Tag Archives: nature

Backdrop

There were so many days
before you
filled with joy
filled with wonder and curiosity
and the fine mystery
of my own imagination
there was no you
to want
to follow
to dissect like a frog
full of a hundred round eggs
full of potential—
before you
there was a desire for you
a place for you
so deep and holy
my emptiness expanded
until it found you
until you became real one day
on the edge of the woods
and what happened after that
would become the backdrop
for this day of grief and
terrible loss
that is the beginning
of so many days to come
where you will exist in my past—
the sweet perfume
of every season
the taste of bitterness
I almost pray
will give way to the sweetest
of memories
we will always share.

 

 

 

DeMaris
8-20-19

“View From Fern Tree Rock, Jamaica” by Martin Johnson Heade, c.1870

The Botanist, Part II

When you walked outside
to examine the growth on the magnolias
we planted in my woods last year,
I was supposed to be starting dinner—
putting the water on to boil—
but I walked to the window and watched you
hover over the new leaves—
watched you kneel down to touch them gently
like one of the children we never had.
I knew you’d be leaving soon
after we ate the green beans and the rice
and the five bluegill we caught at Griffy Lake
so I needed to study you a little while longer
to let your image burn into a memory
I could take with me to bed or to work
or to this blank page
where I’ve always taken you, caged you—
This sacred and only place you’ve ever been
mine.

 

 

 

DeMaris
5-7-19

Painting by Isaac Levitan, 1880. “In the vicinity of the Savvino-Storozhevsky monastery”

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

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