From the Beehive Chambers of the Heart
In the flat-line horizon,
a daffodil opens its mouth,
surprised by my presence,
hearing my feet
before I arrive —
the different emphasis
my shoes make
depending on how I feel.
During early spring,
tatters of snow
in melt cycle scatter
in that boundary between land
and where night is wedged
like an invisible fulcrum.
Hours wander into place.
Light finds the porous leaves.
Birds glide, liquid in air.
This occurs regardless if I watch.
It is all swoop-breath.
I could be nearby,
and eventually, a red-wing blackbird
might alight on a branch like a music note
or like a period ending a sentence.
It is difficult to avoid
or ignore the surprising lack of colour
taking flight. Sadness falls cold,
glazing roads into chalky-white.
Quickly, we burrow like rabbits,
not wanting to emerge until winter ends.
How sad, the catbird’s cry lofting
in the wind with emerging chill
settling in by inches. Geese pulse,
releasing soft disappearances.
Every plant once whole, dwindles.
The last vestiges glance back.
How slow, the arrival of winter.
I head in before porch lights switch off,
and stars demand total silence,
Impending darkness storms in towards me.
I close the door to the hovering stars,
not ready to ascend stairs, not ready
to acknowledge another day
became devoured. Should I go back out
to see the great flourish of snow?
There won’t be a hidden motif
behind the glazed winter noon sun,
no secrets we can’t see with our naked eyes.
I see you in the morning —
my heart is five hundred treefrogs,
each trying to be louder than the others —
it is foolish to question
the rhythms of life — life bursting
everywhere emphatically —
its conduit of love —
its electrical impulse
through my nerve endings, endlessly
chanting — charting love’s course,
like a boat of song,
my life catching a breeze taking me
because love is this unsettling, this
settling — anchored with yearning.
My life is also dew-burn off —
there’s no asking what will happen next —
or after. Only curiosity remains —
if curiosity is the right word —
only evident by intention to witness
and celebrate. Can I surrender any
more to joy, to beauty, to weight of yearning?
Why the Cicadas are Noisy
My sister hears whirring voices
in a claustrophobic room, whispering about her.
Cicadas appear in thirteen-year cycles, loud
rapid buckling and unbuckling noises like tymbals.
Yet, my sister could care less about their music.
The world collapses around her head,
the buzz saw of people yacking and clacking,
rusty and nail-bitingly annoying.
Cicada dwell inside of trees, living off sap,
laying their eggs inside slits between tree bark
with tiny internal messages on when to come alive.
My sister asks what’s the purpose of living?
Hesitation marks on your wrist mark off attempts,
trails no one can follow to rescue her.
Cicadas wait for Emergence.
Her husband has hidden the knives.
Cicadas emerge at different times to fool any predator.
The therapist never sees the times my sister appears distressed,
flung out of control, her only ease whole bottles of pills.
Her husband has hidden them where she can’t find them,
then she discovers another method, more sneaky
than cicada cycles, confusing their predators.
The Greeks and Chinese believed cicadas were immortal.
Although my sister is not immortal,
she can try to live another day.
Just in case, her husband has hidden the knives.
After a short spell of rain,
sparrows fool around,
unabashedly in love,
and the sun exited her house of clouds.
A day like this can hit us
right in the solar plexus —
to make us gasp, heart in hand.
We can heal, exhilarate like sparrows,
create new love-chasing songs.
Let reality sink in some other day.
The sun is in a travois pulled by dogs.
We can shamble throughout this day.
Martin Willitts Jr, edits for the Comstock Review, judges the New York State Fair Poetry Contest. He was nominated for 15 Pushcart and 13 Best of the Net awards. Winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, 2015, Editor’s Choice; Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, Artist’s Choice, 2016, Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize, 2018; Editor’s Choice, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, 2020. He has 25 chapbooks including the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 21 full-length collections including the Blue Light Award 2019, “The Temporary World.”