OLD PICKET FENCE
Its crooked grin
shudders in the wind
of the kids I used to play with
whistles through its upside down teeth
When I was little it marked boundaries
Today it bows to the snow piled against it
where we built our igloos
I imagine that first crack
that snap of wind when it slanted
Light squeezes through the slats that are still tight
The same light caught in the water
that tumbled out of the hose into the little plastic pool
I am derailed by that taste of green
wild onions we used to chomp off the stem
I think I hear my Uncle
but it’s the conductor on a train curving into the tunnel a mile away
The old picket fence strikes against time
in the gaps between its splintering teeth
Under a sky of mockingbird gray,
the alligator showers.
Raindrops ride her leather ridges,
crackle in the swelling pond.
Turtles gather at sloped edges.
A red-tailed hawk’s wings drip and fan
like a swimmer wrapping himself in a towel.
Rain drums the scent
of minerals out of rocks,
pulses a song of terra cotta
like hands palming breath
from a clay jug.
Slakes the burnt earth with every beat.
Drops cling to buds
telling a fortune to be seen
by a three inch orange insect.
weave through dirt
like sewing needles
stitching a shirt,
till robins’ beaks reel them in
like ramen noodles.
seeds to sprout
then sneaks away.
Beneath a citrine sky
in oak trees
the sun shivers wet cabochons
on waxy leaves.
Cheryl A. Van Beek has had poems published in Sandhill Review, Long Story Short Poetry, Vox Poetica, Miracle, Poetry Superhighway and Five 2 One and has poems forthcoming in Poetry Pacific and River Poets. She has also written for a local newspaper. She is a caregiver for her mother and lives with her wonderful husband and their two cats in Wesley Chapel, Florida, “The Land of Flowers,” where she tends an ever expanding garden of diverse wildlife including the occasional alligator.