SEASONS

Here we measure seasons
by small changes in temperature
and for one, heavy rainfall.

We are the calendar reliant,
otherwise left to look at the moon
and count to ascertain roughly

what month it might be, but
we now live in a solar calendar
world so our lunar efforts
are necessarily doomed to failure.

And holidays are different here,
Christmas has no snow,
so we decorate our palms
and perhaps have inflatable
snowmen or reindeer, and hang
icicles from our gutters as
a reminder of what winter
is for so many other than us.

WHY NOT AN ELEVENTH?

The internet, he said, was God’s gift to Satan, but Satan returned it within the warranty period since it didn’t bring him nearly as much business as he had hoped. That, and the broadband in Hell was iffy most of the time, something about the heat, like broadband in Florida in the summer, only worse. God didn’t particularly want it, so he gave it to humans, figuring one more plague might keep them from begging for all manner of selfish things.

GREAT DIVIDE

The truck, a white Ford F-150
with oversized tires was parked
on the lawn next to the small
parking lot, filling quickly as people
arrived for the community market.

There was a giant flag fixed
to the bed of the truck, unavoidable
flapping in the breeze,
“Let’s Go Brandon,” and everyone
knew the message all too well.

Some averted their eyes, a few
smiled, and as many gave
the well known one finger salute,
aware that they ought not hate
the hater, but unable not do do so.

Colors, blue, red, purple cease
to matter in the face of such a blatant,
almost rabid effort that can only
widen the rift that is slowly tearing
our civilized society apart.

CAT’S GAME

The cat is sleeping on the lanai, on the plant table among the bromeliads. The cat spends hours sleeping on the lanai when she isn’t walking on tables. There are tables on the lanai she walks on regularly. Walking on tables is forbidden we repeatedly tell her and we know she understands, but the cat reminds us that forbidden in a transitory term when you are a cat. Cats, she says, must go where they want, consequences be damned. And, she adds, I know you will always forgive me.

FOUR WETLAND HAIKU

Apple Snail shell
bleached by the sun, empty
happy Snail Kite

Great Egret sitting still
waiting, simply waiting
then flying off

Red-shouldered hawk
staring into the distance
endless patience

Pig frog croaking
but the moon will not answer
we fall asleep

CASSANDRA IN FLORIDA

She is large, and largely immobile
and occupies the bench by the road
that encircles the property like a noose.

She does this each day, a crust
or more of stale bread tucked away
in a pocket of her always floral

housedress that envelopes her
and the bench she occupies
as a monarch on her throne.

The ibis see her coming and gather
at her feet like acolytes awaiting
words from their sage and goddess.

She doesn’t disappoint them, telling
them a tidbit of the world, more often
who was taken sick overnight, who

died yesterday, always a shock
she says, then whispers conspiratorially,
but actually expected, of course,

for everyone here has numbered days,
and then tells them stories of her life,
real and imagined, the veil between

her truth and her fiction now diaphanous.
They grow impatient, but a good queen
reads her subjects and reaches

into the pocket pulling out the crusty
bread, smiles at her flock, says see, I bring
manna and together we cross the desert.

First Published in Chantarelle’s Notebook, March 2019
https://chantarellesnotebook.com/2019/03/22/

NO CLICHES HERE

The birds in this part of Florida
have found a way around the cliche
and we are thankful they have done so.

As we saw last week when
the neighbor’s yard was regraded,
and before the new sod arrived,
the “soil” was mostly sand
and there was not a worm
to be found anywhere.

Yet the birds, early and late
got all they wanted to eat,
for their meals are insects
so from now on I shall have
no alternative but to work
to death the phrase, “the early
bird catches a few insects.”

Do you think it will get any traction?

ABSURD, FL

The utter and complete absurdity
of living in Florida can
be ever so easily illustrated.

Last evening the neighbor’s
dog decided it needed
to express itself and did so
in clear and loud terms.

The limpkins and gallinules
in the wetland behind
both our homes shouted back
and based on my admittedly
limited vocabulary of bird
there were several four
letter words and at least one
upraised middle claw,
for that language is universal.

And all of this was once
Native American land and I
am certain they would not be
pleased at what we have created
and the birds would agree.

ODE TO PATIENCE

The jetty is replete today
with tourists, pale as the sun
bleached concrete, stopping
to gawk at the fishermen
who ignore them intent
on watching the sadly still line.

The pelicans sit on the rocks
grooming and posing, talking
loudly on occasion before
spreading wings and flying off.
Out on the jetty a pelican waits
patiently for the fisherman
to pack up for the day, knowing
he will dump his bait bucket
on the concrete and the pelican
will be rewarded for his patience.

GET A ROOM

You feel like a voyeur, staring
as the red-shouldered hawks
mate in a tree mere yards
from where you are standing.

Still, you cannot take your eyes
away from them, your camera
tightly focussed, an avian
pornographer perhaps, or maybe

just a lucky soul given the chance
to witness a ritual denied to most,
and you know with luck their offspring
will repeat the show for you next year.