Stripes

In the time stripes run off to infinite
raspberry rows, beach towels and barbed-wire fences
white stones at veteran cemeteries, shirts on jockeys
whip-flay scars on the winced back

In those hours when engineers offer more
parallels and planes, staircases, highway lines
while poets write left to right, or right to left
or up to down to fence-board meaning,

you could show off the stripes you earned –
boy scout, firefighter, officer, security,
as if they are jet contrails on a mission
or barcodes of best.

The children practice script and subtraction
for gold stickers that may fall off their paper
or for the teacher’s scrawl of five-line stars
as they sit in rows of desks and walk in lines.

And creatures. Of course, zebra.
Slugs, skinks, skunks, tabbies and tigers,
mouse, chipmunk, numbat and nyala.
Okapi and angelfish. The garter snake.

Me? I ache for pinnate – heavenly bamboo
the tree of silk, oak and alder,
maple and the peach. How petal lines
guide the bees to pollen.

My camouflage of wrinkles, dendritic,
brings the infinite nearer. I step out of line.
Aging does that.

 

Photo Credit: ZeePack Flickr via Compfight cc

Tricia Knoll

Tricia Knoll is a tree-hugging feminist Oregon poet who is retired from many years of communications work for the City of Portland. She has a slight voice disabilty which makes humming sound better than her singing. Her fingernails are often dirty from working in a garden planned to attract pollinators, preserve native plants, and delight the eye with outrageous roses. Her poetry collections focus on eco-poetry. Ocean's Laughter (Aldrich Press 2016) focuses on change over time in a small Oregon town on the north coast. Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press 2014) examines human interactions with wildlife in urban habitat.

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