Poetry: Casting Salt, Gathering Dust, Hurricane at Holden Beach & Sunday Rain

Casting Salt

Like sleet, the salt comes out so fast

that it over runs the teaspoon and scattered on the floor. Mother, superstitious as she was,

would remind me to take a pinch

and throw it over my left shoulder.

This to ward off evil spirits

and protect my soul. I wonder

if the cake will fall.

But I leave the salt on the floor

knowing I might spill more or snow the floor with flour. I put the cake in the oven,

check back in an hour

for any effects of my sloppy work.

But no harm done, the cake rose

in the pan and is golden brown

on top just like the recipe said. I sweep up the mess I made.

Gathering Dust

Her name, I don’t recall but she was black, black. She had kittens in my mother’s linen closet, I

only remember two, one was ebony, climbed into the car’s engine, the other we named Toby,

gray and white.

My collection of cats: Pewter, wood, ceramic, whimsical, true to life, one-inch square painted in

Paris, ruby red from a long-ago friend. Salt and pepper shakers—white with black spots from a

patient I treated. Not exactly my style, but she insisted.

I have had two cats: Puff, he was feral, took two weeks to catch him in the apartment, had

tapeworms bad. Ivory came with a fake gemstone collar, took that off right away. Puff, he used

up one of his nine lives, swallowed an embroidery needle with thread. I found it in the litter box.

Ivory had one ear amputated, a tumor. Now I have two dogs, the greyhound trained to chase

small fluffy things and a boxer/pitbull who has forgotten Ivory.

Maybe, if I wrap the figurines up, take them to the thrift shop, someone will buy the salt

and pepper shaker.

Hurricane Rain at Holden Beach

It slips from the clouds out on the horizon.

It marches towards the beach, great drops pelt the waves with dimples.

It pocks the sand like blasts from a BB gun,

pastes each grain to its neighbor. It sands

the driftwood that washes ashore. It rinses dust from the sea oats,

salt from the car. It pummels the window,

falls softly as the wind drops. It trickles down my back through the leak

in my raincoat. It needles my skin as I lean

into the wind, wishing it would wash

you from my mind.

Sunday Rain

Cascade to wash me clean,

stifle the day's monotony.

Plummet from the sky, erase death's thoughts that stain my brain.

Tumble the energy of your drops

into words on this paper.

Thunder spill from my ears so I can hear the bluebird's song.

Flood me with blue sky, wispy clouds,

honeysuckle's sweet scent.

Drown the gray clouds, drench my mind

with thoughts of the future.

Barbara Brooks, author of “The Catbird Sang” and “A Shell to Return to the Sea” chapbooks, is a member of Poet Fools. Her work has been accepted in Avalon Literary Review, Chagrin River Review, The Foundling Review, Blue Lake Review, Third Wednesday, Peregrine, Tar River Poetry among others. Her website is: www.thecatbirdsang.com