Bio Note: I've recently had the good fortune to become a volunteer with the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, collecting behavioral data on African lions, black bears, Allen's swamp monkeys, Canada lynx, and snow leopards, with the aim of giving them the best lives possible. Animals often show up in my poems, and I won't be surprised if some of the above are among them. I am the author of the poetry collections The Wordless Lullaby of Crickets (Kelsay Books, 2023) and Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound, the novel Infraction, and other books.
No one is in a hurry here. The day takes its time unfolding, and we unfold with it, rising when sleep has inched away, pouring some coffee, sitting on the deck facing the scrap of lake, itself laid-back, unruffled, mirror smooth, letting the clouds watch themselves as they amble slowly across the placid sky. A heron drifts lazily by. A squirrel drapes itself like a tiny rug athwart a branch of the oak, whose leaves can barely find the energy to tremble. A stilt-legged bird stands in the shallows, as patient as a rock. Only the hummingbird seems not to have gotten the memo, zipping from flower to flower like it’s got a tight schedule to keep. For us, the clock has lost meaning. We eat when hungry, swim when hot, go to bed when the day has unwound itself like a spool of thread rolling down a gentle slope. Eventually, a nonchalant moon clambers up among a placid sea of stationary stars so languidly it makes the snails look like Lamborghinis. When at last we make our way to sleep- softened sheets, the low hum of crickets provides a lento soundtrack to the dreams that ease into our leisure-sodden brains.
We all want to die peacefully, without pain or regret (which is its own kind of pain). My grandmother-in-law died in her sleep. That’s how I’d want to go, we all said. Once, I saw a robin on the apex of the neighbors’ roof. As I listened to its exquisite morning song, a hawk snatched it midnote and flew into a clear sky with its sonorous breakfast treat. Maybe, I think now, that’s how I want to go, with a song on my lips that’s destined never be finished.
Candace Parker, Please Don't Go
On rumors that the WNBA star might be retiring I know I’m late to the party, but you are the life of it, the competition magician, the facial raconteur, the glue that holds the crew together. How dull it would be without you—your passion and panache, your sparkle. You are the high priestess of basketball, the court clown, the ringmaster. How can we know the dancer from the dance without you at that hardwood hoedown? You are not the team. I know that. But you are the caffeinated tea in teamwork. Note: “How can we know the dancer from the dance” is from the poem “Among School Children" by W. B. Yeats.
©2022 Yvonne Zipter
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