Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thrown-away lore

We mapped the stars perfectly, lying
on our backs on dew-covered lawn chairs
until the summer-night chill sent us
running into the safe-sure warmth
of the brick-oven kitchen, steaming mugs of tea
then the dry soft comfort of our beds.

We knew the seven sisters, the bright
corners of secret constellations
and the dark hollow in the swan, pondered
the mystery of what lay on its other side,
its light swallowed whole by some gluttonous
sky-dragon before it found our way.

Somehow we got too old and misplaced
our beloved charts, forgot how the sky
was built from the ribcage of a goddess
torn apart by jealous sons, her heart
ravenous, devouring worlds as her fractured
womb erupted with the angry births of nebulae.

Rachel Westfall
August 29, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Skipping rhyme

Inspired by this image prompt

How does a child take root in
the faulty soil of
playground politics
when the bonds are all formed
before she arrives and
the rank and order is
so defined
in unwritten ways she
will surely never decipher?

They taunted her until she
sulked away to a
corner of the yard where she
scowled at their skipping songs
under sallow bangs and
picked at a leaf that
strayed into her hand,
sucked its violet strand like
sweet-ripe chewing gum.

And the curious ants crawled
up her legs from the
earth where she sat,
tickling so she
brushed them off,
scratching at newfound
noseeum bites drawing
slow smooth beads of
scarlet brown across
the ramshackle folds of
her grass-stained
cotton sundress.

Rachel Westfall
August 25, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Night mystery

do you

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Refraction I

With just a whisper
the glass dropped from her hand
I found you standing on the stairs
and fell like shards of rain
one hand on the rail
across the tile floor
the other holding the soft blanket
and she caught her breath
thinly draped across your shoulders
as a large slice skipped by
I wondered how much you’d heard
singing like nothing but glass can
your eyes encrusted with sleep
and his fist swung like words
brow pressed warm by the pillow
Quiet, you’ll wake the children
abandoned how long ago?

Rachel Westfall
August 18, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Yahoo spotting

It was a glorious summer’s day
so quiet in the sand
the strip of forest filled with birds
and berries o’er the land.

We wove our way through piney groves
filling our buckets high
with ripe delicious treasure fruits
to keep til winter’s nigh.

It may seem strange, but here I know
wild Yahoos do abound
they roam at night, lay low by day
with hangovers that pound.

So quiet in the desert sand
it did make sense to reason,
I thought we’d surely never spot
rare Yahoos out of season.

Lo and behold, then I did sight
some droppings piled quite high
the tin encasements sure-fire sign
that Yahoos had been by!

For droppings to be piled just so
the Yahoos must be rutting
so we got out, quick as we could
before they came back, strutting.

Rachel Westfall
August 15, 20009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


My boy will be eleven this week. Eleven. I remember being eleven. At eleven, I ran free with a gang of kids; we garden raided, lit cookfires down by the river, jumped onto train cars for rides, held seances, predicted our futures with a ouija board, lured boys into kissing games, watched naughty movies, and experimented with someone's mother's wine and BC bud. Wow. I can't imagine my own child doing any of those things. Maybe it's true that girls grow up faster. Or maybe times really have changed.


And the wind caught your hair

In that secret place we built, high in the sands
a cave, hollowed hand over hand
between summer-curled willow knolls

And the wind caught your hair, tousled it golden

Digging just a little further each time, discreet
while the adults did adult things, resolved
to issue frail warnings, glass of wine in hand

And the wind caught your hair, tousled golden shards of sand

The adults did adult things, and hinted how
the earth may fight back against
this scar and collapse, smothering us foolish

And the wind caught golden shards of sand, raining down

So we snuggled in, backs pressed
sinewy long, browned legs lanky, and told stories
of the boys we would lure here to kiss

And the wind caught your hair

Rachel Westfall
August 11, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I told you so

You said you didn’t know, brushed off
their warnings as the chatter
of spiteful birds, wings idle
drifting smoothly in shallow clumps
of black feathery gloss
and noisy beak from the places things happen
to the places things end up
when discarded, lives used up
no longer relevant.

Oh, how they circle now
with gleaming curiosity, tasting
the musk odour of your confusion
with the pointed black tongues
of wicked gossip, swallowing
a hint of word caressed
with the elegance of a gentle tease;
I told you so.

Rachel Westfall
August 9, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Magnolia's delight

And how each blossom swells,
with anthers golden ripe
and heady, each wee lolly glistening
with home-grown treasure
elevated, high upon a filament,
each one a flagstaff as if borne
by triumphant faery queens.

And how each blossom curves,
ovary ripe and pendulous
suspended in a luxurious bed
of calyx, velvet petal sheets
draped around plump carpels,
limbs high in perfect anticipation
of the messenger’s most certain
arrival, mail-bags stuffed
and spilling over glorious golden pollen.

Rachel Westfall
August 4, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Late summer

stirs the wind
drawing a breath
quick long
lifting something within
some mysterious, forgotten
dropping it
just slightly out of line with
the pattern from which
it was etched
instilling unsettlement
and an obscure
restless itch

Rachel Westfall
August 1, 2009