Category Archives: nature

Last First Day

Together
we made his bed
on the last day of the year
in a room in a house
that belonged to his friend
and the white sheets
spotted with wildflowers
would become the only garden
we would ever have a chance
to lie down in
because this country
wasn’t his home anymore
and the plane ticket
in his soft brown leather bag
couldn’t be exchanged
for a future in my arms–
where I held him
for five beautiful hours
before I had to give him up
to the years ahead
which would never include me.

 

 

DeMaris
1-1-19

“Lamia” by John William Waterhouse, 1905 (not the full painting)

Speculation

Watching him
I imagine he is serious, intellectual—
too good-looking and well-dressed
to be a failure at anything.
And the laptop holding his focus
must contain a secret or two about his life
or maybe all of them are being corralled
into a memoir I’d pay a lot to read.
And the pensive brow
behind his thin rimmed glasses
makes me wonder if maybe
he’s typing a resignation letter
to his boss or to his lover or his wife
in which he’s apologizing
for the wasted time, for the years it took
to discover exactly what he didn’t want—
which might explain why he’s been here
in the lodge for days, alone,
speaking and looking at no one
except for me
when he asks if I can recommend a trail—
and because the woods are where I answer
all my own questions
I tell him any of them
will take him where he needs to go.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris Gaunt
12-28-18

“April Wind” by Andrew Wyeth, 1952

 

“Art About the Land”

The doors open at 6, and there you are
under the familiar stained glass atrium
where you kissed your girl a long time ago
when you thought no one was looking
and now you’re alone in the aftermath of love
feeling torn apart
by the painting of the White River
where you spent one hundred summer days
floating alongside her
certain you would never reach an end
and the close-up photo of the stones hit you hard
as you remembered
how sore your shoulder felt the next day
after skipping so many of them across Sugar Creek
because she looked at you with awe
every time you landed one on the other shore
and you know the mosaic tree
wasn’t made by her hands
but you stand there anyway, remembering
the times you watched her cut the glass
and you always wanted her to make you
a stained glass window
with various oak leaves to remind you
of that trip you took to Mammoth Cave
and you know you taught her everything
she knows about spring wildflowers
which are on display in watercolors and in oils
and there is even an abstract sculpture
of what appears to be bleeding hearts
which reminds you of a poem she wrote for you
and you keep your eye on the door, believing
it’s possible she might walk through it—
that she might be trying to find you again
in this tangled mess of weeds.

 

 

DeMaris
11-29-18

“Sierra Nevada Morning” by Albert Bierstadt, 1870

First Encounter Under the Tree of Knowledge

Adam must have wondered
what was happening to him—
must have felt a great emptiness
inside his whole and perfect body
when he woke from the unpleasant
and unexpected duplication
of his flesh and bone.
Imagine his shock
to see Eve naked beside him—
neither of them aware that her body
was built to receive his,
or to create the cause
of every single human heart
that would beat and love and die
and beat and love and die—
and Adam must have wondered
how Eve’s soft and delicate body
would smell and taste and feel
against his,
and you can imagine her curiosity—
equal, and willing to explore—
and we can believe with all our hearts
that after they discovered how
the puzzle of their bodies fit together
Adam would have sacrificed his rib
all over again
and Eve would agree to give birth
to a hundred billion children
who would blame and punish her
for wanting to know more
about all this beauty—
where it came from, and why.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
11-19-18

Sweet Potatoes

Funny—
I don’t know
if they are a fruit
or a vegetable
or a tuber
or something else entirely
because they look
almost alien
like something
too imperfect
to have been born
in the earth—
but there they are
covered in mud
like a newborn
covered in blood—
ugly pink skin
over flesh so tough
it takes a blade
full of serrations
to cut to the root
of the mystery—
which is that the god
of sweet potatoes
doesn’t care
that they aren’t beautiful
or tender
or easy
to consume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-9-18

Dissolve

You found one on the side of your house—
an Assassin Bug: black and glossy
with a rounded sharp-ridged back—
a tiny stegosaurus with a name that means
I’m not messing around—
not like you’ve been messing around
for the past year—
waiting until everyone else was asleep
before you tiptoed into the night
to meet a woman who could tell you
that the bug you found had another name—
more specifically, a Wheel Bug—
part of the Reduviidae family—
a creature who pierces its prey
with a straw-like appendage
then injects saliva that dissolves soft tissue
from the inside out.
You, too, have been living with two identities:
husband in one home, lover in another.
You belong to one family,
but feel more alive in the other,
where there are field guides on the shelves
explaining everything
from bugs to birds to trees—
and you wouldn’t have brought this strange insect
to your wife’s attention if it hadn’t reminded you
of the woman you can’t tell her about—
the strange woman who injected into you
feelings that are starting to dissolve
life as you know it from the inside out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
10-8-18

Glacier

It’s 92 degrees outside
and you are chilled to the bone
as if your body believes
you are at the base
of a melting ice cap
and you are
treading water
as it rises
saturates
drowns
you
and
if it
weren’t
for the alcohol
you’d be frozen solid
because he isn’t coming back
to warm you, thaw you or carry you away
into a future that will go down
in the history books
as anything
but empty
barren
rocky
like the landscape
a glacier leaves behind.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
8-28-18