Monday, October 23, 2006

In three voices, the Kensington forest road

In three voices, the Kensington forest road

1-is a path toward there and back, a deer run
to be taken swiftly or not at all,

2-is a fog of spray and mist, hurtling too fast, oh way too fast,

3-is another woodland rock, a pond to moisten tidbits
in the October rain and falling dark,

1-is a dance, with the car
as partner. No one, nothing exists except as obstacles and hurtles,

2-is a speeding woodland train, stranded
on exploding tracks,

3-is a place of sudden light and terror,

1-has stupid animals, too dumb to run,

2-cries silently Oh my God, slow down swerve stop a raccoon!

3-brings unbearable pain and death, becomes
my grave.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Ball of Fluff, October

A Ball of Fluff, October

A wavering call penetrates the dark street, just at the edge
of hearing.  We're returning from an evening walk,
two houses from home. Just another evening walk,
like every other.  But listen.  The call again. 
Low and eerie.  We've seen the usual houses
and stores, the diamond-studded spiders in orange confetti
at Wayson's  jewelry on Kirchivel.  The sidewalks, wet
and covered with small ponds, cradled by leaves, colors
gone now in darkness, visible, a bit, in pools
of lamplight.  The branches, drooping with wet leaves, dimly bright
and eerie, dripping.  The pumpkins everywhere, wadded
fake spider webs and witches. But that strange quaver. 
Maybe a recording to set the children worrying
a little, that weeping call, so soft, yet spooky, enigmatic.  We pause,
look up.  A lump, a ball of fluff, sits on a branch above us. 
A flashlight from your pocket, a pair of binoculars from mine, 
and we see a flat face, two round eyes.  I grab your hand
and squeeze.  Small body, like a robin,
only squarer.  Silent now, in the flashlight
glare, a screech owl looks back as us.  It's our first
screech owl, here, and a touch of wildness and mystery.  It stares.
And stares.  Then turns and flutters, almost bat-like, back
into the night.  We want to follow, but it's gone.  We frown
at each other, then leap up and down, like fools
or children, laughing. 

Mary Stebbins Taitt
For Keith on his birthday and for the screech owl, may it remain safe and healthy and without too much flashlight in the face

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Coyote (c)

The Coyote


It was a movement, dun and slow and still and quick, jerky

as an injured squirrel, an unexplained shape in the grass

and trees beside the river in the October sun, too large

and low and smooth to be a deer, and moving oddly. I looked

over.  And quickly away because then I knew.  The softly opened legs,

the head between them, the other head lifting toward me

as I turned to suddenly study the river, the way the yellow leaves

swirled, the way the far shore was a wash of yellow reflected

from the trees.  I'd seen no breasts, no penis, not even a butt, really,

not that I can bring to mind, no vagina visible, no porn, only

that odd-moving head.  Only the dun color, the soft spread legs

and the far head rising toward me.  No porn, but a surprise, a little

shock.  No clothes visible, there must have been

clothes somewhere.  No eyes, but I wonder

as I try to arrange myself around this double intrusion,

if those eyes turned toward me were like the deer I first imagined,

wide, dark and startled, or like the coyote who paused to look me

in the face, wild and seemingly unafraid, not running,

not walking into the golden woods, waiting instead for me

to leave.  Every separate hair, grey, black, brown, red,

shone in the low orange sun.  There was the coyote

and the nakedness, too.  There were the lovers, disturbed

by me, and me, disturbed by them.  A backpack

of memories torn open, spilling into the bright afternoon.

I tried to place the old images and the lovers somewhere in my heart

but failed. I left them in that space, the space

that followed me all afternoon, the lovers

hanging dun and still, jerking like an injured squirrel

among the poison ivy's flaming leaves.


Mary Stebbins Taitt

061002c 1st draft