Monthly Archives: April 2013

Hymn of the Pussy Willow


In early spring, they swell into the promise. They dress for the brutality of these first days, determined harbingers of life. It’s time, they say. It is time to begin work on the blossom. What can you do when your own voice calls, but answer? Even if it means waking in the dark, and rising to practice existence when it’s inhospitable. It is a trudging victory, these early steps. The flowers wait beneath the snow, feeling smug and sensible.

But don’t you notice the danger of your luscious rush, think the pussy willows. You are lovely, yes, but so vulnerable. The world is full of those who want to clutch you in bunches, and be everything they cannot say. It is a heavy burden to speak the words of another; the lonely cold is not so bad.

They crack their shells and wiggle from their chinchilla husks. These buds, new buds, tell an ancient story, again. The current sentinels of their lineage, they sing their verse in a shudder that lasts for centuries. They etch their line in the circle that builds at once in every direction. A slow ripple that quietly chants, There was drought, and I existed. There was abundance, and I existed. If I am here, I will exist. Even flora, it seems, wants a memory.

It is a simple epic. A memoir of bearing witness to the unfolding of petals on a blossom.

Winter Tomatoes


What do you do with a winter tomato? Roast it with salt and pepper, oil, and good vinegar. Reduce and augment it, to turn it more into itself.  

I push my finger through the tender wall, and hollow out the cavities. Carefully slip my finger between the ribs, feeling for the seedy meat. Hook. Pull. Flick. Wet flesh in a surgeon’s tray. Jelly coddled seeds seep towards the drain. Humiliated by their exile, angry at their abortion. Suspended in the protection that bears them away, they glare we are the essence, how could you? 

In the heat of the oven, the shells sigh, yes, this is what I am. They relax their bodies, cell by cell, with each scorching breath.