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.