CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Two Poems
Nancy Leonard



Palms

Anthropologies of dance
By the beach—
The sand, white
The longest fronds
Lean protectively in this
                         Garden of palms & flowers
The little resistant one holds stiff thick fronds up & up;
Long mama can almost reach him
Wind kicks things up this morning.

 All does not agree between west and east,
                        Of the same tree:
One leaning this way, wrapping the scrappy trunk
With camouflaging leaves.
The other pointing east, flinging off
                          The drag of trunk
                  dumbing down      security of it all                    
(Maybe a hurricane will undo it)     

Over here, it’s different.
There’s a steady hula hula
              everyone together with the breeze.
The stalk layers evenly like a pineapple,
     on the top great long swoops,  skirted ones,
             Waving & waving together
One way, the other, till they form
A dance line of tall tassled palms next over.

He’ll do the solo. His dead and dying fronds stay wrapped,
 dangled like ancestors who
                 Give off pride now they’re not fed,
& make the tousled top greener.
      The soloist, so feathered, ignores the hula wave,
 Tosses to his own tune.
  Mingles brown decaying death
                    With the great flinging flight
                   Of palm leaves dancing to the sun.      







How to Do Whales

Forty variations on this theme of break, and family made of opposed inclinations and children brought in, irrevocably other, by their own lights and ours. Sobs like whales swimming in tides of change and whereas seventy dashed against the shore and wetsuited volunteers pushed them back to sea, again the sobs forty variations on the theme of break. Underwater, they sang unheard songs and sociably formed families; lived. Last year’s whales also hurled and beached themselves, were saved; next year ninety of them may do it. Throw your body on a whale. Cast your future around a mammal that might be your son.  When you’re tired, beach yourself.