I Wish You Could Have Known This Day by Leslie Noyes
I wish you could have known this day, green life yearning up through the earth, bright warmth bearing
Down from the sky. The warning screech of a protective mother guarding her threatened nest
Upstaging a chorus of cicadas running through their limited range of vocal exercises. A pair of
Cardinals flirting outrageously, too caught up in their dance to worry about me. How I wish you were here.
We talk about how much you’d have loved this place. I can picture you scolding the squirrels, even as
You throw tidbits of your breakfast to them. You’d have sat on the porch, smoking and chatting up the
Neighbors. You remembered first names.
If I stood right now, hefted myself up from a leather chair in a crowded Starbucks,
would the silly young
Couple speaking enthusiastically of things better left for more private places notice if I fell flat on my
Face after taking three steps, slipping in a carelessly ignored puddle of some iced coffee drink? Likely they’d laugh
Before talking even more loudly about who had drunk texted him saying he was hot and who had been too fucked up
Last night and needed a ride home. They are either oblivious to their audience or fishing for a bigger one.
Color Blind by Leslie Noyes
I once professed to color blindness, black, white, red, brown, all people looked the same, I claimed,
But the skin and its store of melanin or lack thereof does not a person make. No, color is bone deep,
Soul drenched, and we are different in beautifully messy ways. Better to be color aware than color
Blind. Better to celebrate the tints and tinges of pigments than to ignore our unique differences.
I cannot imagine how difficult it must be, the work of being a cat. Between naps in the sun, one
Must stalk every individual dust mote that filters through a ray of light on its way from window to rug.
Then there’s the bathing of fur, pink tongue seeking out any hint of dirt or foreign substance with
A rough lick and a promise to bathe again should something upset the delicate balance between
Tidy and soiled, anxious and calm. Pleasured purring while kneading must be exhausting work
And is often closely followed by head butting and a thrice circled snuggle into mom’s cozy lap.
Scratching at posts, and pouncing on catnip-stuffed felt mice often induce wide yawns and paws
Covering eyes. A quick burst of energy when the word, treat, is uttered, even whispered, results in
A mad dash to the food bowl where petting is tolerated, but just barely. “Mom, petting just wears me out.”
We were so naive before the fall, having watched distant states dissolving from the safety of our
Shores. We sent thoughts, and prayers, and dollar bills, tsk tsking all the while. Nothing, though prepared us
For the shattering collapse, the heads rolling through the hallowed halls, their whispered names
On everybody’s lips. Perhaps those far flung states will reciprocate and send their thoughts, and prayers,
Coins of all the realms, as we resist the tide of tyranny with voices and with votes. Maybe it’s not too late.
And When I Die
by Leslie Noyes
When I die I pray someone will mourn; that a song so achingly sweet will be offered up, and
People will sob in response. I also want a celebration, though, a praise service with dancing in every aisle,
Worshipful arms upstretched to the heavens. God only knows where I will turn up. I have not
Lived a blameless life; how interminably boring that would be, But still, I think of the ecstasy of
Being taken up by a heavenly host of angels, rising on wings of gossamer, when I die.
Dancing at the Mall
by Leslie Noyes
A song from my teens wafted down into the food court where I was engaged in a lackluster meal.
Putting a limp slice of pepperoni pizza aside, I rose from a red plastic bench and danced enthusiastically to
Twist and Shout, my Ferris Buehler moment, while lunch breaking students watched with open mouths,
Giggling and pointing at my intricate gyrations. I winked and smiled and reveled in the knowledge
That I’m alive and at sixty still capable of doing the audacious thing when the music hits me just right.
Take your big red pen and mark an x over the parts you find offensive. I guarantee you’ll cross out
Obscenities right and left. But will you not obliviate the hunger of starving children? A curse word upsets
Your delicate sensibilities but the thought of a woman panhandling only causes disdain. Pull yourself up
By your bootstraps! you cry, without noticing she’s sold her boots to feed her children. You claim
To be pro-life, but in truth you are only pro-birth. Stop pretending you care when you voted for a heartless bastard.
For this day I’ve decided to be a secret agent. I will be unobtrusive, nondescript, a silhouette of my usual self.
My cavalier demeanor will bely my purpose: to spy, observe, and report on my fellow citizens.
So far, I have noted one woman pushing a baby stroller. What nefarious plan might she be hatching?
I will hide in plain sight in hopes that her motives are revealed. Oh! Look! Starbucks on the right. Maybe another day.
Lost in Time
by Leslie Noyes
We scarcely notice the low-flying pterodactyls skimming inches above the trees nowadays.
Likewise, the roar of Tyrannosaurus Rex barely registers in our collective consciousness.
But we’ve begun to feel a change in the climate, colder winters, hotter summers, raging storms year ’round,
And the drums of war are heard pounding across oceans, and from our own great shores destruction rains down.
What have we lost in time? Our connections were severed when we fell through this warp in the universe.
Survival first, right? Despite the despot in the tree fort, we will carry on, only later to discover what we’ve lost.