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Red Gladioli.

September 13, 2007

Through the window of your house they look like fire
Moses’ burning bush
Or a matador’s cloak held motionless
By a steady hand
Their stems uncut, ruffled petals
Tumble over the vase’s edge
As we paddle the evening canoe toward your dock

At dusk the river’s tone shifts
Sounds and shadows deepen as blue herons
And swallows head for home
Bullfrogs begin their evening belch and groan, a chorus
Picked up by others of their genus as we head south
Under the bridge we slip into a rhythmic sloshing of two paddles
Stirring inky water into eddies

The river is ours tonight
No speedboats, no eerily lit pontoons
Full of drinking revelers and the occasional Retriever’s head
Poking through the rails
Each lit house along the bank becomes a vignette of someone else’s life
We fill in the blanks with a voyeur’s delight
Our whispers punctuated by raucous croaks

At the bend in the river we raise our oars and drift
Here blackish water blurs into an even blacker bank
Protruding gray grasses pierce the murky edge
Where a pair of Sandhill cranes wade
Performing a slow motion ballet of leg lifts and drops
Beaks dunked in mud, long necks bent over
Seeming more like tails in this fading light

They eye us with barely perceptible eyes
Seven foot wingspans ready to unfurl
As we float in their monochrome landscape
Through the window of your house red gladioli look like fire

Copyright © 2007

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