Ode To August And An Incoming Class


In August, I watch
Tall children-students flower right in front of me.
And it is marvelous. A late-summer garden,
Juniors walk in and blossom into seniors as I hand them a syllabus.

Mysteriously, gracefully, they step right in
To the gap left in May
By a group that seemed irreplaceable, and certainly was so.
But this new class has its own feel,
Its own paths to tread of the infinite number possible
From a single starting point – like Beowulf.

So they pick different flowers on their own path,
Similar species picked by those May graduates, but a crimson sunflower,
Or a zinnia bent on proving that we underestimate zinnias, which we do.
Different flowers from the same story. And I am reminded
God’s good earth is inexhaustible.

And they learn to listen; and they do listen.
They talk of last year’s storytellers and their stories.
And I can’t be impatient with them
Because they are never impatient with me,
“It has to go through the app, Mrs. Sieg. See that blue square?”
We’ve come full circle; Mrs. Smith taught them blue squares
On their K5 carpet squares,
And now they teach me.
And they notice my new shoes and that I wore my hair up today.
And they ask questions bigger than one answer,
‘Why?’ ‘How?’ ‘Why?’
I walk up to the question in my new shoes and give it what I know
And hope it’s a beginning for them.

They are held together by their age, their moment,
This year’s variety,
But they welcome me to listen.
I love their words – the forming words they put on the trends of the minute.
I borrow their energy, their foreverness.

It is August. August is possibility.

Annual Pictures At The Green Door



Stuck In A Restrictive Athletic Undergarment – or, Barbra Underestimates The Goodwife

In honor of a certain unnamed friend or maybe relative
 who was trapped
in her restrictive athletic undergarment.

This is a timeless tale of good versus evil.
Barbra is the villain, so be forewarned!
Barbra is not young; she has been around the block a time or two. Or two hundred.
Think Grizabella.
She is made of a ‘90s wonder-lycra or something that looks innocent,
But could lasso two locomotives going in opposite directions.
However, her task is impossible, so she lives jaundiced and spiteful.
Think Grendel’s dam.

Barbra rolled over in the lingerie drawer one morning
And found herself in her customary mood.
She hadn’t had a bath in a while and her hook-and-eyes were twisted and pokey.
She was far from a favorite,
Indeed she spends most of a calendar year muffled under stray socks
And shoulder pads.
So she can be forgiven her grumpiness.  But, that is all she can be forgiven.

This day, to her shock, she was called up!
The socks and shoulder pads mocked their aged drawer-companion
As she ascended into the realm of light and functionality.

Unsuspecting, our new-leaf exercising housewife attempted to don the bitter garment.
Barbra laid low and allowed herself to be loose enough to go over the head,
Only hitching up a little.  Just for fun.

Ever . . so . . slowly Barbra bowed up and coiled into a narrow band of steel.
Digging in her heels, with one end looped over the gentlewoman’s right shoulder,
And the other end under the left armpit,
Barbra constricted suddenly in a death-grip gigantic.

There was no contest.
She was perfectly positioned too low for an over-the-shoulder reach,
Too high for an up-from-the-small-of-the-back leverage.
She was in no-man’s zone.  Untouchable.  Victorious.

Now she sat back to enjoy the show.
The contortions!  The panic!
Finally, the cessation of engagement when
The goodwife sat panting on the tile bathroom step,
Envisioning the 911 paramedics kicking in the front door
To find her here, arms pinioned,
Sweat pouring and completing Barbra’s fun.

But malice always overshoots its mark.

Sitting trapped and palpitating on the cold tile, the belle dame found her footing,
And eyed Barbra.
And like Ceasar over the Rubicon,
She decided.

With purpose she freed her arms and opened her sewing box.
Selecting a pair of Gingher shears, tucking one blade tip under a screaming Barbra,
Our heroine . . .
(Delicacy requires us to turn our heads as the tide of battle turns!)


Emerging from the tile chamber, bathrobed and regal,
Leaving a carnaged field of battle in her wake,

She strode like Boadicea to the freezer,

For a Klondike Bar.