October Birthday Walk

Lake Michigan

October Birthday Walk  (10/15/97)

My palms are still fluttering with the wings of the monarchs,

burnt orange against the slate grey of lake and sky.

Little grains of sand are falling from them as they warm

to the winding path of our morning walk.

Down the crooked steps across the railroad tracks,

ringed with ghosts of flattened pennies.

Down the sliding sand toward the crash

of waves stirred by autumn.

Red coat, green coat

beside me, before me.

Stones, begging attention, beneath me.

Down the beach

busy with the bargaining of gulls

and everywhere…

the delicate whispering

of fallen fairies

struggling to rise

to move on their sticky legs

anxious to hold on to anything other than the sand

that whips them, holy

their bodies

black as the night sky that just slipped away

peppered with the white of tiny blazing stars.

I carry seven in my left hand, three in my right,

mother has many, Mary a few.

Down to rest on this tired tree

safe from the wind.

your wings wave us goodbye.

We walk on

to swings three.

One Mary, one mom, one me

gliding and singing

to the raging sky.

How do you like to go up in a swing?

Up in the air so blue

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do.

Our hands already in Mexico.

Monarch