Raccoon

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Mid-morning along the winding coastal road,
snout pressed to the pavement: a large raccoon.
No swerving – I stop and pick it up
with an old towel from the trunk of the car.
It is heavy, striped fur soft, still warm,
little hands so like mine.

Carefully I lay the body in a ditch
thick with the honeyed leaves of autumn
for I, too, want to die untrampled.
Turning to go, I see a family
of eyes intently watching
from the light-soaked foliage
on the other side of the road,
eyes that look directly into mine.

Like any good mother, she led the way,
taking the unstoppable car’s blow,
last night’s quiet masked bandit,
locked out of our world, shuffling
empty-handed back into hers,
heaped love that padded by, unrevered,
whose conversation with this earth
is now done, opening wide
the mouths of her young.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible” forthcoming from Finishing Line Press this spring. Copies can be reserved at: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

It Rains For Him

Heavy Downpour
Heavy Downpour — Image by © Anthony Redpath/Corbis

who loves it more than sunshine,
the streets so wet tonight, they are tongues
babbling in the dark—glossolalia—
they gleam baptismal, it’s like
the slosh of good wine in the mouth,
how many ways can it be praised? and
how auspicious!—easier to leave the house
he was born in twenty-one years earlier
when drop by drop it taps on every window
calling his name, and out he goes for a walk
(like having a bath sprinkled with Dead
Sea salts, he can’t help but wallow in it)
such a glad soak, hair dripping, shoes
squishing already reaching the corner
and look, the light is with him,
the interminable traffic has stopped,
the next step beckons—that wide avenue
known to swallow a man whole—
now’s when a mother crosses
her fingers—momentum will carry him
curb after curb walking on water like this.

This poem was first published in the Taos Journal of Poetry & Art in 2017 and is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March. Copies are available for preorder here.

 

Date Night

Photo by photo-nic.co.uk nic on Unsplash

Often my husband and I meet for dinner at a busy restaurant.
I’ll ride the bus so we can drive home together in his truck.

Whoever’s there first grabs a couple of seats at the bar,
orders two glasses of Malbec, sips one and waits.

I like to think that’s how it’ll be in the afterlife—

one a little behind the other, the door opening
into the hum of an obviously popular place.

Zigzagging through the crowd—that glad spark
of recognition, both of us brimming with news.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, due out in March from Finishing Line Press. It’s been given a 2 day grace period so YES, pre-orders are still available until Jan. 14th !https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

This Water Knows

Photo by Alex Suprun on Unsplash

Below this whale song of waves: the fin-happy,
sounding through all the dumb canyons
of the sea, coloured crayon-bright in the dark
flooded basement of the earth, shadow-drifted
across aqueous meadows prismed with light,
blending with gray rock and white sand,
knobby coral and long swishy green,
ferned and prickled, smoothed and elongated,
troubled hard, dense, small

but here, and free—
the mute-mouthed, mandibled hungry
and the hunted—to a grotto-chased,
honorable death. Or those given eyes
to see the dangling hook, the silver
door swinging shut before it’s too late.
Those at least, weapons in the hand.
Not a cavernous ground zero.
Not here.

But this water knows, in its reach, how
my bikini got its name. Makes me think
of dreams I barely had, so quickly did they
sink from sight, but whose notes floated
long after, as if there was something
I could yet retrieve. In a tidal lullabye
of voices I cannot hear, the many mouths
of the sea open and close, open and close
lips I cannot read.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March. Like to read more? Pre-orders (upon which the print run is based) end soon – January 12th!  May this new year be as exciting for you as it is for me!

Morning Blessing

Photo by Joseph Greve on Unsplash

One large glass of water daily
before the endless cups of green tea,

a glass that stood wrapped
a long time in my father’s two hands,

head bowed to it, eyes closed
to the rest of us at the table.

I didn’t know what he thought
or felt or said to himself right then

nor how thirsty I was
for a silence so meant

until I felt it filling me too,
slaking the cracked creekbed

of rushed and ordinary days.
Fifty-five years old and home for a visit,

back in the cradle
of his slow kind hands.

This poem won first place in Pandora’s Collective 2012 contest and is included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”. Only two weeks left to reserve a copy here!

Christmas Lights

Photo by Arun Kuchibhotla on Unsplash

Children grown, two out of three gone,
we drag our feet putting outside lights up,
buying and decorating a tree.

We settle for the bushes, a whimsical snaking
of lit Smarties among leaves, get the smallest tree
nobody else wants. That stormy year

our street lost power as Christmas day turned
to evening, and we had a dozen hungry guests
roaming the house, bumping into things.

Because the gas stove had been cooking a turkey
for hours, it continued, and we cheered
the range burners could be lit with a match.

The two gas fireplaces burned more sedately—
fan flow interrupted—and of course there were
candles on the dining room table anyway.

My husband fired up a generator, plugged in
a lamp, stereo and the bulbous bush lights; orange
and yellow cords extended everywhere.

I imagined our neighbours gazing out
from dark windows at the bright cosmos
of our house, the raucous hum of

determination in the air. If Christmas
was all about seeing the light
in each other, it didn’t fail to surprise:

how happy it made me, having a reason
to move closer, peer and be peered at,
glimpse among flickering faces the child

I was before my heart got wrapped in
scar tissue, who once got a letter from Santa
saying he was on his way, and didn’t I

then on the eve of my seventh Christmas
see him tiptoe past my bedroom door!
I miss the girl who believing, saw.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Also, my chapbook “Irresistible” is still available for pre-orders until January 12, 2018. Since advance sales determine the pressrun, such purchases make a huge difference!
In the mood? Many thanks – you can reserve a copy here: 

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

Such A Blue

Photo by Danilo Batista on Unsplash

I sit down beside my elderly father,
quietly clasp his hand, cross
and then uncross my legs.
Long flight to get here, long
battle with emphysema and
an overworked heart for him.
The hospital door that swings
both ways for me, obdurately
keeps a good soldier in.

Not close enough, this chair,
and impossible for us to hug,
dear dad tied down—
tubes coming and going.
All a man can do to break free
is look out the window,
so I do too, and with him
simply breathe in the blue
of a cloudless sky,

“scattered light,” science says,
that our eyes make into
an unrippled sea—but
there’s never been such a blue
falling through me, so endless
a promise of more
slowly it fills the room,
steadies the listing boat
neaped on a perilous shore.

This poem is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March, 2018, and available for pre-order  here until January 12, 2018. Since advance sales determine the pressrun, my thanks to all who take a leap of faith and buy my book!

 

 

 

Hunter and Ziggy,

Photo by Ken Reid on Unsplash

a rascally lab-shepherd
and grumpy old cat
didn’t much like each other;
both bristled to share
the same family,
same house.

After the fire,
finding them:
curled up –
for the first time,
together
under the upstairs rug,

the cat that couldn’t
swat death away,
gathered into
the dog’s clumsy paws.

Photo by Cat Mapper (Max Ogden) on Unsplash

These few lines pretty much describe the real Hunter and Ziggy and noonday electrical fire when their family was out. It’s included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available now for pre-order from Finishing Line Press at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

As pre-sales determine the pressrun, early ordering makes a huge difference and is much appreciated! Many thanks to those who’ve already found this opportunity “irresistible”!