“Fireworks” and Other Poems, by Jenny Bates

Fireworks
          The Beginning
Memory notches cornflower blue.
I walk with only one soul, it’s not mine.
Drive into shadow, I stop, fill the tank
with greenhouse gas.
Monarch butterfly lands on my face.
            You will stay silent, I know
            like that butterfly.
I smear my guts out on the page, seasick.
            The Ending
Just before dawn a burst of Coyote voices
end the night, rupturing light
            in a final display.
Spray of song, air piercing long adult notes
— pops of young stretching vocals
            set me on shore.
Gangplank steadied, fraying colors blink
into a calm sea.

I can’t Remember

“Your work is not to drag the world, kicking and screaming, into a new awareness. Your job is to simply do your work … Sacredly, Secretly, and Silently … and those with 'eyes to see' and 'ears to hear' will respond.” ~ The Arcturians
Thumbs Up! to the Orb spider who moved her web after a few days of gentle nudging
gleaming curves and droplets float among Bees
Bobcat spruce in a bed of catnip — you can almost hear him purr
Remember? Your footprints around my cage,
Experience — painting a picture
            false in almost every detail.
Twittering dusk as turbulent, excited as gossip,
            timid and quaking memory, pillars of salt in rain soaked
Sacrifice.
I wish I could shuffle the elements — deal them out like cards.
Inconsolable honeycombs of sanctuary, accepting faults for what
they were…
Dark blue, deep yellow breakthroughs.

Fragrance of Prayer

In a forest cathedral, there
lives a shameless poacher.
            Never Tame.
Ferret-prying answers, cultivated
dabbling platitudes.
Polite in misdirection.
Truth dispensed like food
the smell of chicory, gardenia-
secrets.
            Crow tells fawn dew-drop stories
            tales of the web-forest
                        the crying eye of a Luna moth wing
                                    a heart, knocking against trees
                                                frog darkness.
Madrigal of survival
sings of Dark Earth,
Timberwolves, Alone.
            Blank the end. Blank the beginning.
Do not crawl to heaven
clean cells like a monk’s meditation.

Jenny Bates, North Carolina. Member of Winston-Salem Writers. NC Poetry Society, NC Writers Network. Published books include,Coyote with Coffee (Catbird on the Yadkin Press, NC 2014).Visitations (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2019). Slip (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2020). Known local animal whisperer to Donkeys, Coyotes and “Crow Folk.”

I have lived in the Piedmont Foothills for 26 of my 39 years as a resident of North Carolina. I am locally known, in Stokes County, as an animal whisper especially to Donkeys, Coyotes and “Crow Folk.” My experience is full of friendships I would never have thought possible. Adjacent to Hanging Rock State Park I myself, have blurred the lines between what is tame and what is not. My surroundings for the most part are still and peaceful and timeless. The woods go on and on forever, you think, and there’s nobody in them but you. My poetry reflects all of this unique relationship I have to the area of land and the company of animals I keep. My poetry yearns and transfigures itself, like nature.   

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