Monday, 22 of September of 2014

Karen Coulter – Friendly Takeovers

life-after-people2

Alex-Martinez-2It happens as soon as you turn your back–
the eminent domain seizure of “your” land
Nature filling the void.
If I stop lighting fires in the woodstove
as the weather first warms
by the next cold snap
it may be too late–
bluebirds or blackbirds nesting in the stovepipe
the little ones already peeping
if I leave a wheelbarrow overturned
in the lower garden
because a tire’s gone flat
the next time I think of resurrecting it,
casually flip it over as if I’m in charge,
there’s a thriving ant colony underneath
filling the entire space
and I have to flip it back over
when I return from a week in the forest
and go to the outhouse the next morning
two yellowjackets buzz at me warily
el-mundo-magazine_twwu-lisbon-bridgefrom newly created hexagons of hives
so I have to use the old outhouse up the hill
after my next time away
I can’t open the small cooler any more
because during three days
an enterprising mama spider
wove three nursery webs
out from the handle
and the little ones,
so tiny I have to strain my old eyes
to see them,
are already unfolding their legs
for the exodus
to take over the whole place.
Of course theres also the small green tree frogs
resting with the wild mushrooms
in the cool damp root cellar,
sometimes the big brown toad
or the yellow and red-striped garter snake
in the water trough
the thirty or so deer feeding in the grass all night
leaving pressed down grass beds
for me to find,
the cottontail rabbit I see
Laid-Backif I’m up early enough in the morning
scavenging left over dogfood
down by the trailer,
the woodrat once again
making chaos of spilled compost,
gnawed bread loaf
fallen dishes,
leaving a characteristic stink
in the kitchen.
the huge great horned owl
roosting somehow inside
the chicken coop
after its feast
staring at me with bewitching gold eyes
clinging firmly to the wire mesh
with talons
that could rip my face off
but don’t…
what else should I expect?
I’m over half a century old,
reassured by thoughts
of leaving the earth
for the next generation–
of birds, ants, yellowjackets, spiders,
frogs, toads, snakes, deer, rabbits, woodrats and owls.

Karen Coulter
July-August 2009 Earth First!


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