Category Archives: Sunday’s Whirligig

The middle child

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Section of a mural in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México

 
 

The middle child,
feeling lost and upset,
goes for treatment
one day a week.
In the waiting room,
her older brother
chants nursery rhymes
and tells stories
in a vain attempt
to comfort her.
“Wait till you see the lunches
they serve at school next week,”
he says.
“Seven kinds of ice cream!”
But the disconsolate middle child
cares nothing for ice cream lunches.
All she wants is to rise up
out of her wheelchair
and walk.

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
   
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Angel

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A winding path, Yuma Conservation Garden, Yuma, Arizona

 
 

A father bends
to help his little girl
who has skinned her knee
while running.
Somehow her legs gave way
and she stumbled in the gravel
at the sidewalk’s end.
He kisses the wound
again and again, murmuring,
“It’s all right, angel, it’s all right.”
Smiling back at him
through tears, she says,
“Thank you, Daddy.
You’re an angel too.”
Then the big angel spreads his wings
and carries his little angel home.

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
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Scintillating music

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Cactus needles, Yuma Conservation Garden, Yuma, Arizona
 
 

scintillating music
carries her into most nights
with a flagrant disregard
for what her neighbors think
a leap of faith
that’s how she found her way
and it dawns on her
each time she prays late at night
that the spill that might have happened
did not
the end that might have come
did not
the leap that might have killed her
did not
she knows she owes everything
to that leap
and is not nonchalant
but
grateful

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
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Her birthday

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Painting of a grand celebration (maybe a birthday!), Prescott Public Library, Prescott, Arizona

 
 

Her birthday,
crammed with memories,
one in particular:
rising at the meadowlark’s song
to walk across the dew-drenched grass,
her feet bare and cold and wet,
humming little nonsense tunes
to greet the light, bolder now
than when she’d left the house,
turning to see him at the window,
her ancient father;
how small he looks,
how like a cattail reed,
brown and brittle
at summer’s end—
and then he is falling,
clutching at his breast,
sailing off beyond the morning light,
the midday light, every light
there ever was or will be.
Pulling her phone from her skirt
pocket, she calls her friend:
“It’s over now. Come.
Come quickly.”

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
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Picture this

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Detail from an outdoor mural, Prescott Public Library, Prescott, Arizona
 


Picture this:
a woman
full of innocence
finds herself
trapped
in a confining marriage.
She thinks to herself:
I am capable
of escaping this maze
and pursuing my dreams,
even though the huffing monster
edges closer and closer—
and she does!

 
 
Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
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Public Defender

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Geese at Yuma Conservation Garden, Yuma, Arizona

 
 

This was on
the Daily Show:

 
Did you hear the one
about the public defender
who got confused
and represented
the wrong thief?
The charges were dropped,
but the thief ended up
as a lonely insomniac.
Which just goes to show,
I suppose,
that even a college-educated person
(I’m thinking of the public defender)
had better remember his (or
her) p’s and q’s
before he (or she) cleanses
(or attempts to cleanse)
the soul of another.

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
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It is much too cold today

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A worker wields a hammer in this detail from a mural, Prescott Public Library, Prescott, Arizona

 
 

It is much too cold today
to picnic with the ancestors.
Even the finches agree,
and they chase us away
from our customary spot
among the headstones.
We decide to visit
the little museum
by the bus station,
where two paintings,
balanced
carefully
side by side,
hang on one wall.
The first
depicts a carpenter
pounding nails
into a baby’s coffin,
while his scrawny apprentice
daubs paint on it.
In the second, a more
hopeful scene,
a brittle old man
smiles for the camera.
After all,
what does he have to lose?

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
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I have come to gaze

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The remains of an old house near the shores of Willow Lake, Prescott, Arizona
 
 

I have come to gaze
on the clover and milkweed.
They are thick this month;
great drifts of leaves and stems
flare up
around the foundation
of the old farmhouse,
where something tiny
glitters on a stone.
The midday sun
is hot enough
to parch or melt
the thing that glitters,
and if it perishes,
who will keen for it?

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
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Take a word or two

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Beavertail cactus blossom, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Southern California
 
 

Take a word or two—
mingle, calendar, or burning will do.
Splash them on a page,
or hang them with rope
from a branch
like lumps of suet
to feed the hungry jays.
All words woven by your hands
become poems, my daughter,
and yours will be the first weaving
to awaken daffodils
from their winter sleep.
Even the jays
will be amazed.

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
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At the Moon’s Rising

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Shed lock, Robert J. Moody Demonstration Garden, Yuma, Arizona
 
 

At the moon’s rising
we will eat soft candy
and sing lilting songs,
songs that bastards and buggers
never take on their tongues.
Yet sylvan maidens know them,
singing them at midnight
to the tree that rots in the forest
and to the blind lieutenant
who, now that it’s peacetime,
wonders why
they sent him to war.

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
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