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by Linda Thomas

Medicine! children say,

or mint or spice or

the tin of turpentine

in the garage. O cousin

to the sunflower,

your summer death

deceives us when

your narrow leaves crumble

in our hands, our palms

sticky with your scent,

the smell of California

for a child like me who

wandered creek beds

with a Ball jar, on lookout

for the quick silver

of minnows and tadpoles.

Then and now,

like a sharp hum,

you fill my head when the rains

set in and the dawn fog

calls to you. Overnight

it seems,

gray softens to green,

the silky easy handful

of home.


The Sparrow in Willow


by Linda Thomas

Deep in the brush

a cage of twigs

so closely stitched

my camera can’t

find its way in, even

when I fold my arms

across my chest as if

I might be there

too, a small me

and this sparrow.

Half click:

leaf: shift.

Half click:

bee: shift.

Half click . . .

like that again

and again

working my way



where the blur of her

perches to consider

her disguise

streaked as twigs, where

the patch that marks

her heart is a catkin.

All becomes all

except for me.


*All photos by the author


Linda Thomas is a retired community college writing professor. She now volunteers for Sea and Sage Audubon as a birder and naturalist.

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