Imagine a package with a packet of columbine seeds and bachelor buttons, a little Chinese envelope tied with delicious coral ribbon and containing a pair of cloisinne Chinese fan earrings, a drawing of the most vibrant butterflies rendered in the most magical of magic markers and flying against a yellow construction paper sky. Imagine a little handmade card that accordions out and contains the most incredible little drawings. Between that and my recent addiction to Alberta Hunter and my late-to-the-game discovery of the newly-late Abbey Lincoln, it has been a week of gifts.
Stone Seeking Warmth
Look, it's usually not a good idea
to think seriously about me.
I've been known to give others
a hard time. I've had wives and lovers—
trust that I know a little about trying
to remain whole while living
a divided life. I don't easily open up.
If you come to me, come to me
so warned. I am smooth and grayish.
It's possible my soul is made of schist.
But if you are not dissuaded by now,
well, my door is ajar. I don't care
if you're in collusion with the wind.
I wouldn't mind being diminished
one caress at a time. Come in,
there's nothing here but solitude
and me. I like to keep the house clean.
for John Wood
Believe in the bounty of drought,
of fire and locust. Count on
jackrabbit luck to grow your seed
and the tip of a dipper for rain.
If the man in the moon is late arising,
and your wife swells with your future,
she'll be craving clay and kneeling down
to eat that dirt from the root cellar.
But know your future will grow up
to leave you, to follow the magpie
with a song of honey and foil
from city neon alive in its eyes.
You stay to plow through days of sod and rock
and pray the rusty dray outlasts the harvest.
Let the wild oat drill into your hands
crooked from handles of shovels and hayforks.
Read your future in the cracks of this land,
in the bumble of tumbleweed and the stir of the hive.
Now listen for wind to shush your wheat asleep
and the scythe as it whispers its name to the sheaves.
Copyright © 2010 Allen Braden All rights reserved
from A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood