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"Eucalyptus Leaves”
by
Alison Parham

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Donna Becker

Beija Flor

Now in spring nectars, nectars, nectars.

Columbine, salvia, cerenthe, lupine, penstemon, delphinium

trumpet blossoms blue and red, pierced by needle beak, invisible tongue.

Prismed feathers break sunlight into magenta and green.

Looping back and forth in dance, soaring up beyond sight,

figure eight wing work, crashing rocket dive and up again with a mate.

Whirring thing, 1/10th of an ounce, spinning,

a hum, a blur, a “chipping” sound from the tree.

Thistle and dandelion down, caterpillar silk

woven with filaments of a spider’s web into 

a secret basket concealed in lichen and bark.

In winter asleep in torpor, or sucking sugar water from the feeder,

in fall a racing heart, overnight across the Gulf of Mexico.

Hummingbird, brilliant wing, bursting heart, beija flor.

*In Portuguese the word for hummingbird is “kiss the flower”

Completed

After many meetings
with balance sheets,
tallying
income and assets,
weighing and measuring
fairness, toil, devotion,
he agreed
she could keep
their extra house
more, he felt,
than he might have had to give
less, she felt
than she earned and needed.

The mediation was completed.
I explained the paperwork
 and process
to follow.
We were done.

Still we sat.
Sun poured in the window.

Then each spoke
of death,
the deaths of parents
they had shared,
his sister’s imminent death.

They reflected
with pride
that from them
as a couple
this was a gift
to their families -
to live with dying
when everyone else
was afraid.

Each of them
carried a special tenderness
saw it in the other -
each knew
how to sit silent
turn a frail body
in a bed
reflect a life
say goodbye.

So on that day
they sat in the sun
from an office window
spoke softly,
rose to
say goodbye.

Folding Clothes

When the clothes are still warm from the dryer
or fragrant and crisp and fresh from the line outside,
folding is the most pleasant thing.

Sometimes the sheets and socks are tangled
or nestled inside each other
or attached by static electricity.
           
I match the socks and tuck them together.
I stretch my arms to their full reach
so the edges of the sheets meet,

and fold and fold and fold

smoothing wrinkles
matching the seams
draping on hangers
sorting piles by room
and by person who will unfold
and then be enfolded.

A simple pleasure - folding clothes.
One of the last things my father could do
to have order as his world crumbled,
his neurons failed him.
Edges -that early infant perception -
one of the last to lose.

Comfort in the lines -
hold the edge
Match the edge.
Smooth the wrinkles.
Feel the warm cloth.

DONNA BECKER – is an attorney, mother, grandmother and writer who makes Santa Cruz her home. She was born in Northern Minnesota and has lived in PA, NJ, CT and CA. She came to writing through the wonderful teachers and exuberant students at Cabrillo College.

In Celebration of the Muse
Brianna Barreto
Donna Becker
Deborah Bryant
Ruth Elliott
Susan Freeman
Patricia Grube
Diane Dobrin Grunes
Geneffa Popatia Jonker
Sylvia Patience
Jennifer Pittman
Bernice Rendrick
Dena Taylor
Louise Thornton
Patrice Vecchione
Renee Winter
J. Zimmerman

Rosie King for Tilly Shaw

Barbara Bloom for Joan Safajek

Featured Artist
Alison Parham

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