Read alsoHeaven Sent
Hannah Bunch wants to help heaven along by hatching a plan to bring a shy suitor up to the point of proposal. If Biblical Ruth sought Boaz on the threshing field, surely she could seek a happily-ever-after in the farm's wellhouse. The snare worked perfectly, except the wrong husband got caught. Henry Lee Watson likes his life, without a wife.…
Instead of describing them the author has chosen to share a sample poem from each of the five sections.
The Owl in the Christmas Tree
As I crept down the stairs
to plug in the Christmas lights
before the children came down,
two wide topaz eyes stared out
from the tip of the cedar,
a small owl barred brown and white
with talons gripping the star.
I woke the children,” Look,”
I breathed, “.look,
he must have come down the chimney.
See the flakes of soot on the hearth.”
We opened the door
and nudged him with a rake
until reluctantly he flew into an oak.
These are the things you live for –
not designer-wrapped gifts,
the year-end bonus, the red velvet dress,
but a moment of wonder,
of surfeit –
rose-breasted grosbeaks eating holly berries,
wind rich with the spice of wild azaleas,
full moon through river mist –
the owl in the Christmas tree.
Aisle Eight, Cat Food
My father stands by the cat food display
Carefully dressed in suit and tie,
he brightens when shoppers stop their carts,
gravely gives tips to serious ones
who spend a long time reading labels,
sardine or shrimp, whitefish or chicken,
flaked or smothered in gravy,
a difficult choice, the menu
for a true patrician.
I had a cat, he shyly offers, Premi;
it means beloved one.
He slept at the foot of my bed,
and sat on the table to drink the milk
out of my cereal bowl.
No cats at the retirement home, the lady said,
but Premi died beforehand.
He was old too, you know,
and lame. Premi was a great hunter in his prime,
stalking a squirrel or chipmunk like a cheetah.
He was that fast!
His favorites were the Nine Lives tuna
and Whiskas chicken in sauce.
Three aisles over, Mother
selects Campbell's tomato soup for his lunch,
cornmeal muffins, sliced Velveeta, applesauce.
Where's the old gentleman,
the stock boy asks.
He'll be waiting in pet food, aisle eight,
hoping for someone to come by
who likes to talk about cats.
Giraffe, you regard existence
through your fringed Cleopatra eyes.
With Modigliani neck neither stretched nor strained,
your velvet lips select
new growth at the top of an acacia tree,
leaf buds tight and tender as fiddle-heads,
a connoisseur, the gourmand