Crone age is like strawberries
transplanting takes time.
I dig and move strawberries from my garden
like retirement transplanted me to Pennsylvania.
They grow thicker in this rich soil.
Runners shoot out and root,
dozens of new plants start,
overgrowing their borders.
The plants are poems
I pick, type and polish,
submissions are transplants
sent into the world.
When the patch grows too thick,
strawberries produced grow smaller,
they’re crowded out by new plants
and wild strawberry vine imposters.
I go back in and thin, weed my words,
find small nuggets: haiku,
recombinations in rengay,
quatrain, tanka, ronka.
I pick gems of sweet berries and short forms,
harvest red gleaming treasures,
eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner,
voracious insatiable excessive.
There’s never too much,
nothing exceeds like excess
when it comes to strawberries and words.
She was a good mother to their children,
constant to an unfaithful husband.
When booze killed him,
she believed it was her destiny to remarry in one year
and God would supply a husband.
She planned a big wedding with no groom in sight
and unshakeable faith.
Her minister agreed to marry her and saved the date.
Friends and family marked their calendars,
guests bought plane tickets.
She confirmed the church hall, planned flowers and food.
Got a gown, selected a wedding party, sewed the dresses.
Ten months later, no sign of the intended,
her minister got worried.
He counseled Lavonia, “Call off the wedding.”
She counseled him, “Have faith.”
She said, “I have faith the Lord will provide.
I haven’t have found him yet, but he’s there,
I just have to find him.”
Six weeks before the date, he came to Bible Study.
As soon as she saw him, she knew he was the one.
He was as sure about her as she was of him.
They married according to plan.
Lavonia and Willard Hall,
happily married twenty-five years and counting.
Mountain Bus Ride
The engine groans, the gear shift grinds
on a bus trip over the highlands
to Chichicastenango in Guatemala.
Tassels sway on the windshield,
the cab shivers and shakes,
everyone holds onto their seats.
We follow switch backs,
I look straight down
and feel queasy
seeing four lengths of the road
we just traveled,
no guard rail to hold us in.
We pass white crosses
marking roadside losses.
This bus load holds me
and a woman with a chicken
wedged between skirt and sandals,
pigs are tethered under a net,
tied onto the roof
that secures a mound of cargo
to prevent it from shifting
or flipping the bus.
The road straightens,
in concert Mayans around me
make a sign of the cross,
heads bowed in silent prayer.
I’m glad to be alive.
Catskill Music Retreat
in one accord,
harmony of voices
one chord are we.
breaks night open.
A buddha full moon climbs trees
in the rippled water
of a chanting stream.
each other’s joy,
sorrow and pain,
a chain of healing
links and blends our voices.
comb old man’s silver hair,
long tresses tumble downstream
between dark ribbon banks
of the Taconic.