Wind shuttles twelve coco-palms out our kitchen window,
like memory of rain on a hand-split shake roof––
the roof I nailed up––bright cedar that the yellow-jacks loved,
teaching nonviolence while they crawled my arms
by the hundreds, drunk on cedar oil, but no sting.
The susurrous palms lull me on this day
as Jorge fits mocha tile on new
poured-concrete counters––next I join faucet
and P-trap to the water lines set in the slab.
The gravity of village water fills in-ground cisterna,
shallow-well pump boosts and effluent flows downhill––
a recurring life pattern of in and out––
subtle like the dream of a whisper.
Shuttling palms weave deep stories,
the way rounded cobbles tell miles of river travel
by what’s worn missing, a kind of negative capacity.
Our bodies tell well-worn stories of foot travel,
sumptuous dining, childbirth, and daily scrabble––
reminders of forebears’ gathering,
on the move like kindred crows flying
Marys Peak to the river to glean grain spilled
on asphalt, roadkill, insects and dead fish.
My Joplin mother taught how every still moment
first appears half-full of opportunity and movement,
and healthy folks strive to ramble miles of footfall,
an ancient tradition of use or lose it.
Steve Jones journals daily, his poems lodged in regional publications. He is a retired high school and college writing teacher and Oregon Writing Project Co-Director at WU (presently GFU). He is currently completing construction on a Mexicana casita, and also husbands a thirty acre weald, bicycles daily, and tromps Oregon greensward spanking lil’ whitey.