Walking Mysteries

The sun burns her sultry way
to the horizon and a little breeze
blows celebration kisses as
my 13-year-old friend and I begin
our nightly journey. We head to the lake
first tonight. Showing up wet at the door
might cause a conniption, so I have
her mother’s blessing.
She is a keen swimmer,
ducking for a long drink. She comes
out quickly but I let her know
we can stay.
The water she shakes is cool.
She wades past white
rip rap and feathery strands of dark
green seaweed. Every now and then
she emerges to roll on the grass.
My belly laughs
at her antics are a gift
to her big heart.
Sheer joy.
Her mother tells me later what
I can see as we walk,
dragging her arthritic hind leg,
panting in her pain. And always,
tail wagging, head lifted to salute
the neighbor riding his bike calling
“Stella is taking a walk!”
Everybody here basks in the love
she radiates. I lead her on a different
route tonight, since a swim first
would be more
convenient for the humans, but
she is disoriented, pausing now to peer
at the dim shape of a house.
She recently lost her human
father, and she looks for him
in the few passing cars
which stop to greet her.
She sniffs Sweet Williams and thyme,
but I think her scent powers are fading.
I pet her and call her name and finally,
she simply accepts
her confusion, allows the unknown
to ground her into the same magnetic
earth we pace every evening. She is
my gift tonight. We treasure life
as we near the end of the road.

Daily Ragtag Prompt: Keen

I recycle 2016 Daily Word Prompts: Burn

Word of the Day Challenge: Conniption

Like A Wake Of Vultures

Like a wake of vultures

all day, we excavated the hastily buried

corpses.  Even the ancient ones

that should have crumbled

at the first breath of air

clung stubbornly

until rooted out with diligence

and respectful tears,

outright wailing and pushing fiercely

past invisible barriers constructed long ago.

This is a family constellation, and we are aligned

to create the space for new

love connections.  We treasure

that black menace that comes

to sit on your chest in the middle of the night

screaming,

take me, kill me, 

this life is too much to bear.

We turn the lights up slowly,

open the doors of the locked chests

and strip the tendons from the bones

until glistening white

they are ready for bacteria and fungus

to finish slow and steady.

I’ve made it sound too easy.

This is the hardest work you may ever do,

and it is never finished.

When we finally emerge into the blazing

blue sky, surrounded by loving resources,

two vultures are flying overhead.

I have seen them congregate often,

assume pecking order as they wait.

They can spot a carcass 20 miles away.

This is new: these two are not hunting.

Have we, performing their usual duty,

freed them to play?

One is leading the other like stunt pilots

twisting, turning playful as lovers.

They make a figure eight

above our uncomprehending eyes,

the harbingers of a great new life.

I’ve never seen this courtship dance

by beings who mate for life,

returning to roost with their big, noisy extended families.

When two vultures perform their graceful

rolls and loops right above you, rest easy

for the hard work is done

and now is the time

to read the signs and symbols

resonant in every sight and sound

pure love

the living world spreads before you like a feast.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: congregate