In another exercise, we made a list of flamboyant people we'd know, chose one and wrote down (with some prompting from Paulann) all the details we could remember about that person. It was magical. A great way to create extreme or "off the bell curve" characters. I plan to use this technique again--both in poetry and fiction. Try it. I think you'll be surprised how well it works. Thank you, Paulann.
There are places that reach out,
beat in the soft wrist where pulse lies.
Pine-sapped places where shadows lengthen at dusk
and remain after others shorten and disappear.
Nestled in a campfire and honeysuckle clearing,
atop the Santa Catalina Mountains,
a one-room cabin with eight shuttered windows
and a field stone fireplace waits
forty years to find us—ours for a decade.
Escape from Tucson valley where two hundred
and eighty days of sun bake
river beds and wither even young Saguaros.
Two children ride a rope swing into the treetops
through a narrow slice of sky that bursts forth
into constellations so bright their eyes glitter
until morning. Monopoly and Scrabble by firelight.
Aspens painted with ladybugs. A skunk caught
in a light beam on the dirt-worn path to the outhouse.
From a cane-seated porch rocker, I watch
my four-year-old weave through clumps of Douglas fir
and ponderosa pine—her arms stretched out like wings.
Nearby, my son digs rocks from the moist earth.
A swish of wind releases pine-needled showers
onto their sun-bleached hair and shoulders.
They fling them off, then bend to gather
indian paintbrush and mountain lupine—poking
red and purple heads through a quilt of coral bells. The sky,
a blue cotton bowl, holds the scene like a snow globe.
Now, thirty-five years later, I seize that globe
and shake myself back into that brief moment of pine needles,
wildflowers and lives that were never mine for the keeping.
Their father has lost this memory to Alzheimer’s and I
understand lives speed by if we don’t brake to slow them down.
Defying time, I return to that place where the sky is big
and the children are small, and their father smiles
as he captures them on film.
Today, I reach out and trap the wind--
hold that globe steady enough to feel
its pulse beat against my fingers.
And for one, breathless moment, memory restores and
pine needles still hang, suspended, before they fall.