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  • Beginning

    This lack of poetry
    within me
    is a curious conundrum
    for a poet.

    So many words I should
    be writing;
    odes to winter's frozen beauty,
    'plaints of bitter cold.

    Perhaps a sonnet or sollioquy
    to cardinal or squirrel
    who daily come to feed
    at proffered meals of seed and corn.

    Perhaps sestina or cinquain
    lamenting loss of meadows,
    flowers, trees and greenery
    unable to continue without warmth and sun.

    I find this lack of inspiration
    disturbing
    as if my soul is frozen
    in this endless, icy tomb.

    Laundry Day

    Beginning with the towels,
    a special day without detergents
    one load with vinegar
    a second with baking soda
    to restore absorbency and fluffiness

    four loads in all, too many towels
    to do at once. Then bedclothes,
    sheets and pillowcases,
    flannel and fleece,
    clean bedding to caress the skin at night.

    And ordinary things to follow,
    the week's parade of fleece and cotton, denim,
    underclothes and socks,
    assorted rags,
    divided into piles of dark and light and delicates.

    Routines become our lives,
    the necessary items we cannot escape
    done for the sake of cleanliness,
    conformity,
    respect for self and others, and decency.

    The Responsibility of Pets

    Sleeping in for me is 6 am,
    any later, and Olivia will lightly paw
    my cheek, her bladder urging her
    to be relieved, so I must rise,
    dress, wander down the stairs,
    turn off alarm, array her majesty
    in sweater, and allow her access
    to the yard where yesterday,
    bundled in ski vest and bibs,
    heavy boots and jacket,
    balaclava, gloves and goggles,
    and armed with bright orange plastic shovel,
    I removed the snow from sidewalk and the path
    where she takes her constitutional.

    While she attends to morning needs,
    I pour fresh water in her bowl,
    scoop food from can to dish,
    and set about the human needs
    of coffee, eggs, and sundry items to consume,
    until I hear her scratching at the metal of the door,
    bring her in, remove her sweater,
    and tell her what a good girl she has been.
    She tolerates my fawning for a moment,
    then patters cross the kitchen floor
    to lap at fresh water. When she has had her fill
    she crosses underfoot to curl beside my chair
    where I will sit to read my Bible,
    eat my breakfast, but only after
    I have set her bowl beside me.

    Fred
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