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The Storm
with Your Name

Three Haiku




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The Storm With Your Name
(In reply to Before the Hurricane Arrives by Delilah Riordan.
Somewhere, out there
Is a storm with your name.
It is sucking up the sea
And with it you and me,
In its unrelenting turbulence.
At land's end we stand alone  
We two; me and you.
Toes vainly grip the tide-sucked sand
Of the low-country coast
Of this insubstantial island.
Love me on this moon-rippled sand,
Among tide-filled pools.
Here in the glare where the moon's full face
Smiles gold-amber jewels
Off the wind-licked sea.
Our passion rising as the racing tide,
Moon-pulled, storm-driven.
Together one as the first heavy drops fall
And wind-fingers pluck
At the sea oats - and our hair.
Storm-teeth rip away illusion
The wind-whipped deluge claws. 
Submitting gladly to the  tempest's maw
Our bodies are discarded,
Left, unneeded, on the shore.
We are the storm with your name.
~  April 14, 1998 (For DeeDee)


Three Haiku


Huddled in the cold
Of our making, we each heard
Love call. And answered.


From Winter’s icy
Fingers fall first crystal drops
That begin the Spring.

A Year
The year has passed
How strange that it should end
Without a sound.

~Russell, 1998



I like avocados. When preparing one for a salad or some such dish, I have often felt reluctant to throw away that big, round seed, but I never thought I could get anything to grow from one. Until now.

Some months ago at an apartment-warming, I was sitting on a divan with after-dinner drinks blending nicely with the music and the chatter of the four or five present when the unusual and lush, strong plant beside the couch caught my eye.

"An avocado plant" my hostess informed me, to my surprise, as I didn't think these could be made to grow from the seeds of the fruit bought at the supermarket — or at all in a Hong Kong apartment.

"Oh, yes." she said, "This is how I grew this one."

"Keep the seed carefully just in plain water for a while, then plant it in a pot with potting soil. Not too deep at first. Leave a little of the seed showing above the soil. Give it water and light."

I followed her advice as closely as I could. Water was not a problem; a small pot, nutritious, fresh soil, with proper draining and a base to retain the water to keep it moist. Light was a scarcer commodity. Here it filters weakly to the street at the feet of the tall heavy buildings that shoulder out the sun, but there is one narrow beam that arcs across the front window once a day when the sky is clear. It was on that sill that I placed the pot.

And waited.

Nothing happened.

It was a bad time for planting I told my self. And that was true.

Had I damaged the seed with careless cuts when I was paring away the fruit? And that may have been true. (I am sure I saw wounds at least on the surface of the seed.) Perhaps my inexperienced haste had damaged it.

But still I waited and watered and, almost daily, turned the pot nesting its nascent bulb to warm a different side to the scarce, weak sun.

When weeks became months could still not discard it. I still watered it and turned it to the sun, but perhaps less frequently or carefully.

I forget which day it was last week when I went to water the plants on that window sill. There was a three-inch greenish-brown stick jutting straight up from soil. I looked more closely. The "stick" was growing from the avocado seed.

I tried to remember in which salad I had enjoyed its flesh.

From now I could hardly look away. I knew it was foolish because I could not actually see it growing, but every time I looked it had grown taller and stronger. It is now eight inches tall. It always turns its green tip to the light, like a child's tiny finger pointing, and stands straight again between dusk and dawn.

Avocado plants grow strong and lush, but take their own natural time to bare fruit. And that needs two of them.

But I am learning to be a patient man. And I love avocado.

~ March 31st, 1999.


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