Flora

Anticipating
the trip, I take
a mental tour
of an unseen landscape.
Fact:
84% of New Zealand flora
are endemic. Isolated
among volcanoes,
like an artist sketching
impossible petals,
the filaments and sepals
emerged and twined, transformed
into pōhutukawa,
the kiwi Christmas tree,
colonizer of lava fields;
rewarewa, the honeysuckle,
its nectar sweet and smokey;
and Tane Mahuta, oldest
and largest kauri tree,
stretching skyward even
before the first Maori set
foot upon the soil.

It’s a trick…

This mild October day
tugging people from their homes
to take breakfast on outdoor
patios. Frost and wind chill
hide behind half gold leaves
waiting to bite our bare arms
and sockless feet.
Beware this perfect blue sky
empty as a Midwest swimming
pool in March. Sleet and snow
loiter above its clever mural
mocking our sudden exhuberance.
Pumpkins leer from every shopfront
their teeth sharp as icicles.

Return

Drifting
on a boat
between
Harbor Springs
and DuSable,
blue, always blue,
perhaps some silver
and white, and at night,
only the lights from other boats,
and the glow of the distant shoreline
like a watchful line of lightening bugs,
hovering close but unable to help him steer.
What does he think about, surrounded by space,
unbound from routine, unobliged to be connected
by cell phone
or wifi?
What does he ponder, suspended for a brief span
from the normal rules? Of course, I am certain,
he is thinking of me.

Mackinac 100

Dawn finds you, invisible lake,
though fog of last night’s storm
would deny your existence.
Like floating tufts of fur from
an old grey cat, slowly morning
thins your coat: a strand here,
a strand there, until small right
triangles emerge, hundreds of tiny
white flags waving in a line,
their thoughts bent entirely toward
that island,
and the hundreds of miles of water
and wind,
and the will needed to tame you.

Evolutionary logic

If it’s all about sex,
finding a fertile mate,
maximizing reproduction,
or so says evolutionary
psychology, then what
space remains for love?
Why do we crave it? What
purpose can it serve,
except to make us weep
and sigh and write poetry
and jump from bridges. Or
is love just sex under-
cover, dressing up to fool
us with its fake moustache,
a pair of dark sunglasses,
sneaking into our dreams as
a raindrop or a fountain or
endless blue water by a beach,
or yellow fish on a reef.
All simply our animal lust
for pleasure? A drive for
offspring to prove our
existence? Tell me then
science, why love? Why
pain and despair? Take them
back, I say, until humanity
evolves to a higher state,
in another million years.