This is the revamped version Lady read at her Coventry Library reading last week . . .

Memorial Day

We were recovering from Covid
and me from my tummy tuck.
We were too weak
to mow the lawn, and it rained
and it sunned, and half the lawn
was grass, and half the lawn was
clover. I trampled through clover
to plant the sunflower rootings
that came in the mail,
the lavender clumps before it was
too late in the spring, bent over
holding my tummy tuck in one hand
lest I bust my stitches, digging
with my spade in the other

I found a garter snake
under decaying fall leaves.
The snake moved like water to the
faucet on the back side of the house.
It slipped into a gap between
the foundation stones.

Snakes do not have hands
but we do – here is the church
here is the steeple, here’s some cave
carved from an ancient river,
handprints paint souls
like leaves on trees.

I found a morel
in our yard by the compost gate.
It came up ready, nary any pull
ripping noiselessly from the ground

The honeycomb head wilted as I carried it
I brought it just to show it to my husband
I turned around to put it back –
I could not find out where it
came from

What can I say
but clay tests the hand
and it makes pottery

Last year I found one too,
a morel, and I expect next one
next year

We hold hands on our morning walk

Our dog stops at the telephone
pole at the end of the street,
looking for sweet new blades
of spring green grass

A neighborhood dog barks.
Somewhere out there
there’s agreement

On Audible we learned
birds recognize each others’ calls.
The robin hears the sparrow
the jay mimics the crow

The birds feel like we feel
It’s going to be OK
The mirror in the garden
says namaste

This year’s bees are cleaning
out last year’s hive beyond
the grand pine you can see from
the bridge on Pearl

The tree’s how we know
where our house is. Smith wants
to paint the other side of the
picket fence white so we can see
it from Pearl

In July as you step off the deck
you can smell honey from the oven
of the hive’s hot hatchery.
They fan their wings,
evaporate water from the nectar
to thicken into honey

The bees give warning bops
but rarely sting. We are on
their flight path to the field
they dance and waggle about

Last year they went up and up into
the trees, half the hive, I watched
them, a dark cloud up and over the
pine until they looked like
gnats in the robin’s egg sky

I watched until the view

This year
regardless of their tolerance
we will check every frame
until we get to the bottom of it
and wipe out the queen cups –
cells that look like peanuts dripping
off the frame bottoms – the bees make them
to propagate their hive, to swarm

We keep them –
we are keeping them regardless
of their consensus

Golden and angry
they’ll stay in their nest
and in the winter you can put your ear
to the hive, hear the beating
whir of the lion’s heart, an engine
powered by honey

And birds –
You know, birds’ eyes have four cones
where we have three. They can see
kingdoms in an ultraviolet canopy

Thoughts are in the trees –
living books, and mycorrhizal fungi
tap out signals from their feet

Pick up a leaf with the labyrinth
of your fingerprints –
it drains into a palimpsest
the map on your palm,
the rivers on the leaf

– Lady

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