Teeth

img_0181
Teeth

Lunchtime.

Tiggy opens a can of tom8to soup and heats it on the stove. She slices the remains of yesterday’s loaf of bread into one inch cubes and fries them in olive oil and garlic. Tom8to soup with croutons. Then she puts two slices of bread in the toaster. Her father will only eat toast soaked in butter and layered with Marmite when he eats tomahto soup.

“Lunch is ready,” she calls out.

The black American Cocker Spaniel, bought by Tiggy’s late mother, in a moment of madness, by telephone, unseen, camps in the kitchen. It nests at the far end of the table, by the stove, and defends its territory with warning growls and a snapping of yellowed teeth. Tiggy will not go near the dog.

“Lunch is ready,” Tiggy calls out, a little bit louder. Dog, as they call him, growls and clatters its teeth. It has hidden a treasure in the folds of its old, gray comfort blanket, and guards it with the fierce, loving worry of a dragon protecting its golden hoard.

Tiggy’s father enters the kitchen as she places the soup on the table.

“I’m not ready to eat. Put it back in the pot.”

“What’s wrong, dad? I thought you were hungry.”

“My teeth,” he mumbles through a mouthful of pink gums. “I can’t find my teeth.”

“Where on earth did you put them?”

“I don’t know. If I knew where I’d put them, I wouldn’t have lost them.”

Tiggy’s father circulates round the kitchen opening drawers, lifting saucepan lids, and shaking empty yogurt pots to see if they’ll rattle.

“I can’t find them anywhere. I can’t eat lunch without my teeth.”

“But it’s only soup, dad, tom8to soup.”

“I don’t like tom8to soup. Your mother always made tomahto soup. Why can’t you be more like your mother?”

“Sorry, dad. I’ll call it tomahto soup, if that will make you feel better. But it’s still made out of tom8toes.”

“Don’t be so sarcastic. Help me find my teeth,” Tiggy’s father stomps towards the stove and Dog growls fiercely from its blanket as it guards its treasure.

“Take that, you dirty dog,” Tiggy’s father lashes out at Dog with his stick and cracks it across the head.

“Dad, stop that. It’s not Dog’s fault.”

Dog howls and spits out what it is chewing.

“There they are,” Tiggy’s father bends down, picks up his teeth, still hairy from the blanket and bubbly from Dog’s saliva. He pops his teeth into his mouth.

“That’s better,” he says, “now I can enjoy my lunch.”

Comment:

I included this short story, first published here on my blog on April 13, in Devil’s Kitchen, my new story collection that received third prize in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick David Adams Richards Award for prose this year. I will probably read this tonight, at the awards ceremony that follows the banquet here in Quispamsis. It’s a beautiful morning, with sunshine streaming through my bedroom window. Hopefully a full day of sun and warmth will help decrease the already diminishing flood waters that have struck this area of the Lower Saint John River Valley.

Sun Worship

IMG_0018

Sun Worship

Worship the sun
as it rises over the hills
from whence cometh
its golden glory.

Trees and their forest,
forces older by far
than this Christian god,
walk in darkness
until touched by the sun.

Worship the sun ropes
that tie you to your daily work,
rejoice in your bondage,
for no man kills
to glorify the sun.

Sun, my father and my mother,
sunshine that floods my spirit
and enlightens my world,
here, before sunrise,
I raise my voice in a song
praising you, and your strength,
the life you give, the death
you will one day bring.

 

 

Bird Flu

dsc03693

Bird Flu

Silent the mountain ash
burdened beneath berries
burnished from yellow
to orange but where are
the birds who bounce
and chirrup and chirp
silent now their domain
the bird flu gripping
at fountain and feeder
and stilled their voices
gone their brightness
banished from this garden
that suffers now in silence
butterflies adorn the cones
and bees bumble in bees’ balm
but where oh where have
our beloved birds gone
chickadee and phoebe
sparrow and goldfinch
robin blue jay and nuthatch
gone gone gone all gone
and only the family of crows
young and old croak on and on

This Fragile Light

IMG_0021

Kingsbrae 16.1
16 June 2017

This Fragile Light

This fragile light
filtering through
the early-morning mind
filled as it still is
with night’s dark
shadowy dreams
their dance demonic
or perchance angelic
as light rises and falls
in time to the chest’s
frail tidal change
the ins and outs
of life-giving breath

Bright motes these birds
at the morning feeder
feathered friends
who visit daily
known by their song
their plumage
their ups and downs
as they dazzle and spark
breaking the day open
with their chorus of joy

Comment: According to my journal, this poem was written on Saturday, 25 March 2017, and is number 32 in the Kingsbrae Cycle that I started on 3 March 2017. I posted it to the blog on 26 March 2017 and you can view it and the earlier comments by clicking here. This Fragile Light is art of the Kingsbrae Cycle in tone and mood. It didn’t need to be rewritten in situ, and I repost it in its original form. From now on, this pattern of a repetition of earlier posts together with a rewriting of earlier poems and the creation of new ones will be the central pattern of the Kingsbrae poems. What will change are the pictures accompanying the photos.

 

Dawn

IMG_0018

Kingsbrae 12.1
12 June 2017

Dawn

… early morning sunshine
creepy-crawly spider leg rays
climbing over window and wall
my bed-nest alive to light
not night’s star twinkle
but the sun’s egg breaking
its golden yolk
gilding sheet and pillow
billowing day dreams
through my still sleepy head …

… the word feast festering
gathering its inner glimpses
interior life of wind and wave
the elements laid out before us
our banquet of festivities
white the table cloth
golden the woodwork’s glow
mind and matter polished
and the sun show shimmering
its morning glory on garden and porch …

Dawn

IMG_0021

 

Kingsbrae 11.1
11 June 2017

Dawn

Early morning sunshine
creepy-crawly its spider
-limb rays, as it climbs
over window and wall

My bed nest alive to light
not moonlight nor
night’s star twinkle but
the sun’s egg breaking
its golden yolk gilding
sheet and pillow as day
-dreams cast flickering
shadows black and white
on the cave wall screens
lining my still sleepy head

Mist

fundy 05 mist+wolfepipers 077

Kingsbrae 10.2
10 June 2017

Mist

Tisty-tosty ,
this morning mist,
white wisps
blindfolding bushes,
draping our world
with silent birds.

Eyes out of focus,
we squint
at shape and form,
mystery in the magic
of movement,
the air a-shimmer,
spider webs glistening.

Long lost sailors
return from distant seas,
dead warriors wake,
our ancestors walk
backwards in time
to greet us
in this mythical
dreamland that swathes
our senses,
wrapping us
in the mystery of mist.

Pan pipes:
a melancholy melody ,
memories
moving among the reeds.