past all of the corn

when there is an extra burst of light in the noticeably dark restaurant,
once
and then twice,
just for a few seconds at a time,
coming from somewhere i can not place
and i ask my companions
what is that light?
and h says
the back door, at the same time that p says
the heavens opening up
and we all laugh

the hugeness of the red pink gold blue sky cradling me as I pedal home past all of the corn, and upon entering the wooded path the light fades so much so that the fireflies become the
flashing bike lights
of the fairies

teeth like skin

ly loses her top front tooth in the somewhat sacred five minutes when everyone is actually quiet and journaling in their sit spots scattered along the trail after lunch and she runs to me from the shelter of sticks that she’d claimed since monday,
smiling with her hand outstretched
and there is a little bit of blood where she had been wiggling and wiggling. i tell her yes you can bring it inside and get cleaned up.

when we’re all walking out of the woods back to the classroom, h, who is also seven years old, looks like she is thinking very hard and tells me she is jealous of ly losing her tooth.
i tell her that i didn’t lose most of my teeth until 5th grade, but i’m not sure it’s a comfort in the moment
and i am left to wonder about the cravings of growing, even if it means
the coming apart of us,
shedding teeth like
skin,
a process of molting i’d forgotten i’d done.

smashing a crowd of them

in the dream the girl is five years old, and it is clear that i had abandoned her. she looks up at me with her blue green eyes as if she’s asking the hardest question in the world, and i feel the pressure of whatever it was i had done weighing down on my chest.

kneeling in the wet ground i plant the
sunflowers
with c,
the ones i had started on my windowsill in june, the ones now with root bound bottoms all interlaced and overgrown, craning their still strong stems upward to see the sun and i say
sorry
that it took me this long to find bare earth to plant them. and the drizzling rain christens their new home.

but they’re not from around here, m, who is 6, says
about the gypsy moths, when i stop him from smashing a crowd of them that we find on the giant oak tree. well, are you from around here? i ask him, to which he nods emphatically, not knowing the connection. it’s just a little more complicated than that. i say, and we catch up with the group walking into the woods.

perfectly still

Lying perfectly still on the carpet in my room, at about three o clock in the afternoon on saturday, moving in and out of dreaming and acute awareness of the blood pumping through my body, thinking for a moment about the vietnamese walking stick bug, which is in order of insects called
Phasmatodea.

phasma is from the latin for ghost, referring to their excellent camouflage, which includes their ability to be perfectly still for hours and hours.

several of these walking stick bugs live in a glass enclosure at the education center where I work, and i stop by the welcome desk to watch their usually unmoving bodies
clinging to cut branches of multiflora rose.

the lifespan of a vietnamese walking stick bug is about five to seven months. they do not need mates to reproduce. there are only females in the glass enclosure, and they have been successfully breeding (parthenogenetically) for about
eight years.

place to start

stepping into the darkening woods from where I had just been collecting
handfuls of black-capped raspberries and wide open sky,
greeted by a hundred points of scattered
light flickering over the ferns and in between tree trunks.

a lightning bug spectacular.

what if this could be our way of celebrating july 4th instead of those booming light shows of independence?

straddling our bicycles
at the crosswalk of the traffic circle (roundabout) (rotary)
holding a lost (and now found) phone in our hands,
accessing the contacts list without a passcode,
and talking about the pros and cons of whether recent calls or favorites
would be a better place to start searching for the owner.

i wouldn’t want someone calling my most recent calls at 10:30pm on a monday night i say to r, so we go to favorites and we call
wade.