This journey I am calling quadrupedal
Since over three days it will have four legs,
This scruffy dog I am renaming Wheedle,
For kisses he delivers while he begs.
That dachshund is a desk upon whose back
A halting sonnet I seek to contrive.
The Goodyear grounded under skies of black:
A Giant tethered by the 405.
Of course, sometimes a pithy name reflects
Times that truth fled into cerebral swirls,
So when I saw planes land at LAX,
My brain supplied the phrase “a string of pearls.”
And on such nights I might say poetry
Is saying what the altered mind can see.
The final word of my initial draft
Cuts like a fiery sword into my brain,
And in my frenzy I shall seize the haft-
For editing I’ll need it’s blade again!
For even as I celebrate the end
Of that most painful process of producing
Fictional fabric which sharp eyes will rend
Into which criticisms I’ll be loosing.
Such skirmishes do not result in wounds
Excepting those that land upon my pride.
But to my faults I am kindly attuned,
Particularly when my brain is fried.
I’ll let my story sing me off to sleep,
Regardless of how much of it I keep.
O tree whose bounteous blossoms glow between
Silver-white brightness of overcast sky,
The sidewalk gray, and foliage of green;
Your vibrancy cannot but draw the eye
In neon violet marching up the hill
Flanking the street, perfectly parallel;
Prolific panicles that gently spill
Scalloped corollas in a silent knell.
These brief, abundant weeks will end too soon,
As fallen flowers wither and turn brown.
How foolish to ignore resplendence strewn
About you when you fail to look around.
It’s easy to take gorgeousness for granted
Wherever jacarandas have been planted.
It’s been too long since I have written fiction.
Though sonnets with my talent set align,
I can’t deny my potent predilection
For telling tales of more than fourteen lines.
And so I wrestled with a piece of writing
That previously had given me some trouble,
Whose characters just wanted to keep fighting,
And so my prior efforts I redoubled.
I let myself explore the foolish fancy
Of giving the first scenes a good rewrite.
Though unfamiliar genres can be chancy,
A part of me just knew that it was right.
The fictional inertia has been routed-
But then I had to write a poem about it.
Three years ago, a group of friends amassed
To watch the final Potter film together.
That silliness felt jarring in contrast
To the fell fate befalling their bellwether.
There’s not really a satisfying answer
As to why that vivacious Hufflepuff
Should have to battle terminal brain cancer;
Because, perhaps, she’s made of sternest stuff.
For laughing wild amid severest woe
Was what she called on all of us to do,
Inspiring us to rhymes most apropos
And many lusty readings did ensue.
And though I never got the chance to meet her,
I know that cancer never can defeat her.
Each couple has two origins: the one
They tell their families and then the version
Their friends retell, not just because it’s fun,
But also from their own tales it’s diversion.
That pair who met “at work” met in a bar;
In World of Warcraft is “we met online;”
“We’re high school sweethearts” means he played guitar;
Love at first sight? They both had too much wine.
It’s easy to dismiss the shorthand tales-
At worst they’re trite; at best they’re a cliché.
But when we find that similar travails
We’ve all endured, we may just reappraise.
And in due time, we find that we’re connected
By incidents and knowledge unexpected.
A grand dame, gems a-glitter at her throat,
Smiled down at my and husband’s hands entwined,
Remarking on how obviously we dote
Upon each other. Oh, how she maligned
Those lovers who ignored each others’ eyes
To stare at glowing screens throughout the meal,
And after eighty-seven years she prized
A life well spent enjoying what is real.
Her words and fragrance lingered in the air,
Approving warmth and Eau de Shalimar,
Leaving us flushed with pleasure, yet aware
Of shared perspective, even from afar.
While phones may give directions while we drive,
It’s sharing love that makes us feel alive.