Lunch with Jesus

Met for lunch with Jesus
at Alice’s Restaurant,
the one that’s on the beach in Malibu.
He drove up in a beater pickup truck,
wore a robe, white linen,
a rope around his waist,
sandals on his feet.
The hostess said the lunch crowd beat us to the booths;
We’d have to wait
to have a window with an ocean view.
Jesus said he didn’t mind.
He said he had the time.

Teresa of the High Sierra

Grand Tetons at Colter Bay
Jackson Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Some poems are inspired by friends–snapshots from a moment or tributes to their uniqueness. Here is one: 

Teresa packs alone
and wearies
only after miles on narrow trails.

California wild oats
burrow in her socks.
She slows
to yank the most tenacious burrs.
Achilles tendon
stretched,
she climbs on.

Oak. Blue spruce.
Sage and scrub waist-high.
Trail vanishes in the undergrowth.
Teresa shrugs, regains her footing,
affirms
there’s no cause
for alarm.

After packing in for days
the scent
of her humanity
all but disappears.
Squirrels beg her dehydrated
apples when she sits down to eat.

Other hikers follow at a distance.
They seek her clear direction, her
feel for changing weather,
her knowledge of the stars.

Teresa keeps one prudent fear,
of snakes.
She treks through heavy peat,
prods her elm rod
into loamy earth.

Once, she stumbled on a rattler.
Would have fallen on him, but for that
walking stick. She backed up one step.
He slid the same. His silver and
chocolate diamond scales glistened in the sun.

The rattle quieted. Her hand
relaxed around the red Swiss Army knife swinging
from a chain around her waist, its blades
honed clean
from whittling dry kindling,
from parceling out dried fruit.

C 2015 Mary A. Schultz All rights reserved

1909 Singer

The wrought iron treadle
rocked back and forth
Grandma’s foot,
her stocking creeping down,
rested on the top
while I held Mabel by one stuffed cotton arm.
The leather cable spun ‘round and ‘round the wheel.
Mabel’s blue embroidered eyes and mine
were mesmerized.
I thought the pulley must be a monkey’s arm, and
Mabel thought so too, I knew.
We didn’t know that Grandma’s knee
made the treadle rise and fall,
the needle rise and fall on
scraps of pale blue cotton flannel that
smelled fresh off the bolt and
flew beneath the presser foot.
Chomp. Chomp.
I thought the stitches ate the cloth.
Mabel believed it too.
Round and round Grandma’s wrinkly hands
pushed the flannel.
The chomp stopped and
with a flick of her thumb
she raised the presser foot.
Grandma tugged the flannel out and
snapped long strings of thread with her front teeth.
She snipped and clipped out tiny triangles
then turned the fabric right side out
and showed us what she’d made for Mabel,
a soft nightgown with puffy sleeves and
smocking on the shoulders.
I undressed her right there in the room
in front of the cat and everything.
Mabel didn’t care.
I knew she wanted to wear that gown for always
and never put it in the wash
and never let that light blue fade
or lose that brand new smell.

C 2015 Mary A. Schultz, All rights reserved

He Never Gets Skunked on that Road

Yellowstone Falls
Yellowstone Falls from a distance

My love and I round the first turn.
Our snowmobile engines whir, then stop.
Silence marks our ground.
Snow markers perch, a shimmer of diamond picket fence.
The river whispers over rocks.
Ice floes trip and weave.

Helmets off. Crystalline flakes fall on our heads.
Soft, a munch, munch from the river shore.
An elk, grand man, eight-point rack, reaches for tender shoots.

The Yellowstone loop takes all afternoon, over moguls, through bison breath frozen mid-air.

At Snow Lodge, we drag our packs on a sled, dine on trout and huckleberry pie.
Showered and windburned, we near sleep. More snow, lighter snow, falls and surrounds our haven like down.
We speak in whispers, reliving the day, that wondrous bull elk on the shore.
My husband, my mate, laughs and reminds, “Count on me, Mama, count on me. I never get skunked on that road.”

High Desert Snow

Alaska Highway View
View from Alaska Highway May 2012

What is this white? Your chesnut mare is asking.

You pat her flank once reassuringly,
smooth her saddle blanket, saddle her and mount her, take her through the gate.

Silence takes the pipe corrals that

whistled last September in the wind.

Your thighs, your knees, they guide her.
The two of you, like old familiar lovers
discern the trail from rocky flats by feel.

You ride past frosty fence posts
and live oaks, prickly branches
bent beneath the weight.

Still air. No hawk in sight.
Not a cry from a magpie.
Not one track
save yours
to mar this new, new white.

C 2015 Mary A. Schultz, All rights reserved

Seven Views of the San Joaquin River

Seven Views of the River
Fuerte River, El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico

Fisherman presses finger to lips. Casts
a silent ripple.

Coffee on the galley stove.
Head tilted, blue heron lifts wing
unsettled by hiss.

Breaths of a wind chime,
mother of pearl.
Squirrel chatter halts.

Crawdad claws
cling to mesh
trapped alive.

Red shells,
curled tails,
the boiling brine.

Two racoons
bang the screen.
A shoo-away broom.

Pale moon.
Little frog jumps.
Settles on foredeck.

C 2015 Mary A. Schultz, All rights reserved

Frog Song

Here are a poem and photo from the archives. This is my way of saying thank you to all who have downloaded my ebooks. Please enjoy The Last Skywatchers and Sea Cliff 104, and please review. If you need help submitting a review on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or Amazon, contact me via my contact form and be in touch.

Mount Iliamna
Mount Iliamna, Alaska

FROG SONG

Before the summer frog song sounded once,
before the dry adobe settled on the wind,
the moon spread silver streaks
across a black, black sea.

The water swelled, ebbed and waned;
the tides claimed one frail shell
and rocked it, worked it
to the ocean floor.

Imbedded, it lay captured
till the mountains shook and burst
from underground; pounding water
churned the shell to grains
too small, too many to be named.

The sea floor, naked, baked and
cracked dry clay —
wind, wind, carried it away.

Hush now. Hear what summer song frogs say.
I loved you before these things occurred.

C 2015 Mary A. Schultz, all rights reserved