KB Ballentine

KB Ballentine loves to travel and practice sword fighting and Irish step dancing: those Scottish and Irish roots run deep! When not tucked in a corner reading or writing, she makes daily classroom appearances to her students. Learn more at www.kbballentine.com.

Your Shadow in My Path

Peppered by dreams – tossing, stirring –
I rise in the still-dark, watch the Pink Moon

peek-a-boo the clouds. Another hour then her chin
will graze the ridgeline and disappear behind the mountain.

Twilight in this room. My breath fogs the window,
frost braiding glass and trees. 

Somewhere in Key West the strand boils
as sea turtles muscle across the beach 

answering the rhythm of surf. Sand pebbles their flippers, 
their faces glitter with diamond-dust 

as they paddle toward the ocean’s rolling foam.
   We watched from the dunes, sea oats tickling our knees.

Laughter tangling in the wind, our limbs.
I close my curtains on winter snow, hunger for the sea

in my hair, on my skin – spray licking and stinging,
herons plodding the breakers. How can I wait

when spindrift whispers a hex into my sleep,
when an ibis ghosts the snow-filled sky? 

When salt tangs the air, the taste of tears
lingers in this cold and lonely room.

Aim at the Wilderness

I follow where she leads,
   her nose relishing the unknown.
The wilds of our walk call to her.
      Where I see the same houses, the same
trees, she pays no attention. 
   A squirrel in our yard would have sparked leaps
around trees, frantic barking. 
      But here one rushes two feet past,
and her nose wriggles and snuffles
   along a path only she knows.
She stops, pushes her snout a little closer, 
      a little further into the grass, the dirt,
tail wagging, hind paws dancing.
   To be that eager, that excited 
about anything – to shut out all 
      but this moment, right now.
The holiness of that – ahh, the secret.

How the Light Gets In

Just past the surface, water wrinkles
 in a riptide, pulls and tugs, pushes
its way past reef and rock as salt and sand
 whirl in the waves, foam bright in the air.

Limestone fissures, gray furrows
 that change, split with the rain,
droplets that seep and settle,
 lick the stones’ roughness until it surrenders.

Boulders spill down the mountainside,
 thunder through a canopy of trees and oh
how the forest flourishes – performs a magic
 on the sleeping seeds in moss and leaf rot.

The pieces of whatever’s left 
 inside my chest begin to soften, 
edges smoothed by time –
 shadows  shrinking…

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