I went down to the river
to listen and watch
as the river gave thanks
with its currents and eddies
and both of its banks
for the rain
the replenishing rain
Dean Metcalf c. 1970
The Mullein Leaf
Happiness begins at seventy five grand,
and while I live in a neighborhood
of missing hubcaps and cigarette butts,
I can walk slow enough to drag my feet
and stop to look at European red slugs
wrapped around a glob of plastic
or spit in the river at the pookie mark,
watching the ripples erase my reflection.
I like September.
The grey clouds, drizzle
and yellow school buses.
It brings introspection.
Summer is the time of vacations,
birthday pool parties and sunburns.
Fall is the hunkering down of life,
even the spider’s web gathers rain.
While life is a gift,
not all gifts are what we’ve wished.
We all must bear grandma’s soap-on-a-rope.
Just ask the drug-addicted babies Kim is nurturing.
Today is my daughter’s first day of high school.
In the past, I’ve always given her a gift on this day.
I think this year it will be a mullein leaf
giving to me on a float trip
down the Snake River
to be used as bum fodder.
The lesson, nature provides.
Though my happiness may not reach the seventy five grand mark,
I’m content just to avoid jails and churches.
drag your feet to find it.
Kevin Nusser, Portland, Oregon