As if Anyone Stacks Rocks Just to Stack Rocks

by Ginger Teppner

20190330_085415 (1)

On March 29 (2019), as I raked leaves in the garden

I found a single shard from a once was porcelain bowl,

not exactly a shard, more like a small chunk-

the gum colored soil dusted fragment with a shiny white veneer

and sharp broken edges.

I also found a deflated blue balloon-withered,

the opposite of incognito, with the ribbon still attached

and a dead dove covered in ants,

its fragile neck decimated by talon or teeth.

I took the flat head shovel and scrape-scooped it up,

heaved it into the heavy underbrush where hopefully

the dogs will not notice how the feathers

still look as if anticipating fight or flight.

I threw the shriveled balloon in the garbage,

but the porcelain scrap I held in the palm of my hand imagining

all it once contained, and I continued to hold it, as I trained my gaze

to notice the living: paper tree shimmering in the sunlight,

heart-shaped frond with valentine pink veins,

the wood ducks gliding through marsh grass.

I decided to place it on top of the tiny cairn

on the west side of the house.

More than a pile of rocks, this tiny architecture

marks a trail to keep me from getting lost,

from becoming attached to imaginary outcomes:

like possibility in a bird that continues to fly, a blue balloon

that remains a piece of the sky, or a bowl

handed down from my grandmother meant to carry

hot soup on a cold day that was never

knocked to the floor by an errant cat demanding attention.