Tag Archives: nature

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

Botany Lesson

Boneset and Snakeroot.
Black-eyed Susan and Yellow Coneflower.
Fernleaf Phacelia and Jacob’s Ladder—
wild beauties so similar
that I wanted to start paying attention
to the subtle differences—
differences that wouldn’t confuse
a botanist whose life was spent
studying the details
of leaves and stems
and the number of petals
that differentiate Rue Anemone
from False Rue Anemone.
And because learning takes time
it shouldn’t upset me
that I couldn’t identify
the man in my bed as toxic,
because he tasted sweet
like the wild raspberries
we picked in the woods—
but his thorns are still lodged in my skin
like a lesson I never thought
I’d need to learn—
but if I hadn’t wandered
into that forbidden garden
I would never have been able to recognize love
as unmistakable as Bloodroot and Firepink.
Love fragrant as Bluebells,
perennial and white as Shooting Stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
8-27-18

 

Needle

The evidence of her joy is clear
in the photos they took of each other
on the water
on the mountain tops
on that fallen sycamore so old or so heavy
it had to come down and block the trail,
which is sort of what happened
when she learned
she was not the right size after all—
that her form was too female
too wide for such a narrow idea of beauty.
And what the photos don’t show
is his inability to see the needle in the haystack
even when his arm
is wrapped so tightly around it.

 

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
7-27-18

Holding Together

I am sitting alone
in the kitchen I built
eating fresh blueberries
listening
to the birds
reconcile their feelings for me
as they enjoy the seed
but remember the trees
that once held their homes

I can hear those trees
coming down
falling over
creating a moment of static
in the crushed branches

I can feel the weight
of the first wall
as I lifted it into place
on the edge
of the foundation

I am staring
at the front door
that I installed
with not much difficulty
on a rainy day

I am remembering
the way it felt to be so high
on the ladder
putting in the windows
that have given me the view
of my childhood fantasy

below me
above me
all around me
are two by fours and nails
holding me together

holding in place
this dream I have
of sharing this nest
with a particular man
I like to imagine
walking through that door

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
6-29-18

How it Ends

The photo of you
sitting in a field
of wildflowers
made you seem accessible—
and the picture
of your body
halfway into Mosquito Lake
seemed to indicate
you lived for adventure—
but the joy in your eyes
as you stood on Mt. Rainier
was in fact nontransferable
to life down below
where love waited its turn
for you to find it
as beautiful a destination
as the mangroves
in Costa Rica and now
the Redwoods are calling
and you are almost gone.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
7-26-17

 

No One Else

I feel
your
warm hand
over mine
on our way
to those places
either one of us
could go
with someone else
and we could
enjoy
the flowers
and the river
and the woods
with
another body
beside us
but
there isn’t
another
set of hands
that
could
elevate
my body
into
the clouds
after the sun
goes down.

 

 

 

 

DeMaris
7-9-17

“The Lovers in the Poet’s Garden IV” by Vincent van Gogh, 1888