Battered Blue Wheelbarrow

What It Carries, Still

Your father, whose voice scared me,

whose head loomed a full 14 inches over my mine,

bought us our only housewarming gift;

a bright blue, six cubic foot wheelbarrow.

We laughed at its size, laughed as you gave me

a bumpy ride over the first lawn

we giddily called our own.

 

He seemed to believe our future

would be one of Paul Bunyan-sized loads.

It was.

 

In it we hauled firewood, dirt, rocks,

crinkled leaves topped with squealing toddlers.

It held a big block Dodge engine.

It toted rolls of fencing, chicken feed, cow manure.

It carried trays of tender seedlings

out to the garden, waiting

as I blessed each one into soft earthen beds.

 

Today you mend the rusted body

of our battered blue wheelbarrow.

I wish your father lived to see

its wooden handles smoothed from use

and what it carries, still

on that one sure wheel.

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in The Moon Magazine. Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

Photoautotrophic Wisdom

Weed I Won’t Pull

 

Some hardship curved it into

a green ampersand. Tendrils sprout

along a resolute stem.

I want to lean close, ask

for some photoautotrophic wisdom.

Listen to the soil’s bacterial choir.

Convert to the worship

plants have practiced since the Beginning.

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in The Moon Magazine. Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

Foretold

Foretold During A Sleepover With 12-Year-Old Girls

 

Ghost stories and gossip, forgotten

when she showed us the Ouija board

filched from her older sister’s room.

Outside, dry leaves scraped fingertips

across pavement as wind swirled them

in patterns that may, too, have been messages,

but we clustered over the board’s dark formal script,

giggling, nervous, accusing each other

of willfully steering the plastic indicator,

denying we steered it ourselves, calling out

letters forming words forming prophecies.

 

I asked my future husband’s name

and was given the letter M

followed by A, then R, finally C.

No one by the name Marc in our classes,

so I wasn’t teased like girls who got

Tim or Michael or Kyle.

 

When I met you two years later

your name ended in a K.

Teasing, I nicknamed you Marcus,

sometimes call you that still.

After all these years,

I see what I couldn’t then.

Mark, my love, your name

was already spelled

by every letter on that board.

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in Verse-Virtual.  Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

 

Civil Discourse

civil discourse

Civil Discourse

 

This magnificent bridge crosses every distance,

arches over silt-clogged drainage ditches,

past bulldozed acres where owls once called,

across a city loveliest when morning light

streaks orange over the Exxon station.

 

It spans acres farmed by lumbering machines

so heavy they crush the soil’s hidden universe.

Reaches over oceans and mountains.

Stretches back and forward through time.

 

Entrance ramp are infinite.

 

Angry trolls use nets strung together

with logical fallacies and Super Pac money

to knock people off their feet

and drag them so far under

they can’t see the bridge,

can’t remember it exists.

 

Still, the bridge is there.

Squint down the length of it,

you’ll see it leads everywhere.

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change.  Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

Space Any Can Soften Into

out of body

Out of Body

 

Before I knew how to make my eyes march

in rows following shapes called words,

before I could cross the street

without a taller hand to hold,

I worked to stay in the small body

my being was given.

 

If not for careful attention I drifted.

Became a squirrel on the branch

muscles ready to leap,

nose a nervous twitter, ever wary

though I only wanted

to see furry playfulness.

Became J.P. down the street

licking lips already chapped and bleeding

jeering smaller children loudly

to silence a chest ribbed with sorrow.

This made it harder to hate

the bully he seemed.

 

At night I kept blankets pulled tight

but still, the room grew so large

my bed became a tiny speck

and me, a traveler.

From a vantage point I didn’t seek

I saw dark houses hunker on endless streets,

cars pull like magnets along lines of light.

Within them people carrying their lives

with so much effort when all around them

was this space any could soften into.

 

I pulled back and back and back,

searching for and sharpening

my own edges.

Even though I stay in this body

sometimes I drift

sliding through as we all can

from me into you.

Laura Grace Weldon

Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

We Are Not Powerless

Clarion Reminder

 

The powerful provoke the powerless

to push against one another.

Their power grows by keeping us

in all kinds of prisons.

 

Yet we are not powerless.

 

Remember the black bear

roaming Clarion County, Pennsylvania,

its head trapped a month or more

in a metal-ringed pail.

 

Remember those who chased it for hours,

grabbed it in a perilous embrace,

carefully sawed loose those tight bonds.

Imagine what they felt as the bear

ran free into the woods.

 

Imagine too, the bear.

 

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in Writers Resist.  Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

What the Onion Teaches

What the Onion Teaches

 

Anything, seen wholly,

teaches everything.

Take a raw onion, harsh to its core.

Unpeel, unring, and hold to the light.

It is complete as the soil, sun, and rain

of its making.

 

Sauté the rings in oil

till the onion relaxes into itself,

elevating everything added next.

 

This looking, this warmth, and trust

is how the prisoner finds Shakespeare,

the lonely child discovers trees,

the battered woman pulls away layers

ready to be seen.

Laura Grace Weldon

 

Originally published in Shot Glass Journal.  Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

Stop, Reboot

Bad Start

to the day, what with finding

feathers, then bodies

of two hens killed by hawks.

And power out, so I can’t

work despite glaring deadlines.

 

Picking tomatoes and chard

for breakfast, I step on a bee

whose final act is to heave

her brave sword in my sole.

Startled, I skid on dew-wet grass,

fall sharply, my face whirling

a breath’s distance from roses

prickled with scarifying thorns,

 

and laugh.

 

I’d been soggy

cereal in the bowl,

mail dropped in a ditch,

a garden wizened by blight,

 

but now,

foot in lap, I pinch

out the stinger,

stabbed by gratitude

for an insect’s

venomous antidote.

Now all I see is a shining

curtain of light pulled open

to the third act of a comedy

performed as it

is lived.

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in Gyroscope Review  Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

Little Suns Everywhere

Let’s Turn Off the Porch Light

 

Dappled brown moths

wooly as Grammy’s needlepoint

whirl around the bulb,

winged pilgrims desperate

for union with the Holy.

 

Little suns everywhere

lure us to the surface of things

where we burn for lack of shadows,

mistaking the blaze of want

for a larger love.

Laura Grace Weldon

Originally published in Shot Glass Journal.  Find more poems in my collection, Tending.

Coyote Voices

coyote poem

Feral

 

Moonlight leaks through the curtains.

I lie awake, listen to coyote songs

circle and connect, stitching together

the night’s raw edges.

 

Each time I hear their howls

my bone marrow sings.

What’s muzzled in me lifts.

I seem silent and still,

yet my pulse races through the trees.

Laura Grace Weldon

 

Originally written for the Peace Postcard Project, published in Shot Glass Journal.  Find more poems in my collection, Tending.