This Land is Our Land

fullsizeoutput_209How many watches had it been,
when I first caught sight of Paradise?

Seven – or is that the first digit
to come to mind?

Regardless, I would have kept kissing the dry land,
until it soaked in my sins,
had you not been
standing at my bower,
with tape
and parrot flowers.

The ship was splintered,
worse that any storm
or winter could do;
my lips, too.

Yet, I was fixed

on the mountains in the distance,
skirted in Doug Fir forest,
and decked with heavy fruits
(pear, apple, persimmon,
perpetually in season),
suspended in mist.

Never had I encountered a landscape,
as hard as it was soft,
particularly at the edges,
where rocky bluffs
terminate to sand,
and primrose grows
in mats that prick,
rather than provide respite
for the sick.

Yet, I was fixed

of the pain I had long-held,
from believing myself unhomeable
outside of childhood.

Or, perhaps, restored

to original condition:
an only daughter of an only parent,
(for which the treatment is
undivided affection
and absolute understanding).

How many men had it been,
when I first washed up on Paradise?

Seven – or is that the first digit
to come to mind?

Regardless, I would have kept gripping the shore,
until I was born into safety,
and then trained out of it again,
had you not offered more:

Your hand, a surrogate for my father.
Your land, for my Fatherland.

 

Natural Interruptions

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When the Old Man fell,
it interrupted all scheduled programs,

including Britney’s 10th birthday party,
where I was one minute feeling,

to pin the tail on a donkey,

and then waiting,

to hear the sound

of a pin
falling.

Falling,
like ashes,
ashes
from the sky
in Oregon.

Fifteen years later,

children circle around me,
as if I were campfire,

to tell stories of their favorite hikes,
as if they happened yesterday.

 

I circle around what happened yesterday.

 

“Climate-Change-Fueled Wildfires

Pollute the Air, Make People Sick.

74 Acres, and Counting, Burning.”


The air thickens.

 

Upwards, the sky is gone.

We, too, are clouded

by emotion – Pride

in place, Resolve.

 

Quietly, I close my eyes.

I try to access

My Place,

My Trail,

My Childhood

interrupted, as they may be

by nature,

(the freeze and thaw)

and by choices
(to leave,

to have adventure,
to participate in activities
that exacerbate
the change).

These may have occurred
several times per year,
until the breaking point,
or in one dramatic season;
but, what difference does it make?

 

I have stopped trying,
to look through smoke,
to find the answer to:

“What is really happening?”

or even forecast

through the weekend.

Instead, I navigate

with the nose,

toward a little bit of sense,  

smelling
for what the present
has to offer,
by way of remembrance.

When the Old Man fell,
it fell on our plates,

of pizza and cake.

It stopped Britney’s mom

from slicing.
Leaving just enough

for one slice per child

– no seconds for anyone –

except I,

who grabbed two slices of pizza,

and two slices of cake,
because I was afraid.

Red

written by Eva, Romeo and Ollie in Michael’s 4th & 5th grade classroom
edited and illustrated by Kayla Kennett

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Red is the color of
a ripe cherry,
falling
from a tree;

cinnamon candy,
sizzling
on your tongue;

a lobster,
drifting
in the ocean.

Red is the color of
a red panda,
climbing
a bamboo tree;

an apple
on a branch;

pepperoni pizza,
melting
in your mouth.

Red is the color of
lava,
engulfing homes
and,
unfortunately,
people.

Orange

written by Eleanor, Santi and Beka in Michael’s 4th & 5th grade classroom
edited and illustrated by Kayla Kennett

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Orange is the color of
coral,
in the deep,
indigo
sea;

hot coals,
in a campfire;

a pumpkin,
fresh
from the garden;

A sweet,
juicy
mango;

a beautiful bird,
swooping low,
over the trees.

Orange is the color of
sunrise —
bright,
blazing;

a clownfish,
swimming
through seaweed;

Garfield,
from the comics;

the tangerine,
in your lunchbox.

Orange is the color of
a tiger,
prowling
deep in the jungle.

Yellow

written by Michael’s 4th & 5th grade classroom at Trillium Charter School
edited and illustrated by Kayla Kennett

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Yellow is the color of the sun’s rays,
reflecting off the ocean,
after its nighttime slumber;

a solo goldfish,
in the midst,
of other kinds of fish,
in a faroff pond,
away from all human settlements;

Homer’s head —
shiny,
glistening,
bald;

the warmth of your heart,
when you eat
buttery,
crunchy
popcorn.

Yellow is the color of
a pufferfish,
expressing its emotion,
in the fresh,
salty
sea;

A bumblebee,
flying,
in a field
of bright,
blue
flowers;

cheddar cheese,
falling
from your sandwich,
its potential,
suddenly,
wasted;

Draco Malfoy’s hair,
turned bright,
by a horrible childhood.

Yellow is the color of
the first leaf
fallen,
the first sign
Autumn has arrived.

Blue

written by Emma, Asa, Blue and Kaya in Bijal’s 4th & 5th grade classroom
edited and illustrated by Kayla Kennett

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Blue is the color of
fresh-picked blueberries;

the ocean,
shimmering in sunlight;

a recess ball,
waiting
to be played with;

a clear sky.

Blue is the color of
a bird,
chirping
from a high tree;

thick paint,
in a metal can;

and denim jackets.

Blue is the color of
Satya’s hair,
lighting
up the room.

She gave us inspiration to write this poem!

 

Pink

written by Michael’s 4th & 5th grade classroom at Trillium Charter School
edited and illustrated by Kayla Kennett

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Pink is the color of
cotton candy
at the fair;

tulips,
basking in sun;

and new erasers.

Pink is the color of
a beautiful,
flowing
dress;

flowers,
on a peach tree;

hearts,
on a Valentine’s card,
for your best friend;

and bubblegum.

Pink is the color
of a piglet,
before it rolls
in the mud;

a hummingbird,
whizzing,

or a crocus,
peeping,

all signs
Spring has arrived.

 

 

 

 

Silver

written by Chloe, Oliver and Conrad in Michael’s 4th & 5th grade classroom
edited and illustrated by Kayla Kennett

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Silver is the color of
a dolphin pod,
swimming
in the ocean;

A shiny
bottle cap
on the ground,
waiting
to be picked up
and added
to a collection;

a brand new
paint tube
in Art class;

a stone,
at the bottom
of a wishing well;

a motorcycle,
engine purring,
before it zooms
past all the cars.

Silver is the color of
rare
diamonds.

Bender’s bottom —
glamorous,
metallic;

the fog
on a cold winter’s day;

a castle
from a Grimm fairytale;

smoke —
thick,
polluting,
following close behind
a spaceship.

Silver is the color of
a dog tag,
on a newborn puppy,
in a sad
and no-fun
kennel.

Black

written by Lou, Kaden and Rory in Michael’s 4th & 5th grade classroom
edited and illustrated by Kayla Kennett

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Black is the color of
Halloween night;

darkness,
magnifying your fears;

the concept of time,
confusing
but deep;

the unknown
end,
the beginning
of everything;

dread and excitement,
alike.

Black is the color of
an Xbox,
your favorite
relief;

a tire,
moving slowly,
as you run
out of gas;

rocks —
wet,
shiny,
as they travel
down
the swift
creek.

Black is the color of
the midnight sky,
in its moonless season.