Last time we took the map.
Circled spots were laid out clear:
Find fifteen gnomes, find Joy.
Only the maps mislead
Arrows pointing at him and at her
in a labyrinth of self-destruction
We tore the maps, and then, lo and behold
We found Joy.
Washed our morning faces
Under a singing Carolina silver bell,
And joy danced in my ear,
little one giggled
a warm fresh breath
And then jumped up and higher yet:
I’m so strong today! So strong!
We feasted on purple rain lilac sage tea
Sweetened with honey locust,
Tiger-tail spruce brushed our hair,
tickle of a feather under Robin’s wing
And the man said: Let’s run!
Taking off in his heavy work boots
Granddaughter’s soft fingers
Clinging to his chapped hand
Joy trailed wild in his silver hair
blood twig dogwood flamed
at the edge of the woods warming our feet.
I hugged the old shingle oak.
You know, I told her,
there are trees, which protect themselves
With the sap so poisonous
That caterpillars who munch its leaves
Stay caterpillars forever.
I know! I know! She chirped
Turning around, skipping,
flapping her wings in December rain:
I am! I am! I am already a butterfly!