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La Perfeccion

My Honduran neighbor buys a Hummer and washes it every day. Lovingly, he strokes it with the finest lint-free chamois, applying layers of special chemicals to every gleaming surface. He decides to cut down down the silver maple next to the driveway to prevent pollen from coating it and to keep it safe from robin droppings. He removes the tires weekly, to clean the brake pads and axles. After double cafeteria shifts required by the payments he sits in his garage beside the car and lets it idle,...

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Six

There is a way she has of lying down behind me when I sit out on the lawn that is both invitation and request. I reach back and plow my fingers through the arctic fur to work the muscles in her neck. She presses a blunt white paw into my ribs for leverage and the fire in her hazel eye sparks and smolders. We remember the land bridge. The crossing we made together. And we confirm anew this old, mammalian pledge of fang and thumb. This co-dependence of six legs....

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Unkenneled

  Relief softens his form as he flattens himself on the floor, nose resting at my heel. Paws subtly flex and curl. Tension flows into the grain of the oak. Five hours of fear, chain link and concrete, and the sting of being ignored. His eyes close. He is happy. Now in my kitchen with his ear flap smooth against the cool wood his broad nose blows small puffs of warmth at my heel. He relaxes. How easy it is to give comfort. How lucky when kindness is simple. This one just wanting release...

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Surprising Coyote

  The thing I least expect is to be tricked into laughing. My plan is to blubber and wallow. It’s going well. I am stewing in my stories of defeat. This I choose. But I am not the only one here. And I am not the only one who chooses. I am interrupted by the arrival of the Sacred Fool. A springy young male emerges from the willows. He is so close I smell the forest on his fur. I am levitating in delight. He doesn’t see me. Now he does! Leaps in a goofy spasm, darting away with his ears...

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Dreams for Earth Day

As usual, I’d like to share a poem this Earth Day. I must admit I don’t actually like this poem that much. No, let me rephrase that. I don’t like the way the second stanza is composed. But in its way it has a conversation my heart wants to have. And in my way of thinking, that’s about the most you can ask of a poem. The question of what the hell to do with myself in these times is one I have grappled with for years. I left my career in the environmental movement mainly...

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