on the road, the other
perched on a stack of log rounds.
Crank it sideways, clickety click,
back onto the road, start it up,
drive to a parking place,
and now I’m totally wasted.
Every year, spring vacation
means another science project due.
This year Rusty found the bones
of our old dog, Blacky,
in the leaves next to a log,
and wants to mount the skeleton
like the dire wolves of La Brea.
Putting bones back together
and making then stand up
requires parental help
and much parental frustration.
Halfway through my life
or maybe farther,
I sometimes worry that
I haven’t accomplished much.
I’m too tired, or it is lazy,
to be ambitious now.
A few lines rough-draft poem
is enough for these thoughts.
Better to think of something else.
My nine-year-old son, Rusty,
paces the living room to tell me
it’s time to cook the oatmeal.
A slight breeze in the huckleberry bushes
eases the summer heat.
A few berries are ripe but not many.
Mosquitoes fill the breeze pauses.
The forest is green but very dry.
Rusty’s eating huckleberries.
I’m not sure why I’m here,
in these bushes up an old logging road.
He said he wanted company.
On days like this, staying inside
feels more comfortable, and nature books
seem more interesting than real trees.
That’s why I brought my notebook,
to find poetry in the wind-rustled leaves
or wherever it may be.
copyright © 2005 Carl Miller