If heaven were a place
to walk without fear before an audience
jaded in judgement,
a place to love without concern
about running alone on earth’s curve,
a place to rise in the morning
without tripping on stones by evening,
a place to play in dangerous rivers
without swallowing water,
a place to carry wood to a fire
that never burns out,
a place to throw out regrets
with the dust swirls of empty rooms
A place where traffic lights are all green,
the sun sets peacefully after dinner,
and sleeves are never too short.
Then resilience would wither,
bones relinquish their density
without resistance to strengthen them
in a field where flowers fill every space
and their stems, though succulent,
are the sturdiest pillars.
The too near wail of an ambulance
assaults the quiet core of night,
its rising then falling crescendo
unsettling all that’s settled
as it announces
an unidentified human incident
rife with pain or loss or both.
Yet this ambulance,
defying disruption and speed limits,
delivers with singular purpose
a medical team
eager to serve, to make whole,
to mend the punctures of sharp protrusions
or the malfunction of a dusty heart
and to begin a restitution
that even in darkness has possibility.
Puddles in the parking lot
left by a leaky metal gray sky
No wind chimes to ornament the breeze.
I enter the DMV at the long since appointed time
to apply for a REAL ID.
An opaque room folds me in like dusk.
Everyone here wishes they were somewhere else.
Stand in line.
Present documents confirming my birth,
my residence, my social security.
Get a number.
Sit in one of ninety-six black chairs.
Listen and watch on a screen for my number.
The clerk behind the window
shuffles wordlessly through my documents
as my “Good morning” hangs in the air.
No family photo on her desk.
No reds or yellows to punctuate
Stand in the square on a scuffed linoleum floor.
Look into the camera.
No time for combing my hair.
Stand before a screen.
Punch in answers to a test
on a keyboard touched by thousands.
Stand and wait with no one in line.
A man behind a desk sets his phone down
to hand me a temporary license
and my old one with a hole pierced through
most of my face.
Dandelion leaves like lions’ teeth
turn up everywhere
with yellow faces like champions in their midst
serving spring nectar to hungry pollinators.
They show up early and stay late
then depart sending fluffy parachutes
off in the wind to new venues.
Not idle guests
their taproots pull up nutrients
that fertilize grass.
When consumed they ease muscle aches,
joint pain, digestive distress, and more.
Their roots loosen hard soil,
aerate the earth, reduce erosion.
They handle their own planting.
Their every cell is edible.
And they’re sturdy as a girder.
These lion’s teeth
with their unsung offerings
come from seeds we never see.
They work for free
though so many perish
in a hateful reign of annihilation
with hoe and trowel.
A waning crescent of the moon
grows thinner each night
as though it could buckle
under the gestating darkness
cradled to her breast.
But a single gold shaving
cast from this celestial body
holds firm like a mother’s love
while the oceans of the earth
bow graciously, wordlessly
to her lunar majesty.
Yet as her waxing crescent
pushes into a shrinking shadow,
one with the night sky,
she plays tenderly with the light,
her edges soft and unpretentious,
hardly regal in their journey.
Marianne Brems is a long-time writer of textbooks but also loves to write whimsical poems. She has an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in several literary journals including The Pangolin Review, Armarolla, Foliate Oak, The Voice of Eve, La Scrittrice, and The Sunlight Press. She lives in Northern California.