The Tarp

The wind spirits come
Racing down the valley,
Filling the spaces between mountains
Dancing through ancient pine tops,
Tickling the thick forests
That ring the bottom pastures,

The currents,
And flows,
And eddies,
Set conifer ranks to waving,
Those trees standing at attention
On steep inclines,
A grand gathering of enthusiastic spectators,
Witness to the athletic prowess
Of empty air,
The roar in their branches
Rivaling any stadium crowd

And then the spirits,
The duendes of the wind,
Find the sheet of brown and silver
That stretches above the trailer,
Woven plastic held by ropes,
And bungees,
And liberal applications
Of fluttering duct tape.

And those airy speed demons
Slide underneath it,
Whooshing between it and the painted metal roof,
That metal that has seen years of weather,
Decades of disuse,
Of misuse,
Unable now to perform its task unaided,

The duendes blow up
Between that tired roof
And its younger care-giver
Making the tarp lift
And billow
Like the sails of a great clipper ship

And supported by them,
The sheet feels

It stretches against its ties
Pulling and ruffling
Within the freedom that’s promised,

And the spirits say to it,
Leave this place
Soar with us among the clouds.”

And the tarp is tempted,
Its every shiny fiber
Longing within torn grommets
And frayed edges,
For the untethered life,

But this isn’t its first wind-race,
The call isn’t new,
And the tarp knows where that future leads,
Painfully aware
Of its luminous blue cousin,
The one who took hold of the wind,
Who was seduced by the call,
Who sailed away,
Only to be caught
By the barbs nearby,
Now trapped,
Left by the duendes to forever ripple
Against the harsh wires of the fence,
Never again to be useful in this world.

The tarp knows
That the spirits are not to blame,
It is their nature,
Their promise is well-meant
But fleeting,
Like themselves.

And, making its decision,
The tarp descends
Releasing its hold on the wind’s fickle gusts,
Once again caressing the roof,
Feeling the pleasant tension of ropes,
The the pull and give of bungees,
The gentle swaying of anchor trees,

And it says to the wind,
This is my place,
I am of service here.”

And, once again,
As always happens
When the wind-races are run,
The tarp turns from the spirits,
Laying itself across the aging roof,
Protecting the old girl,
In all the ways she can no longer
Protect herself.

And, as the duendes move on,
To dance in some other valley,
To entertain some other forest spectators,
To tempt some other leaf,
Or grocery bag,
Or strip of corrugated tin,
The tarp gazes
At the surrounding pine trees
Now as placid as the ancient wisdom they hold,

Like them,
The tarp is still,
And it is happy.

©2019 Annette Meserve

The Woman You Don’t See

I am the woman you don’t see
Or at least the woman you don’t see today,
There have been other women
On other days
That you didn’t see either.

You haven’t seen in us,
The gifts we bring,

Haven’t seen,
The time,
And talk,
And caring,

Haven’t seen
The level companionship
Of another traveler,
Beside you
But on another quest
Of her own.

Instead you see us
As a font along the roadside,
As a well,
Even perhaps forbidden
And yet,
Placed in the oasis
For no other reason
Then to slake your thirst,

The crux of it,
The irony
Is that,
In your eyes
We are a well,
Without generosity,
A well,
Willfully rationed,
Wantonly withheld,

And so you beg from us,
Demand from us,
Ask from us,
The elixir,
That bubbles from our earth,
Plead for the sacred flow
That you’ve craved since birth

But that you couldn’t receive
Even from the one woman
Who might have soothed
Your need,

And so you ask all of us
To be strong for you,
To service you
In ways obvious,
In ways invisible,

You ask us,
To pour ourselves
Into you

With us
Never able to hope
For you
To be filled.

Even in this century,
Even after everything
And nothing
Has changed,
You ask us
To fly under your radar,
To act the weaker sex,
All the while
Also asking us
To do
What is yours alone
To do,

Asking us
To give you
Possession of yourself,
Asking us
To imbue you with the power
You should have grown
For yourself all along

And now,
It is I,
Here in front of you
And you ask this,
From me,

And even still,
After all this time,
You see in me,
Not the gifts I offer
But instead,
You see the same things
You’ve tried to squeeze
From every other woman,
From every other relationship,
Things that I
That we
Cannot give,

And regardless,
In your desperation,
You bring
Your ignorance,
Your indignance,
Your extortion,
To bear,
To extract
That which you’ve never
Been able even to sip

Continuing the effort
But familiar,
Because it’s all you know,
Because it’s all you see.

And I don’t want to leave you,
Don’t want to abandoned
This beautiful friendship
That could be,

But if I am to stay,

You must endeavor
To see me,
Must stop insisting
That it is I
Or any other living person,
Who tends this well for you,

You must drop the scales from your eyes
And start again,
Must approach your oasis,
Along a different road,

Must work
And learn,
To see me truly
To see me
Not as the life-giving destination
Toward which you trudge,
Only as one
Who walks beside you
In the desert,

More important still,
You must start to see yourself
As the minder of your well.

©2019 Annette Meserve


It could be a metaphor,
A physical illustration,
Of the violence
Evident closely around me,
My subconscious
Needing for me
To experience the shattering
In real time,
Needing for my ears
To hear the crash of fragility
Against the grooved
And stained
The surface uncaring
And unaffected,
In the sickly fluorescent glow.
Needing for my eyes
To see the jagged sharp edges,
The earthenware’s rust interior,
Showing through the familiar sage green,
The viscera of someone dear
Irreparably exposed,
No longer functional,
In a split-second of unconscious action.
Needing for my heart
To experience the powerlessness
As I gather the pieces
And try in vain
To put them back together,
All the king’s horses
And all the king’s men…
It must be that,
A metaphor,
An attempt to make sense,
Of the larger senselessness,
Why else would such a small loss
Make me cry so?
It’s only a trifle,
A utensil,
A tool.
But it’s not,
Not a trifle,
Not merely a tool,
And not a metaphor.
I feel this loss deeply
Not because this is the ‘one more thing,’
It the straw
And me the camel,
I feel this loss deeply
Because of our history,
Because, in this world of much,
This was a beautiful, singular thing,
A companion
Through so many miles,
And years.
So I will not try to justify,
To make it bigger
So that it reasonably warrants
The degree of my devastation.
I will mourn with the gravity
That this friend deserves,
And bless its passing,
Grateful for the time we had
Knowing it is likely
That only I
And it
Will understand.
©2016 Annette Meserve



Gordon’s Opening

Palettes of color,
Palettes of spices,
About Gordon’s work,
I think it suffices

To say it’s delicious
For mouth and for eyes,
Whether served on a plate
Or drawing the skies.

He’s been cooking with art
For a very long time
And from sauces to spray paint
His work’s always the kind

That pleases the palate
In so many ways,
It’s to our advantage
Whenever he plays.

©2016 Annette Meserve

Home Again


This morning I wake up in a bed;
not in a tent,
not in a truck,
not on a picnic table.

I wake up in the arms of my husband,
in a solid house,
in Trujillo Creek.

I lay in the warmth of indoor heating,
memories dancing through my thoughts.

So recently made,
I wonder at how deeply felt these memories are,
how treasured the experiences,
how fulfilling the learning,
how dear the people.

I now add a week of writing at Ghost Ranch to my life’s list of adventures.
I look back on it with satisfaction
and with enthusiasm for the future;
for seeing how the lessons learned in the desert will affect who I am.

The Nazca Way

Be patient.
Things happen as they do.

People are not consistent beings,
People need different things every day.
For all to flourish,
We all must have those things that are important TODAY,
Even if they weren’t important yesterday,
Even if they won’t matter tomorrow.

Unless a life is threatened,
Or disaster is imminent,
Nothing NEEDS to be finished right now,
Unless it is ripe,
Unless it is ready,
Unless it is bursting forth with its potential,
Ready to share freely,
Ready to bless the world with its gifts.

Any goal that is accomplished,
Even if it is accomplished well,
If it is accomplished at the expense of people,
At the expense of their health,
Their futures,
Or their relationships,
It is not worth it.

We must be patient,
With circumstance,
With the people around us,
And with ourselves.
Together we will do great things…

In time.

©2014 Annette Meserve



We stand in this perfect moment,
Our eyes and hearts dazzled
By the raw, crystal-diamond brilliance of it,
Sharing in the experience,
And in the creating of it,
Being changed.

But it will pass,
It has to
To make room for the next moment,
And the next.

Its brilliance will fade from our eyes
As we go about our mundanity
But our hearts will remember it,
And it will not be the only one.

We wear these moments just under our surface,
As a string of precious pearls under the fabric of our clothes,
Not in full view,
But touching our skin,
Reminding us that that perfection is possible,
Available to us whenever we choose,
With us always,
Warming our hearts,
Dazzling our spirits,
While our eyes read labels at the grocery store.

©2014 Annette Meserve