The Whale at Home

When I rattle my keys in the front door
back from my daughter's, back from months on the road
this house looks at me. Where have you been?
it asks. I have nothing to say to you.

So here we are. Silent and dark.
My daughter and her cats are not here.
My hound dog Rex–who smiled on the front seat
beside me nine summers across the continent–

is not here. Sometimes I pretend he is close,
that he goes in and out the door with me
that he snores on the sofa. When I lie to sleep 
in the soft dark, I can hear him scrabble his blankets.

But I don't catch the gleam of his eyes
as I enter a room. He doesn't slam out 
the dog door to bark at someone on the road.
He is as silent as the house–

this house, which is too big for me. I read a book
by a woman who lost the right half of her brain to a stroke.
She said that going down the hallway at school
was like being a giant electric blue whale.

She had no edges except what bounced against the walls.
If we take it from the right brain, the dream brain
always there, as stars are, just masked by daylight
then we're always the whale.

In this silent house, that whale grows.
I become the monster of the Great Sea Blues
blue electrons rising up to the loft and the bedroom
and out through the door, under the wisteria to the studio.

If I get too small–say in the closet–the electrons
squawl through my hearing aid, electric ringing blue
and the Japanese bell with its blue tail of paper
rings back over the vent in the kitchen.

So it's ringing with sound, this place, 
radiant electric
and my dog is waiting in the garden.

—Sarah Webb, written to Eva H.B. prompt. the line "when I've been gone"

Crow love

The female crow stood before her beloved on the electric wire,
her head lowered, her beak bowed to her breast.
Her partner turned toward her and generously 
began to preen her head with his beak.
Never have I seen such tenderness among crows. 
All of a sudden he was done and stepped away from her.
Determined, she scooted closer to him, bowing her head once more.
In response, he hauled his closest leg up and around into the air
and whacked her from the side with his foot. 
Unfazed she stepped towards him again, bowed her head, and squawked.
This he could not resist. Obediently, he turned once more to preen her, 
and then flew off with her in close pursuit.

—Laurie Winnette


We’ve all been here before…. I’ve been you… you’ve been me. I’ve been the tree, the fox, the grape, the house….. the sunlight…. I’ve been it all. There is no separation. Energy does not die, just evolves. We are the incense that burns and scents the air… ash to ash… I will always rise, dissolving and transforming. I am EVERY thing because I am NO thing.

—Jenille G. Cross-Figueroa

Holy Hush

Walking the side yard
I heard Carolina grasshoppers, 
even before I saw them,
announcing take-off
sending them sailing
above tall grasses—

My presence 
made them hush,
a sacred pause, 
before they landed. 

of private voices,
echos of
intimate conversations. 

Your presence, 
my hush,
a sacred pause,  
before responding, 
when I carefully consider 
every word. 

—judy b myers

I lived

I remember I lived once.
Truly lived.
It was not the mud we trudged through to get where we were going,
But maybe it was despite it all.
It was dark, the sun still asleep
Before the world awoke for the first time.
Perhaps we were all asleep, our eyes not seeing 
as we trudged through the field
where we would lie, waiting,
asleep in the stubble for what?
We thought we were hunting the wild geese 
That flew south for the winter,
But we didn’t know.  We had
No idea what we were about to see, to grasp, to experience.
The sun peaked over the horizon,
Blinking a sleepy eye and spreading its light
Outward to where we lay, 
Gazing up into a still dark sky.
And then, without waiting, the sun vaulted into the morning
To the fanfare of thousands of wings 
Beating the air,
And the cacophony sound of geese 
Crying to the sun, to each other, to me.
I’m here!  I’m here!
Their wings darkened the sky
As they circled, faster and faster,
A vortex of sheer power and being.
Their cries deafening as they rode the wind,
As I rode with them.
I’m here!  I’m here!
I was one of them flying the skies, defending the flock, raising their young.
I was not hunting them.  
They were hunting me.
Making me their own.
And, then they were gone.
The sky cleared,
The sound of beating wings and shrill cries
Faded into the morning.
They were gone
Back to where they came from,
Back to where they lived.
I remember I lived once.
Truly lived.
Just for a moment, I was part of it all.
And it was enough.

—Paul Causey
Prompt: “A Witness to Creation” by N. Scott Momaday