The Days of Tiger Skies

When the summer the locust flew in we had
to walk down the middle of the road
avoiding their frenzy, jumping out at us
from somewhere between corn and soy fields
and the dark cool woodlands. The thick air
stuck to your skin like a warm wet blanket.
They called it The Land of a Thousand Lakes,
“and a million bugs”, we’d add with laughter.
Three-quarters of a mile down the road
sat the old General Store – weathered plank
construction, board walk and sign. I remember
the screen door’s rusty voice as you entered
to purchase something cold. We liked snow cones,
Yohos and thumbing through the comic books.
The old man kept shop and didn’t mind
our presence, it was something to pass the time.
On our way home, we would get “sun silly”
telling jokes and making up funny rhymes.
Maybe we’d pick some berries; raspberries
or blue, staining our hands and lips with flavor
painted smiles. Time lingered then, I’m certain
of that. Memory recalls moments in
slow rolling waves of heat mirages
somewhere distant. It seems that even the sun
hesitated it’s descent, creating the
tiger skies and blue thunder moons of youth.

– Previously Published 1993

pie

Good-byes

Grandpa used to let you
ride on the tractor
mowing down the grasses
by the lake and
when you were done
Mrs. Johnson, next door,
would bring out
cookies and lemonade.
We’d ride the pontoon boat
sitting in lawn chairs,
and you’d steer us around
carefully traversing
the channels between
the lakes, sitting in
evening’s cool, gently
rocking the porch swing,
we’d watch hummingbirds
drink ruby nectar
Grandpa taught us
about Larks and Cardinals,
Blues Jays and Chickadees
and sang his old
Vaudeville tunes
There was always sun-made
iced tea and homemade pies
fresh corn and dairy
from the farmer down the road
and lazy evening strolls
Everyone waved and
knew each other well
we slept with the doors
wide open for air
and one night late
a crazy bat flew into
the sliding glass door
knocked himself senseless
we closed the door afterwards
we wrote letters home
to parents who anxiously waited
our return and carefully
wrote each of us back
wanting to go, wanting to stay,
we’d return every summer
until the year that grandpa died
Good-byes are always
hard and any way
you look at it
there is always one.

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Evening Voices Softly

The deluge ceased it’s drumming
with an instant calm
that left the air still
heavy with purple moisture
as evening drew mist
from the saturated ground.

Standing on the front porch
high upon my hill
the forest glistens with
fallen stars that the storm
brought down the trees
have eyes to gaze upon heaven

Reflected again in my eyes
a sight of glory
moves my lazy feet
to stir my only daughter
up from sleep and share
the beauty and the power

Two silhouettes stand draped
in sleeping gowns with wind
in their hair, not a word
breaks between the wonder
the magic as the
summer fairies gently dance

The forest, worn like
great jeweled, emerald gown
lies in silence distant
rumblings a remembrance
of our frailty and faith
in the seen and unseen

-Previously published 1993
fire flies