Challahs cooling on the counter


The sky is streaked with cinnamon,
there’s coriander in the clouds,
the saffron sun, not yet winter-faded,

glows on
the squirrels gathering walnuts,
from trees with nutmeg-sprinkled leaves.

My arms are still summer-browned,
the basil, a bit spindly, still green and fragrant,

but in my spice-scented kitchen, pumpkin simmers
in soup, apples bake in cake, vanilla floats in the air,

and round, golden challahs cool
on the counter

as the cockeyed world balances,
for a few moments

we’re caught in a honeyed glow,
the last bees of summer,
the waxing moon, waiting for fullness.

For my prompt on dVerse today. Next Sunday night is the start of Rosh Hashanah this year. I’m not religious, but I like the rituals, traditions, and having family get together. And the food! I like the symbolism of dipping apples in honey and eating a round challah for a sweet year. I will probably start my challah baking marathon tomorrow and do other cooking over the next few days. The autumnal equinox (vernal equinox in the southern hemisphere) is on Thursday.

The Restaurant

Saint-Loup-des-Bois (Nièvre, France) ; bar & restaurant, François GOGLINS, Wikimedia Commons

The Restaurant

It had seen so much—
first dates and engagements,
birthdays, and once a birth—
a death, too—no, not the food—

here, weary people had shuffled in after work,
the weight of life like a box of books, heavy and
threaded with old ticket stubs and bookmark photos,
carried from place to place,
but set aside with the coats and umbrellas,
to be picked up again a couple hours later,
by carriers feeling refreshed and somehow stronger–

the empty dining room remembers
laughing children and impatient lovers,
whose fingers parted to lift a glass or spoon–
love, grief, joy, excitement embedded
in these walls, still scented with garlic, lemon,
and vanilla that had floated
like champagne bubbles

to burst, sharp as the chef’s knives
in the kitchen–where unplugged appliances
yet hum, remembering what was, wondering
what will come next.

A poem for my prompt on dVerse. My dad would have been 103 today, and he always took us out to eat on his birthday. I wonder about some of the restaurants we went to a long time ago.



took us unaware
with her violet eyes and rainbow hair,

was she human or sprite—perhaps
a spirit of the light,

or the embodiment of flowers
of all seasons, of all hours.

Once, I saw her twice in a blue moon,
twice, I saw her floating 



her laughter drifted down from the sky,
lighting it, like a star somehow--yet how and why?

Consider the source—the whispers and sighs
of flowers, of poets, the artist’s eyes.

I’m hosting dVerse tonight. There is some much awfulness and horror in the world, so I decided on a bit of whimsy. For my prompt, I've asked poets to use one or more of the garden rose names I have selected in their poems.  I chose Sylvia and Twice in a Blue Moon. My mom’s name was Sylvia. She did not have violet eyes or rainbow hair. She did have an unforgettable laugh. And she was an artist who often painted flowers.

For All the Voyagers and All the Voyages

Corot, Jean-Baptiste-Camille; Seascape with Figures on Cliffs; The National Gallery, London

At dawn my thoughts of you float
from my ship, and to the waves, in spindrift lift
and sparkle, caught on gannet wings and carried–
to you, my love, to you–

across the miles, far from windswept water,
and though each day I travel farther,
I look for you on rising mountain-clouds,
and hear your voice in the wind’s chilled chatter,

telling me to bundle-tight. At night,
I rest my love on feathered down,
but sharp quills prick and write all around
my words of longing, “I want to be with you,”

to connect our heartbeats once again.
And so, I whisper questions across the knotted sea,
for the silvered-light to answer, then hear the moon’s reply,
be patient for what will come and what will end.

Your breath flows out, on a heron’s back it soars,
and hers rise on another to meet halfway–or more–
your souls may touch somewhere in space
in mist, a clinging trace–

though your bodies wait and wait, your thoughts send–
before forever, you’ll touch again.

For dVerse, where I’m hosting today. A work in progress. So many ways I could have gone with connection.