My mother and father
carry their cat Tabby
to my door in a squirming pillowcase.
They don't know there is
such a thing as a cat carrier.
They hand it to me,
turn back to their Chevy,
leaving on their last vacation,
before they have to sell the house,
abandon my mother's garden,
before they move to the place
where they want to teach her
to make a flower pot
from a cut-down bleach bottle.
But her hands will never
stir the kindergarten paints.
She will be busy
looking out the window.
For now, I take the pillowcase,
wave when she looks back to smile.
My father has already started the car.
My granddaughter's knees
bang the handlebar
as her suddenly grown legs
bike all the streets of childhood,
coming home sweaty at five.
She holds her nose
as she flips off the diving board,
pulls up her suit
as she surfaces,
covering her small breasts.
The day we load the homeward car
she gathers a bouquet
of Russian blue sage,
milkweed, coneflowers, daisies:
for my mother.
I warn her
They will never last the trip,
then fill a vase with water.
She holds it between her knees
for two hundred miles.
They hold a hundred year secret lease
on my old house in the woods.
Two kinds: the Chinese beetle
masquerading as the good luck-bringing
ladybug, and the boxelder bug,
originally at home in its namesake tree.
They both live here year round,
particularly enjoy bathing on the beach
of a sunny January window,
lolling on light bulbs,
and practicing their line dance
and cha-cha steps on the kitchen tiles.
They don’t infest the food,
apparently live on heat.
Vacuumed and crushed by the thousands,
still they return, members of the class Insecta,
the most numerous living
things on Earth.
Ten of them rest on the kitchen light
when I turn it off for the night,
five of each kind in a circle.
If I bend close I can hear their whispers:
We will be here when you are dust.
We will be here as long as Earth spins.
At the Equator
Everywhere the purplepink
burst of flowers at first
gladdens my beige Midwestern heart.
Everything grows all the time,
trees on top of each other,
climbing vines, a warm sea sprouts
lacey coral fans, hides caves
where yelloworange fish
sway with the tide.
Every day, twelve hours
of eighty degree light.
Every night, twelve hours
of black sky where
I cannot find
the North Star.
I am ready for home
where branches grow laddered
with buds unfurling into April,
longer days, as Orion disappears.
I am ready for days that change.
My contemplative practice is Christian in the broadest sense. I begin each day with exercise, listening to my body. Then I attempt to quiet my mind, so I can hear God. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, because he was human and knows all of our joys and sorrows. I pray to him for all those who are ill in body or in mind. I confess my continuing sins of pride, materialism, and judgment of others. I end with the Lord's Prayer. My practice continues during the day by attempting to notice whatever is around me, whether people or nature.
Carol L. Gloor has been writing, mostly poetry, since she was sixteen. Her work has been published in many hard copy and online journals, recently in the online journal Heirlock and in the anthology Feminine Rising. Her chapbook, Assisted Living, was published in 2013 by Finishing Line Press, and her full length collection, Falling Back, was published by WordPoetry in 2018.