Homage to the Winter Moon

Douglas Rawlings

Apple trees stripped
of their summer fruit
squat like ancient mothers
fingering the intricate lacework
of their own moon shadows

and we
slipping into their solemn world
feel the evening’s strident headlines
grow silent
as the peace of this place
of this moment
sifts down into us
drifts into its own elaborate design
weaves deep within us
its own magical pattern

to carry us through
the days ahead

Flicker

Jacque Larrainzar

Oakland, CA

Where would you go
If nothing could bind you?
A flicker whispers in my ear.
I listen to the rain
Falling,
            falling,
                        falling
It takes me to where I want to be
outside these four walls.
I become a tree.
Standing still in place
Branches up, reaching out
Trunk, and leaves growing
Touching the clouds
Standing in place, not moving.
And yet,
Sheltering all kinds of life in body
Hugging the earth with my roots
In this confinement,
I find the path;
I am alive
A witness to these trying times
and all is good
Inside.

Image accompanying Stalled/Plans
Stalled/Plans

Sarah Bardeen

Berkeley, CA

In the first week
I was full of plans:
Language, songs to learn
bread to bake
murals to paint.
Long-neglected house projects,
suddenly front and center,
standing tall. Proud to be
of service.

I would use our collective
solitude, too,
to rethink the balance of
the world
and my place in it.

Now, eight weeks in,
I stand transfixed:
watching a hummingbird
hover and strike in the air
devouring insects
a flash of ruby red
at her throat.

Sorrow
at times
has left me unable to rise
from my chair.
But the dog comes and shoves
her muzzle into
my curled fingers.

My children sleep and grow, sleep
and grow
and the sky is bluer
than it has ever been.

first published in the San Francisco Chronicle, 05/09/2020