Experiment

I know it’s cold.
Earth’s bones are stiff.

I know because below my feet
and the deep dead leaves,
I feel a crunch.

Not a sodden, padded step,
but a crispness only felt
today
maybe tomorrow.

The dirt pushes up from under
each step
and shrugs
off the needles and grass binding.

She resists the advances
of footsteps and Winter,
in her crusty shell of ice
crystals.

I know it’s cold.
My bones are stiff.

I know because below my flushed
shell and the mist
beyond my face
is a satisfaction.

I know I can enter the cold simply
to question whether
or not
it is.

-A.J.M.

Don’t look for Icarus too long

A rush of wings quieted the technicolor spectrum
and sliding over the grass when I blinked at my feet
reverted the meadow to Kansas,

1939, behind falcon-framed shades and dizzy grays.
The moment shattered belief in Emerald City,
as gymnastic contortions pulled vision

up through a waxy and blurred lens—kaleidoscopic
in its melting flowers and stars released from shadow.
The taloned eclipse keeps rising,

and I smile again through eyes that stole the sun’s blue glare,
though next time I might only glance
at the circling dot.

-A.J.M

The Danish

Somebody I know once said the cold is part of him.
The Danish part,
or some loose remnant piece, left-over
from the Vikings, or some such,
still unsettled
but content
in spring air, always
remembering snow, ice
and winter.

He’s a story-teller, storying
an origin space with a state of mind.
Joy is reaching a stiff finger towards the cold air
to find it warmer,
when the heart roars loudly, riding
on the memory of sails
broken out of winter’s iron nails.

So am I.
I’m proud to be jacket-less
when the day I think is winter turns to spring.

-A.J.M.

“Sun Bonnet Sue’s Antiques”

Old things are wrapped within this moth-eaten quilt
of numbered road-stitches: this barn at mile 29

Signage suggests what glories can be found
behind square doors patched and painted
the same color
many different shades
like the greyscale calico
cement running beside it

How can a blanket excite me so?
Its twin, printed on Kodak
belongs
in grandma’s living room curio

Sun spoke of her
they grew up a county over but I had forgotten

-A.J.M.

Gopher’s door-knocker

Ran without streetlights and fell in the hole
address:
Where Shoulder Blades Touch the Ground, Under the Spruce Bough

Tried to find the tree silhouette somewhere past the pink nosy mountain
disoriented:
sequined black sky-mask sewn shut by pine needle and pitch

Gave thanks for porchlights and celestial neighbors’
hospitality:
because in full moons guests don’t drop as unexpectedly

-A.J.M.

Mitten layers

April snow
May bring flowers
wait and see
Will the mud melt more—or less—today?

Sometimes thermometers lie
Certainly, from April to March
when Earth has the fever
so her blood chills and sweats
maple syrup, strawberry
juice and ants

Without the heat, the sap won’t flow
Without the cold, we might never know

Don’t you think crocuses are most beautiful
on a crystal floor and the rising white wall?
Don’t step on it
its more fleeting than you.

She doesn’t intend the drifting
to be so contrary
Simply remember yesterday
to wear the sweater or not

-A.J.M.

Crickets

An exhale

sigh

can be a silent shout.
It won’t travel very far.

Maybe just
enough
to know me better.

The earth turns me towards the night
knowing long enough have I been awake.
The residue of sun shines on moon’s face.

I do have something to say,

maybe just the fog
from my breath
amidst the symphony of summer
and a shared moment of belief

The belief
or maybe the night is what
I want to tell you about.

-A.J.M.

Is this an agate?

In my closet are bits of strangeness tied up in a plastic bag
stolen goods brought here
when hurried home.

They won’t ever be lost again, but once
taken, will never be found
like they were once.

Each, like pieces-of-eight,
treasured in water and chest
within the second of resurrection
and the third, or fourth like it.

Each stone in the bag
tumbled marbles
for a sling of thought,

rounded like shot, or skipped at the sun
seated on the wave-dais, or nearly
too small for fingers and eyes.

I found them and saved them from forgetfulness,
no two similar, but on the third
tossed back to splash
in the mirror and fall on the glass
underwater.

So, thrown at myself every so often
make me remember
to reach down,
grab another.

-A.J.M