As if Anyone Stacks Rocks Just to Stack Rocks
by Ginger Teppner
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.