Cobbled Country Lane [fiction]

Sarah sits on a cobbled country lane just off the highway to Buffalo, New York, where summer’s sunlight bathes her between the leafy trees. A light breeze moves across her before skimming to the lake while she waits for any passerby, any good person to stir her mind reflecting what is, what to do—be lost in daydreams or genuine thought, or talk to herself with emotional vapor till the sun goes down and comfort leaves the land.

A vulture dips past the barbed wire of a pasture and ripples tensely into flight above the willows browsing in the grass where someone’s heifer cries out, startled, calling for its mother atop the knoll where she munches on little green apples. Sarah waits for any passerby, any good person to look upon her face, to reckon her—to calm her eyes from last night’s dreams, to hold her close when she sleeps, when the sun goes down again and comfort leaves the land.

A pickup truck rattles past but no one sees her cross-legged where she sits with bruising stones on a country lane, where summer’s sunlight bathes her between the leafy trees and moves across her, descending to awaiting ghosts. She just waits for any passerby to tell her that her heart isn’t filled with snow or ice; to show her there is a cure for sorrow, there is meaning to life’s poisoned immortelles where the sun goes down and around and down again, and comfort leaves the land forever.

Burning [poetry]

Remember the drought, dry grasses and winds?
Our wildfire moon was red
—everything else was black char, ash-fog, so thick we couldn’t breathe
There seemed no escape but death

Fire blocked our roads
Stay-put-and-find-shelter fireman filled our minds with dread
Our very souls grew heavy with smoke

If we were to die by fire, we prayed it would take us quickly
We didn’t want to end up news stories on someone’s flickering TV
—coverage all night
—news bites all morning
Or on the cover of LIFE atop a coffee table across the globe
Where we imagined there was rain
Where there were no fires
Where we could press our blistered bodies against rain-soaked houses
And feel alive again.

Watching Foxes [poetry]

I am watching,
alive the foxes watching me
after the grass is cut.
Seldom barking
but always watching,
watching me.
Faces sharp,
red coal eyes,
gold afire on the stubble on the hillock,
watching,
waiting,
bright fur hostile,
prowling now for the waning hour shadows creeping,
slipping inside wire pens that coop our hens.

I am watching,
alert the foxes watching me
along the edge of night.