Every workday my lunch companion and I walked down State Street to campus and back. Every day I stopped at a shop window display to see a hand-carved wooden bird. Every day I laughed: the bird’s smirk-face and bulging bead-eyes reminded me of Ignatz Mouse from the Krazy Kat comics. In that first year on my own, it didn’t occur to me I could buy something like that just because it made me happy. I was content with a window view, but you know how love goes. One day my companion handed me a small white box. In white tissue paper, he had wrapped the wood-fashioned bird. That bird has flown along with me from home to home, each time carefully packed and unwrapped again. Forty years now, and it’s perched on the mantel over my fireplace. Forty years, and I still laugh when I see the pointed beak and upraised wings.
Copyright 2019 by Brian Dean Powers
Photo by the author
August ends, humid and hot
but that's not stopping you from hauling
yourself up hill after hill. Off-road,
across the grassy flat of a football field,
you stride with light, silent steps —
though your pace in this heat
is more jog than dash.
The run grows in its slow
and winding way, flourishing at last
on the path to Picnic Point. The trodden
ground is dappled, sunlight blazing radiant trails
through the leaves overhead. The breeze
sprays you with the fragrance of apples,
strokes your sweat-slicked skin.
You dodge and dart over tree roots
and rocks, breathing easy, immersed
in the spread of an incandescent day.
Sunlight runs among the treetops on photon feet.
Copyright 2004 by Brian Dean Powers
Published in Echolocations: Poets Map Madison by Cowfeather Press,
and in 2006 by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. During 2014, the poem was
displayed in the Reflections: Madison photography and poetry exhibit
at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.
Public Domain photo at commons.wikimedia.org