the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




FIVE WORKS
BY CHRISTINA-MARIE UMSCHEID

THE WEATHER WIZARD
(for Lucy Hazelton who kept a notebook of daily weather)

The wizard collects weather.

Years of jottings are tucked

neatly in word images.


Mice wind brings scarecrows.


Trees stretch into violin strings.


Sunlight crickets bring early night.


Wet hallows germinate mayflies.


Ditches stir shallow springs into croaking.


Wood bells chant mud-evenings


Clouds map and explode rain.


Days of salty breath move and howl.


Swirls sweep color from sky and ground.


Veins of leaves dry into paper


Tomorrow is carved on tree trunks.


The wizard carries etchings

and stories in his books.

Each day is a new fable.

================

VIOLATED

Trembling with inner cold

and outer rain

I remember a man

breaking into my home.

Going past me

as if I didn't exist

he took what he wanted

and left.

Commotion and protection

of blue police can't hold

my fear at bay.

Now I lock doors

with big city closure.

One day

my daughter sat

on my porch

to stop anyone

from comming in.

Today my family

guards against

violence

but no one holds my hand.

================

INDIAN TOTEM

In the totem

animals build on each other.

Shoulders carry strength.

But I lean forward and rounded.


Fox fields distance with his magic.

Just barely visible he taunts me to follow.

His fur flames against green pine,

smokes and is gone.


In his place dogs stand ground.

Hackles or tail wagging balances on throats.

White teeth flash from open mouths

and echo unseen rumbling.


The horse dances, reins in my hand.

A turn of the head

and wind surrounds.

Speed hurtles me into his distance.


Cooing dove in mourning

haunts my waking eye. I hear

lonely music that echoes until night

makes note of sun rising.


Night owl watches darkness,

peering into the absence of light

as if this world was clear as day.

Seeing rivers that feeds life.


Giant wings fold and open.

Egret masters wind drafts

and pulls air.

Bodies transform space into motion.


On the highest mountain

bighorn sheep balance

and twirl from rock to rock.

Horns curve forward and then round.


Light peeks around shapes.

In my totem

carved wood

is more than tree.

================

A DIFFERENT GREEN

Tomato worms

in bright green and yellow.

I would pick them

and put them in a jar

with leaves and grass.

No tomato plants

were included.

Every time they died

overnight,

The jar stank

but I tried again

until there were no more

================

AGAINST THE BATTER

His Cardinal baseball hat flew

dodging frozen trees

snug red cloth

gone as if it was a fast ball.

Loosing in strikes.

Everyone saw

eyes once hidden

under a firm brim.

There is no reason for red,

cardinal red, game red.

Maybe someone

once told him

of color.

In wind

where he would lose.. . .

he caught his ball

without a glove.

in a game that is red.

Pain is red.