Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Poems by Michael Estabrook


A garter snake fatter around than most rests

like a lazy dinosaur

on the warm rocks alongside the front walk.

I'm surprised when my wife

asks me to catch him

and let him go in her flower garden.

“But he's a snake,” I say.

“Yes,” she says,

“and I want him in my garden

to get rid of the moles and mice.” I smile.

“He will get rid of the moles and mice won't he?”

I smile again, “Why of course, honey.”

Though I know he's too small for that

I simply cannot resist the temptation

of putting a snake back

into the Garden at the request of a Woman.

sea urchin spines

The landscape alongside the highway

is frozen white

broken splintered trunks of trees and stumps

poking from the frozen-over lake like

sea urchin spines.

I’ve left work to take a drive,

couldn’t stand being inside one moment longer,

needed some air, some sun.

Even a solitary drive

along the highway is better than

being stuck inside,

my face in the dirty computer screen,

fingers clicking across the keyboard

like sea urchin spines sticking into my soul.

Kettling of Hawks

Grainy-textured turquoise hue like a dying flame

scrapes at my white and dusty collar bones,

and at the base of my thick skull, scrapes

until my flesh is pink again,

dream-like streaks tug at my soul

or perhaps it’s my psyche, I frequently confuse

the two, then my wife speaks, cracks open,

like cracking open a pink lobster, my revere –

“One of the birdwatchers on the mountain today

lent us his binoculars so we could see

the hawks kettling, rising up over the trees

where the tree-line ropes off the horizon,

and it was an amazing sight to witness.

Have you ever heard of kettling before?”

“Well no,” I say, and while I’m uncertain

if it is a correct term it sounds good,

sounds poetic – a kettling of hawks, as it turns out,

is a gathering of hawks flying together

in a flock, rising and swooping,

sometimes lazy, other times intense,

and as the hawks flew, pumping their wings

then gliding, through my psyche, or maybe

my soul, they caused

the scraping to cease for a time

in the dusk before nightfall,

and that made me feel good

for the first time that day.
Michael Estabrook is a baby boomer who began getting his poetry published in the late 1980s. Over the years he has published 15 poetry chapbooks, his most recent entitled “When the Muse Speaks.” His interests include history, art, music, theatre, opera, and his wife who just happens to be the most beautiful woman he has ever known.


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