We’re buying Tatty a picnic basket.
Can’t ruin the surprise of his gift,
Oughtn’t forget the fact that it’s
His birthday. So, we’re whispering,
Tinkles of quiet engagement, soft
Discussions on respectful subjects.
Meanwhile, we remember Mommy,
Too. We won’t disregard her tears,
Or fail to recall the owl potholders
She so carefully crafted the nights
Our baby slept intermittent hours.
Love was stitched into that cotton.
Still, Nephew’s nostrils are cuter,
Cost us no sleep or soiled diapers.
When wrinkled, they dribble well.
Auntie reminds us, anyway, to lift
Carefully, support wee noggin, not
Allow carelessness to create harm.
Next month, it’ll snow. Winter,
Will end picnics, stop us buying
Wooden hampers, lovely gingham,
Limit our el fresco dining, reduce
Vespertine activities of ants, kids,
Color fields unfathomably white.
After the first snowfall, we’re told
To cease tickling Cousin since he
Cries when we run our fingers on
His feet, gently skim his neck, or
Blow kisses. Mom’s sister charges
For each shed tear, collects interest.
In closed spaces, nice people confuse
Mommy’s shopping-related giggles,
Vet most of our gifts as impacting
Deliberately learned activities, rank
Among relatives, peers, colleagues.
The antidepressants aren’t helping.
Sisters birthing simultaneously can cause
Mood disorders. Auntie says people heal
Slowly, sometimes. She lifts our Nephew
Beyond our reach, places him in his crib,
Scolds us over impacts on Mommy’s life,
Rebukes our careless caresses, plentiful
Cuddles, even our displaced sentiments.
Emotional Quandaries and Other Soft Targets
Emotional quandaries, cat farts, besides pigeon droppings
Become regarded as much balderdash, claptrap, nonsense.
Excess “stuff,” left behind until rains, hot, else cold, wash
Away histories of such illustrious chemicals on sidewalks,
Otherwise “clean” them off by way of abrasive substances.
So much dancing in one’s head, submitting narratives with
Questions concerning: stately/proper responses to singular
Pandemics or trash collection, seriatum news schedules, or
Coverage of election primaries, untenable modus operandi,
Student loans, other bits and bobs becoming quickly rancid.
Even skilled midinettes can’t fix seams detached by neglect.
When pairs of would-be, springtime love birds twitterpated
Given sun, budding flowers, pheromones, juicy earthworms,
Suddenly avoid each other for easier mates, hearts fracture.
Thereafter, all manner of empty nests, lonely nights, maybe
Even quiet desperations trill aloud, alone, heavier than again.
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs.
Thereafter, she’s been nominated once for a PEN/America award in nonfiction, once for a Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, and three times for a Pushcart Prize in Literature in poetry. To boot, Hannah’s had more than thirty of her books published, and has served as an editor for several literary journals.