• Shana Ritter

Weeding

I am taking break in the early evening on this beautiful spring day from weeding in my garden to weed through the poems I wrote during April’s national poetry month challenge to write a poem a day.

A friend asked who had participated and where are the poems. So here in response are my five favorites – well today’s favorites at any rate. They’re only titled by the  date written for now, and are all in the rough but enthusiastic stage.

April 1

I’ll never sail my way around the world swim the English Channel or drive cross country on my own 750 Norton commando

I’ll never play guitar or belt the blues like Janis never paint a blue period piece like Picasso or round the globe in a balloon

won’t deep sea dive or ride the back of a whale or have much swale to swing about or tout a new designer at a posh New York club

never have a passel of children and raise them on a farm. But I might have a glimpse, a fingernail moon’s happiness a sparkle of kisses from little grand boys

a cauldron of words to conjure stories and someone to listen to them being told. I’m hoping to grow old with some grace the gleam of the girl in my face still watching.

April 6

I want to rise into the day in praise of every little miracle around me yellow forsythia breaking open the flash of red winged song the woodpecker’s echoing each unfolding leaf and newly flowered branch, my own working arms and legs.

Let me offer thanks for sight and gratitude for touch even when I do not reach let me recognize the shape of your hand.

April 16

one day you’ll be grown but for now you ask question after question about the sun and stars what happens after you die where you go is heaven below or above on a cloud? I love to watch you stretch into concepts puzzle after puzzle crosses your face but never erases you, the curious boy widening my heart day after day.

April 19

The fields are terraced all the way to the river green showing beneath flowering almond trees. When the petals disappear the pale pink gives way to hard shells, fruits held inside.

I search for recipes to capture the garden when I peel the skin from the eggplant I am left with flesh, It bruises so readily.

I will serve you on hand painted plates I will fill you with summer. When autumn comes, then we will sleep.

April 30

I have cut off all my hair I am left released and exposed I am left open and present young and old for any one to see. Yesterday I spoke on line to two hundred people about race and equity about the hidden things we carry that color the way we see. In Baltimore the embers are still hot the wounds are red and open they have never healed from Furgeson or Staten Island or Katrina or Jim Crow or the mid sea voyage or that most western point on Ghana. We all carry scars some of us have learned to nurture others to inflict hurt some of us care for ourselves and some of us punish others we all carry fear we all share it this does not excuse it this does not forgive the perpetrators this does understand the eruptions the ululations otherwise unheard this doe not excuse the breaking glass but it does not blame grief the way it points to disregard. I have cut off all my hair you can see the lines on my face and my eyes and the furrow on my forehead this doesn’t mean I don’t see the dogwood trees in bloom or the tender new green or the irises just about to flower.

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