Small Conceits

Musings. Stories. Poems. From where I stand.

Strawberry Moon

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The punchline

{Who cooks for you? Who? Who cooks for you?}

nearly

escaped

me.

——

In my one hand,

the map to a dream —

my heart a fluttering sparrow

as my boots thumped the wild

mountain road at its border,

tangled with grass and mud

and blackberry vines.

The songs of warblers in the air,

and crowsfoot

garlanding the west slope

under patiently watching pines.

 

We were talking and not talking

in waves as we drifted

along the western boundary.

He swooped momentarily out of view

reappearing a moment later,

extending a gift from his sudden dive:

a striped feather,

almost bulbous at the shaft

and narrowing to its ragged tip.

 

“This is for you,” he told me.

“Hawk. No…turkey,”

he said, brow furrowed.

“I always confuse them.”

But as it crossed my empty palm,

the feather whispered:

 

{barred owl}

 

The pines sighed in the breeze.

Strangely shaken, I thanked him

and tucked his gift tenderly

into the nest of my backpack.

 

I retrieved the map from the pocket

I’d folded it into, a wrinkled square.

It felt strangely warm in my hand

after the feather.

I let my fingers trace its lines,

feeling the leathery stirring

of bat wings from a shaman’s dream

deep in my chest.

 

{Something I must do —

something to gather,

another to release —

to redraw this map

and claim my Home.}

 

Later, back in my room,

I searched for confirmation

from Turkey, from Hawk.

But the finding…the finding:

the wrong territory,

an unlikely answer, improbable but

unmistakable:

Barred Owl.

 

Across the thinning veil

of dreamstime and magic,

Bat lazily woke to scold me,

opening only one eye

and yawning his impatience:

 

{Why would you think

the feather didn’t know? 

Child: Leave behind

this doubting mind of yours.

Shed this foreign skin.

Follow the feather home

to your heart.}

 

Light pierced a crack in the curtains

and lit the map, lying on my bed,

its creases carefully smoothed flat,

the feather lying across it:

a Strawberry Moon,

full and bright and ripe

with possibility.

 

A ceremony was circling.

I twined my fingers

with the moon’s around the feather

and began.

——

And the joke

{my heart did not know

to be hungry

for this land}

is

on

me.

 

Author: Denise

I'm Denise. I believe that stories lurk in all the tiny moments that make up our everyday lives. They wait, curled into themselves, until someone finds them and jailbreaks them, leading them out into the light. And there's always a story.

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