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.