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Ten (Three Variations)

The yellow-striped garden spider busy wrapping bees.
A used condom half buried in the corn plot.
The man on the roof unfurls his tape measure.
Little yellow birds: where have you gone?
Low river with branches glinting in the middle.
The neighbor carries buckets: empty then full.
Shades of gray, no rain, night coming early.
Sweeping the floor, the blue moon coming in.
A woman checks her mail then goes back inside.
The children are crying or playing basketball.

                                   ***
The ex-boyfriend’s voice on the phone sounds high.
Honey Nut Cheerios gone stale.
Cat: hunts crickets in the basement before bed.
Winter fissures in my knuckles again.
Leaves like flames against the snow.
A homeless cat eyes me mid-day.
Seven years of winters and now I am alone.
The noon alarm silences the birds.
A blue moon rises as old-timey music plays.
No one brushes the cicada shell away.

                                   ***
The katydid in the cage dies on her side.
A man on a roof gazes at me through my kitchen window.
Cat catches cellar crickets, then lets them go.
Frozen kale greener than when it was alive.
The old woman walks past, swinging her mask.
Woodpecker: from dead tree to dead tree in my backyard.
The elderly neighbor eats breakfast in a clean, white shirt.
One plant divides while another dies.
Iris bulbs expose themselves to what comes next.
Posted 11/03/20
Heavily inspired by the "Tens" of Basho, Buson, and Issa.
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