Bio Note: This Fall I took a month to drive up into the Pacific Northwest, to visit with a few friends along the way and to spend two weeks at the Helen R. Whiteley Center at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan Island. I'd stayed at The Whiteley twice before, in 2004 and 2013, and found it a wonderful place to explore and write. Like much of my work, the new poems I came away with are very place-based. I am the author of three chapbooks, the most recent of which, Cauldron of Hisses (Arroyo Seco Press, 2022), is about wildcats, human family, love and the pandemic.
How Fast, How Slow
I don’t mind the sun’s fierceness in the east window, splatting me right in the face, or the woman’s voice amplified on the ferry to spur people to their cars. It’s fine with me that my muscles hesitate to lift me from the window nook where earlier I spied two people mummified in thick jackets on a rubber dinghy, just looking about while I watched them through binoculars. Wildlife abounds. Finally one put hands to oars, stirred the placid water and they disappeared. The deer may come again with her fawn to browse salal between madrone and Douglas fir, or she may not. Now the sun is swathed in trees. The window nook grows dark. See? How fast it goes.
with thanks to the community at Friday Harbor Labs Students leave their wet shoes on their porches and at night the foxes steal one from each pair. They take them to their dens, they line them with mouse fur and feathers. Wedged into holes made larger to embrace them, sandals and sneakers become room dividers, beds until it’s time to update the decor, drop castoff furniture by trails to startle runners who will leave damp footwear on their steps again.
©2022 Penelope Moffet
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to say what it is about the poem you like. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL