High summer, mid-afternoon

Then thank you, oh food delivery service, for running out of local peaches and cornish hens last night, so I ordered Finger Lakes plums, curried chicken salad, and home-baked chocolate cookies, instead. Then thank you again, for running out of chocolate cookies, so I ordered white-chocolate-and-dried-cherries cookies, instead. And thank you again, for offering summer juices from the upstate orchard that grows the plums.

And when your man came, he was quick and kind, leaving the boxes outside my door as I called out to him to do since I couldn’t get up from my work right away. And some minutes later on this difficult day that started so early and had me feeling beset and in need of pampering, I brought the boxes inside and unpacked them and put most everything away.

And then I had lunch. The turmeric, cumin, ginger and cinnamon in the chicken salad relaxed my breathing, the tiny plums shocked with flesh as diffusely-sugary as watermelon on the outside and as tart as lemon around the pit, and the cookies, oh the cookies!

Thank you, oh food delivery service, for being good bakers, and using pure ingredients. I promised myself one. One cookie, one white-chocolate-and-dried-cherries cookie. But oh food delivery service, you still had a mind to challenge my beliefs today. You knew what I needed wasn’t what I thought I needed. You shook the cookie box hard as your truck made its rounds all morning, and three cookies broke, and you knew the soft-hearted me, the me who couldn’t let three damaged cookies sulk, unloved, inside a darkened cardboard box, and so, yes: I ate all three.

And then I sipped some tart-sweet tingly lemon-apple summer juice from the Finger Lakes orchard that grew the plums you brought. And then, I wanted to work again. But only after giving thanks for the gifts that your last night’s minor chaos brought, on hard-bumping truck wheels, in the strong arms of a quick, kind delivery man, in mid-afternoon of a high summer’s day.

Three years three months and counting

“There’s no one like you,”
she whispered, turning away.

The leaves are flying,
rattling soft like small bones,
raining through the sun-out, sun-in light.
Their mother-trees kept them
tied to their twigs
in cold weeks,
to mend a summer-drought.

“Where are you? How is it you’re here,
and not? Why do I love you?”
she dreamed.

Somewhere, near you,
flowers are sharing themselves
with reflected light, odorous,
bright, and sleepy-sweet.
A Spanish word is softer: olor.
There’s a type of sherry with a dark taste,
long-aged, called oloroso.
Las plantas de tu (ya su, mera love) país
son muy olorosas.
Your winters are promises
of sweating and brown skin.

“Late November’s cold is greyish-clear,
like glass.
Do you still dance? Or swim?
Just now a dog is moaning
about missing owners, praying
for their safe return, crying
that she was left behind.
The Mumbai dogs, whom I love
because they sing near you,
tell me about what touches you,”
she said.

I’m healing.
Sickness made a distance between me and life.
In the void were possibilities.
My eyes are closing.
If I don’t allow them to,
I’ll cry, my retinas will detach, my lungs will drown,
my heart will stop.

You’ve given me all I needed
to make sense out of experience.
I can watch Emma Thompson act,
know what she’s doing wrong
and the probable why,
and enjoy the experience, as I used to.
Watching films now, I look at cloth a lot, and at light.
My hands know how things would feel,
how a needle would work the material, going in,
my fingers feel each weave.
I remember how we used to be
all sharply-pressed,
and now we’re not.
I don’t mourn a thing that’s changed,
except for missing loves.
Everything else cycles in and out
and in again,
the same and new.

You are my love forever.
I lose all grace when I face you with this,
I become a stumbling girl.

All art is about love;
and love is an art.
I’m still trying to learn how to do it.

© Nov ’10 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Norway morning

On an April morning
chill as a fjord,
a Norway maple’s whippy branches
are riding winds
in a New York courtyard
of half-lit bricks
and a third-story window
mirroring clouds dimensional as night
and an almost-imaginary
purple-blue sky.
If a family of butterflies
were tied to branches,
their wings would shimmer in various greens,
hinting of fall,
like these maple leaves
shaking with cold
in a Norway morning,
as the earth moves in its blankets of clouds,
spinning out winds,
singing of you, singing to you.

© Apr ’10 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved