On Cemetery Hill we would flop down into the grass,
the blaze of mountain summer skies hot on
our backs, and push our noses deep into
the dark grass,

the loose stalks of crabgrass tickling our necks,
the scent of earth a welcome comfort
like woodsmoke in winter

My sister and I head to head, our small fingers digging
in rich dirt as we part blades of grass one by
one, seeking the joy of discovery, seeking
the victory of Best Of The Day

Seeking to win the Shooting Star contest, who could
find the stem with the most tiny blossoms
on it, and dance victory after a parent
confirmed our count.

Once asked why such a tiny flower, lying hidden in
grass so close to the earth, was called a
shooting star, our aunt, who drew such
beautiful, colorful drawings, explained

it’s like a comet, a meteor - the purple petals push
back from its yellow-white point like
the tail of a comet, pushed blazing back
into the dark of space by solar winds

and I look at the tiny stem in my hand, nine small
blossoms laid out around it, and I take
my day’s victory, and sit back down
as my sister continues to hunt,

and, pressing the stem of the shooting star back
into the earth, I choose a stalk of
crabgrass, wide with sharp edges,
place it between my thumbs and
blow through

emitting a sharp loud note that echoes out
across the valley, a clarion, a
claxon, a clear ringing note of
a call to attention

both a declaration of victory and
a celebration of powerful
forces one can never see
like winds from the sun
pushing back the tails
of interstellar travelers

the memory of which, embedded in the
magma, stone, and soil
brings forth on the surface,
hidden deep in the
grasses, a flower to do
homage to the memory
of solar winds.

Look, see who we are - servants of forces
we did not even know existed,
sometimes triumphant if transitory
victors, blown backwards by
a solar wind.

Judith Mikesch McKenzie

Judith Mikesch McKenzie has traveled much of the world, but is always drawn to the Rocky Mountains as one place that feeds her soul. She loves change – new places, new people, new challenges, but writing is her home. Her poems have been published in Wild Roof Journal, Halcyone Literary Review, Plainsongs Magazine, Elevation Review, Scribblerus, Cathexis Northwest Press, Meat for Tea Valley Review, and several others. She is a wee bit of an Irish curmudgeon, but her friends seem to like that about her.