Beggar’s lice


Your words are like crumbs on my path.

Scraps, scattered to blaze a journey, a passage home.

I gobble them hungrily, like the black-capped chickadee

darting, pivoting, hanging upside down to feed:

a balancing act on  Queen Anne’s lace and  beggar’s lice.


My days, nights are consumed with caches of your words

I’ve stored in dead bark, leaves, and clusters of conifer needles-

a 4G data plan-till my 28 day memory fades.

The words putrefy in morning light on that 29th day…

like manna, words were never meant to be hoarded,

kept prisoner in the brain…like cankers and galls on oak trees.


I count the words on my fingers-

I tick them off.

Flicking my fingers in a chant-

like the Northern flicker on dead wood.

It is not enough.


Instead I would be the Gier, King of Sky,

not groveling ground-ward, sedulously scurrying,

mindlessly amassing the soupcan you’ve strewn upon my path.

My olfactory lobe piercing the litter of the forest floor.

I reign in confidence, kettling skyward on thermals.

I know what I want: not morsels of words

or Hackelia virginiana buried in my  socks,

My Life Is.

and crumbs on forest floors leave me hungry.


By Barbara A Meier


Books for writers                                       FAQ