Dearest Nature

Poetry by KB Ballentine


You know how it feels,
wanting to walk into
the rain and disappear.
–Mary Oliver

Light lingers though clouds streak the west,
crowd closer while I watch rain sheeting before it arrives.
A thorn pierces my chest,
wind wandering the leaves
as a torrent of drops smacks the canopy,
lightning cracking the sky.
Even the birdsong has stopped under this barrage,
and nothing can divert the pain –
your absence like the fog seeping in,
surrounding me.

I should go inside, flip on the lights, the television,
anything to bring the world back to life.
Why bother?
There’s no warmth in LEDs and no reality
without a script. No, the emptiness,
the spinning mist are truth, are fact for now.
I need only abandon the porch and step
into that visible darkness.


Goblin Leaves

Turtle doves purr beneath a tent of stars,
as Pegasus pursues Cygnus over the horizon.
Terra cotta and sand give way to smoky twilight,
stone hearths winter-gray with ash.
Squirrels bursting with nuts scrabble up the pines,
messy nests balanced on a needle-sea of always-green.
We’re captured by the in-between.
Some green, some gold, a flare of scarlet
through thickets. Low-throated cries, the warning
call of sandhill cranes ignites the blaze of autumn
before frost blisters the ferns, silent snow waiting
to drape the branches. Sunflowers slump,
spilling summer among tumbling leaves.
Spiraling faded zinnias, the last bee.


Wrapped in Snow-Light

In the Old Place
 muskox drift and foxes trot
through snow, flakes gusting
 like a blizzard of dogwood blossoms
through air stripped of moisture,
 parched and stinging like thorns.
Polar bears and seals leap
 across floes, gliding
under cracks, through leads
 until they loll, exhausted, together
in an archipelago of blue ice,
 jagged edges. Ink-dark sea,
blinding sky – absorbed in arctic dreams.


Unlock the Door

In another time
in the dusk of your dream –

somewhere a bow strokes its violin,
frost shirring branches and windows,
 glittering under the moon,
an owl beckoning the night.

We don’t live in that place,
           in that peace
though we’re always searching –

A parade of coffins tracks our minds,
stacks as massive as the pyramids,
sands spitting in a wailing wind.
        Grit rips as deep
as grief, gets trapped on the empty plains –

an echo that bursts through your sleep:
             we are here.