Gold Finching

August’s cozy slant of light. Goldenrods, milkweed fronds floating. Hiss of water sprinklers. Dozens of birds flitting. Pokeberry bushes with purple bunches of drying berries.

The basil has been plucked and made into pesto. Bright green leaves, so fragrant. It is growing back slowly after harvesting. Next year I will harvest it earlier before the pagoda-shaped buds develop flowers. Or I can prune the buds below the node to make the plant think it is still growing.

The days are flying. Like a butterfly caught in a time machine. Show-time every morning. Blink. Toothpaste-splattered mirror. Puffy face. Eyes clearer now. The sagging double bags are sallow darkness under my eyes is gone. I am better. Than I was.

Soft white clouds floating by. Soft white clouds floating by. The voice of the hypnotist, just barely above a whisper. Like an aphid crawling across a leaf. Mantras reverberating…slowing the heartbeat, controlling the breathing. In and out. Out and in. The lung of the jungle. The plexus of the ocean. The sky is breathing. See it exhale through the trees. Yes. Then once again.

~ Craig Shaffer    from a summer long ago.


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