Going to the Ball
by Sandra Meade
So the pumpkin that rode home
in the back seat, itself a little carriage,
and was carried by its stem
to the front yard and set down
under the feeder, now seems small
resting on spent seeds and fresh snow.
An orange wallflower,
its slight list and concave side
make it a little tipsy.
I walk through trees to the gold orange
globe, the axe blade held away
from my leg. The Steller's Jays rise
surprised. I lift the axe, both hands. The blade
dives in, pulls up, whack
again, whack, and whack a
chant in time
Had a Wife and
in a Pump-kin shell
If there's a woman in here
she must be fairy small,
enchanted. My crude cesarean reveals
a cavern of embryonic threads,
glistening white seeds, hundreds
now spilling to the ground.
Moisture beads on the thick split
flesh. I think of dried sister gourds
shaking in the deer dance: the women
enter rattling deer claws,
seeds keep time, heads alert,
elegant legs lift, stamp the earth.
My neighbor's mule brays from its pen.
I wipe the axe blade on the snow
leaving a trail of orange membrane. Later,
I watch as deer pause at the edge of the lawn,
cautious, step uncertain, then quick,
quick, they come dancing.
is a poet, teacher, and the director and bucket woman for Scotia
House, a spiritual retreat. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives in the piney woods north
of Spokane, Washington.