Life in scents of mustard moments
tales of clamor close my eyes &
I squint to wish
for one eternal resounding hello—
I don’t know if the water
has heard my golden dollar.
the sun shines &
I don’t have to water the garden.
Summertime Afternoon in the Midwest
The sky is thick and dreamlike with clouds,
great battleships of cotton and luster
sailing to an endless azure tune—
on my back beneath the poplar tree
I listen to the steady whine of the horse fly.
Rain has come over the central plains in torrents,
heavy running along the window panes
heavy with oblong droplets pelting skin,
duck from backdoor to garage, to house again.
Three days of the stuff, and now—
A tiny buzz alerts me to a visitor.
Wind sore and curious, a yellow hover fly
lands on my forearm and chutes his long nose
to sniff at my skin. I raise my hand to usher him off,
with time enough his curiosity has earned him his place.
I watch as a blister beetle makes an attempt
up the poplar tree base; only to be thwarted
by gravity, swatted to the dirt floor.
Black carpenter ants weave loop-de-loops around her,
and I scoot my legs to the other side so as to avoid her toxin.
On my walk back along the brick sidewalk,
I see for rent, for sale, many houses—
most with yard signs hammered deep into the front lawn,
“We’re Glad You’re Our Neighbor” and “Love is Love”
and “Elect Marty Pile for Mayor”.
Cotton-tailed bunny rabbits dance the jig
and bounce their lives away from my stroll.
I even see a deer, tawny with white speckles
leap over a row of chain link backyard fences
with a twang! The sun stays high
until 9:30 p.m. these days; nights
so short and static,
I take two naps a day and still
I sleep like a child.
At heart my father
was a naturalist.
He took my trembling hand
and told it to catch garter snakes
to slither as I slept
from the bedside table
to drink as I clutched
my chest from thumping out
to eat as I gagged
hands empty of crickets
to doze as I coughed
I was too sick to live
to laugh as I shrieked
when I caught sight at night
to bathe as I spied
the scales ruffle in sunlight
to drink as I stared
while the great forked tongue twirled
to eat as I watched
frozen mice salsa dance
to sleep as I sketched
the suave pretzel folds
to slither away
as I waved goodbye
being no longer afraid
because I loved them enough.
Josie Rozell is a writer and a mixed-bag adventurer based in Hawai’i, who focuses on poetry broadcasting the human soul. She runs for days on end and hikes over mountains for weeks in order to meet people and tell their stories. Her next adventure is to cycle from Scotland to Singapore with a mandolin, asking for stories along the way. She is currently at work on her first collection of poetry, Articulated Soul, coming December 2020.