Lazy Bugs

The stars are reflected in the grass tonight,
as fireflies refuse to fly anymore. 
They lay about in the thick brush,
a flickering blanket answering the twinkle
from on high.

Do they act like this on long summer evenings?
How could they?
Kids would scoop them up by the million!
Jar them, squish them,
write their initials with glowing 
firefly goop on their arms. 
Boy kids chasing girl kids squealing
with glossy boogers of firefly goop.
No, they wouldn't lay about like this
in the summer. 

But now they seem tired, these flies.
These non-flies. These fire layabouts. 
It's September after all.
Dark at eight thirty,
kids busy with their homework,
staring at their screens.
It's safe to lay in the weeds,
done with the darting and flying
exerting minimum effort.

If a firefly's flicker is meant
To draw a mate,
these lazy bums should 
go home alone. 


© TDR - 2020

Late July

The heat even stifles the birds-

In no hurry to begin their morning chatter.

There are more nests than usual this year

But fewer eggs.

Fewer hopping fledglings. 

Maybe it’s the full moon gliding across the sky

Wearing Jupiter like a hat and filling the valley with

A gauzy glow.

I’ll have no problem seeing the deer if she trespasses 

Into the garden again. 

The rocks-chosen carefully for size and weight

Line the table beside the steaming coffee cup.

Best to drink it now, it will be too hot once the sun rises.

There was a time when a plundering doe would have left

Here on her last gallop spurting crimson where the arrow had pierced her.

Hard to remember such things with St. Francis smiling

Benignly in the moonshine under the grapes. 

But still, a solid rock to the ribs will serve as notice to 

Go and eat someone else’s tomatoes. 

They are tireless, though in their labors,

Building frantically as if a new nest, near the old one,

Will make their eggs viable. 

They couple and squawk and dive and scree, not understanding

Why none of it works anymore. 

Up on the back street Rudy’s truck slips quietly into

It’s spot under the mulberry. 

He must be back at work.

Not Her

She froze near the bottom of the stairs

Startled by the form

In the window beside the front door.

Some other worldly wraith-white and shaved-stared,

Watching.

Nothing to break the pale but the dark nipples against her milky skin.

The tiny breasts lifted and fell with her breathing.

Below a dark mane, button eyes sewn onto a doll’s face

Searched for something that wasn’t there.

Her lean legs wavy, her flat stomach nothing but a creamy smudge,

Her face, nondescript from here.

She looked away from the reflection.

It wasn’t her at all.

Now The Owl

Dusk

The sun has only just

Sunken below the ridge

When the little screech owl

(poorly named as it doesn’t screech at all)

Begins its falsetto trill

Announcing that the sun is gone;

The night games can begin.

He’s upstream-due west

Perhaps in the big sycamore.

No bigger than my fist, invisible in the gloaming

That’s fine-I don’t need to see him to

Know what he’s saying.

The evening rooster trilling the eagle home

From the hunt.

Calling the tree frogs out to sing.

The snakes have gone to ground.

Raccoons and possums shake off the days’ slumber.

Finches and towhees give way to swallows dipping and diving

After mayflies and skeeters.

Then the bats join the dance-flickering blindly in

Four directions at once.

Bull frogs thump, thump in the weeds while

Big bass-hearing and hunting-patrol the shallows under dusk’s cover.

Coyotes yip and bobcats cough and deer are free to

Roam the fields.

Venus has just risen in the pearl gray sky when

An otter snags a catfish and curls on a rock to feast.

The trilling says it’s our time now.

Stars awaken and the

Sun sleeps.

We’ll fill your dreams, it says, with the music of the ages.

© TDR 2019