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Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Natural Selection of Motherhood Poems I Will Not Write, Tim Pfau

A fossilized queen ant, the size of a humming bird, was found in Wyoming. I once lived there too but didn’t meet them all. Still, I’m certain that there are none so large living today. I suspect that’s her fault. Carelessness around mud or fresh volcanic ash, (I looked it up. It was Greenriver mud.) is never a good idea and can have dire consequences, a perspective is probably not shared by small mammals the size of hummingbirds.

A brown spider, larger than your nostril but smaller than my eye, has a web in a corner of my garage. I call her Arachnida nervousa because she’s quite aggressively guarding an egg sack. We just wave when we pass, me with my hand, her with both front legs. I remember reading, with the same clarity that I remember reading poems by William Stafford which he never wrote, that baby spiders eat their mothers. If memory serves her, she could clear that up for me, but so will passing time and attention, in both cases.

The chances seem good that someday, like wild dogs with an aging zebra, my grandchildren will run down and devour a slow moving relative, probably an old one. Their own pups will play with the bones, enjoying each other, the sunshine, rolling and yipping in the bright dust.

Family and friends circle around me. Most are stable and reliable planets appearing in the sky every couple of weeks. Others blaze by with excitement in orbits like comets’, always a surprise. Where I was going with this is that not every bright light in the sky should be trusted without carefully calculating its path. Where I landed with it, again, was the realization that I am not the Sun. My wife is. All of us spun to her at some time or another and keep hanging around. I suppose that means I’m Mercury, hot, and close, serving as a celestial short stop, catching the fast ones before they get through. Sometimes, my back hurts.

God and dandelions are both immortal but dandelions are much easier to see.

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