Children of the Moon, Chapter 6: Renegade

Black snakes lounged on jalousie windows
dozing until evening to dine
on the raucous chir-chirr-chir-ring tree frogs

Mira worked with her father in the garden
sunlight flying down in soft arrows,
imbedding in the flesh of the air

Heat murmured, a murmur she heard
near the ground among marigolds and lilies
and her father’s favorite roses

She listened for her white and brown terrier:
Solis, he might be hurt;
she looked around: Or lost in the woods;
Him? her father replies, Lost?
Never.

Mira weeded among the light green leaves
and aromatic white clusters of shell ginger,
and Solis trotted through the side yard

He passed white-eyed purple bougainvillea;
a multicolored jewel necklace hanging
from his jaws

Dropping it at her side he waited for praise;
What is that? her father jumped to his feet
A coral snake, Mira said;
Not likely, her father looked closer:
Oh, it is.

A metallic whirring caught their attention
as a mosquito truck rolled down the street,
fog coursing from its sprayers

Sprinting into the house, Mira called Solis
and he followed; her sisters and brothers
already closing all the windows and doors

Setting off in the morning, carrying penknives,
canteens and mess kits, Mira, Will, Laurel
and Sandy followed an asphalt road;
waves of heat created mirages of lakes
always ahead on the black adhesive strip

Sandy showed them coins of tar
on the soles of his sneakers
and they passed a great blue heron
lying by the side of the road, glistening
feathers dulled by dust and dried blood

Crossing a roadside ditch, they each
left a footprint in the crusted mud to mark
where they entered the woods

An indigo snake scaled the parched lips
of the ditch, seeking shelter in the grass;
bright yellow mullein flowers shocked
the evergreen and palmetto
in dashes of sunlight and dots of shade

Mira suggested: Let’s go to the fire tower;
and they pounded down paths
through sand blackberry

The palmettos thinned out, fan-like leaves
theatrical against the backdrop of sand-plain;
in a scattering of scrub pine, some lower branches
drying and barren of needles,
they scanned for fossils

Climbing to the top of the fire tower
they surveyed a thickening web of forest;
an eagle picked up from the horizon
and as it spiraled above them
they lifted their eyes to its broad level wings

A path ran back into the forest
and along the way, they found seed pods
and wild raspberries; quartered light fell
on deep-green nightshade
and blue dusky palmetto

At noon, they rested on cool layers
of pine needles and shared their food
as the needles glowed russet-gold

Sandy said: I would like to live in a log cabin
far out in the woods with a friend or two;
you can make everything, grow your own food.

Mira said: I’ve thought about living on my own;
and visualized her grandmother’s people:
That’s what Seminole means:
Breaking away. Renegade. To me
it means free.

To read Children of the Moon: The Prologue, click here

You can follow the links from there at the bottom of each chapter’s page.

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