NaNo(inPo)WriMo #14 Argiope aurantia

14. Argiope aurantia

Over the pile of ripened manure
in the weeds at the end of eternal rows
of big-as-dinner-plates red
tomatoes the garden spiders spun
themselves dizzy wrapping flies.

Huge, they were, huge enough to name
and fear. Huge enough to test
with ever-larger bugs thrown into

their zippered webs. Though there were
flies enough for a thousand spiders our
tributes were never rejected, spun into silky
shrouds as we watched, envy and horror
and sweat trickling down our spines
in the vegetable garden beside the pony
lot under the bonfire of the summer
sky.

Bigger than our hands. 108898437.KMr6yugE

Big enough to absorb the bounty
of the summer of the seventeen year
cicadas, webs sagging with the riches
of the harvest. Big enough, when met face on

not to scurry but to quake
in place, vibrating the web and weeds
bound in it, preparing, we knew, to
launch for our eyes. Flinging the sacrifice
of the seven grasshoppers into the web
we fled and fell panting assuring ourselves
the gift had been enough to redeem sticks
poked stupidly when we were young.

One dew morning captured crickets in hand I stared
hard at one empress in her just-woven glory. Staring
back from her back was a sharp-edge’d skull. I fed
her the full nest of pink mice I’d found for myself
though, grieving, knew there was no enough to keep
the death she bore

from boring into me.

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NaNo(inPo)WriMo #13 Petrified

13. Petrified

The dr. says my stones are new and spreading
fast, scattering wide as pebbles driven from a boulder
smashed to smithereens.

Cancer cells, she says, a terrible miracle of life
unstoppable, consuming other life to feed its own.

As all life lives from other lives. A certain comfort lies

in knowing this is no tragic accident, no judgment from
a vengeful god, just life getting on with the business
of dying. A comfort certainly not

for me for my stones for my bones for there is no
living here, no marrow rich in blood to suckle, for my bones
turned to stone eight dogs’ lives ago

when the price of suddenly seeming unlikely to keep
a secret was my hound dog’s life his body

still warm swinging from our favorite climbing tree
on the path up the hill from school.

She’s sure of cancer but tests can lie.
These stones, the final breaking apart of bones
long petrified.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #12 Lay me down in the tall grass

12. Lay me down in the tall grass

Chores and school took plenty of hours and yet
there were always more hours and more and more,
the gate through the pasture being a magical door
through which clocks could not follow. A whetted

pocket knife, Army canteen, and pack
of Archways and a day went on forever.
Wearing a wristwatch, I swear, severs
us from the world. In the woods out back

I was knight and dragon, jockey and horse, dream-
body, gravity-spurner, wingspanner,
fire-breather, panther, sword-dancer,
always the village saved, the hostage redeemed.

In the wide meadows, wolves, in the hedgerows, giants,
in the timber wild boars and bears. Though held
captive at school in the woods I could rebel.
Hiding in the wheat I was striped, and defiant.

A lullaby for when we struggle to keep on believing in our ability to meet violence an unstoppable will to change

Rain Night
Cindy Kallet

If I stood out in the rain night
My only light a candle, a million miles away
Would you lay down your fire as I raised mine
Would you not kill again

chorus Oh, when you’re near me
Oh, my love, oh, my joy
There’s nothing ever to weary me
Oh, my darling one

If I walked as one of many more
My only time the present, now and here
Would you undo those bombs, one
One for each step taken
And let a future draw near

If I took no food on this one day
My only life this water, a life or more away
Would one child more than live, no cries of hunger, no cries
Would she not starve again

If I stood out in the rain night
My only light this candle, a million miles away
Would you lay down your fire as I raised mine
Would you never kill again

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #10 Thrall

10. Thrall

Termite           the cat that used
a bull for games           Termite
was her name.

Every Sunday she had oysters for dinner.
Every morning she had cream.

She went out enthralled in pleasure           who on a farm
gets to do that?

Termite the cat, terror of children
and terriers alike, hunter of hound dogs,
stalker of shepherds, marauder of all
of Shakerag’s mutts.

Her kittens, conceived in plain sight on the porch,
popped out placenta covered on this seat. No one
drove the trucks for two weeks

until she drug them to the hayloft to begin
to learn to hunt.

Wild spitting devils those kittens, farmed
out to other barns, never once in their lives forced

to trade false affection for food.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #9 A Short Treatise on Pickup Trucks in American Culture

9 A Short Treatise on Pickup Trucks in American Culture

A pickup truck means you are a person with something that needs doing, something big that needs doing, something that needs hauling from one place to another, that needs loading and unloading, that needs to public and proud in the open bed.

A pickup truck means you are a person who is not too proud or too showy, a pickup truck gives you something to endlessly show off how much it can haul what kind of new spark plugs gives you amazing power to pull what kind of tires what kind of toolbox what you’ve done this week to the carburetor how you’ve tuned to have just a little more roar than is absolutely necessary.

A pickup truck is manly, is masculine, is butch, construction butch farm butch owner of store of heavy stuff butch, is proof you can do what needs doing.

A pickup truck is practical because every real job has stuff to haul.

While the car replaced the carriage horse, the pickup truck replaced the wagon hitched to two massive Belgians.

Pickup trucks come in two varieties: the show-off model and the working model. Many farms may have one or more of each.

The amount of rust on a pickup truck is in direct proportion to how it is has served its purpose.

Pickup trucks have hauled people and animals fleeing danger. Pickup trucks have hauled Black men to lynchings. Pickup trucks have moved hunters to the woods and animals home to eat. Pickup trucks have hauled new appliances home and hauled stolen goods away. The purpose of a pickup truck is to haul. To what use people put that purpose cannot be blamed on the truck.

A pickup truck is all about class. Is the Clampetts. Is Ma and Pa Kettle and Poppa Walton and Okies and Good Ole Boys.

Pickup trucks, when driven by white men, do seem oft to sport a confederate flag decal or four.

The bench seats of pickup trucks have been the holy lair of teenage sex since the pickup truck was invented. One can say of a pickup truck that it is has been in a family for three generations. One can say of three generations of a family that they have been in a pickup truck.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo #8 Bestly

8. Bestly

I got married.
I had kids.
I was who I was
supposed to be

except those two times those
hunting trips up through Iowa
to North Dakota

ring-neck pheasants flushed faster
than you could shoot them

being who I was supposed to be, best
friends on a journey best friends who kept
the best secret bestly

that was the second time          the first time I went
was a birthday trip with my beloved uncle

who taught me what I was supposed to be
and told who I was supposed to be and those two things
though opposite

were also true

were the first stones in my bones, the ones too calcified
for chemo to cure                stone seeds, seeds of stone

never allowed to split and shoot           never to know light
or water or the crisp chill of Dakota day

NaNo(inPo)WriMo # 7 A Powerful Pulsing

7. A Powerful Pulsing

When I was conceived this truck
idled smooth           smooth as Dad’s hair
slicked back                a finely tuned
smooth         a deliberate practiced
smooth

this is the story of how we begin to remember

but the truck I knew ran rough

these are roots of rhythm

rough like driving over cattle gates
rough like pedaling my bike over frosted
tractor tracks
rough like the palsied shaking
of the old farmers’ hands, lined up
in their wheelchairs along the long
hall of the county nursing home

and the roots of rhythm remain

NaNo(inPo)WriMo # 6 Charms

6 Charms

Sticks and stones may break my bones
but certain words will kill me
words that name the stones lining up
in my bones lucky stones lucky stones lucky
bones til their luck ran
out.

Lucky stones lucky socks lucky pennies lucky
rabbit’s foot on a little chain not so lucky
for the rabbit we’d say, the charm
that gave the luck to us.

It wasn’t words that killed those rabbits
but what did? What factory slaughtered
rabbits and for what reason and where and who
decided to dye the feet bright pink or green
or blue?

Sure, one family I knew raised rabbits
for slaughter. Sure, we hunted rabbits to
skin and fry up and eat

but neither of those produced the hundreds
of thousands of feet in boxes on shelves
in Dime stores and Drug stores or in ads on the back
pages of comic books.

Sticks and stones didn’t break their bones.

Where were they when their luck ran out?