The death of summer has me desolate.

Verdure goes gold, then turns  to tinder on the ground;
warm-weather birds have blown away
with the winds of autumn.

I have put my dear friends to bed—
sheared off their heads and abandoned them
to their sleep.

The first snow falls, leaving me cold;
a crow’s call cracks the sound
of silence.

Winter creeps in.

I have no illusions;  I am housebound,
until spring comes back.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2016


The Keepsake

A weighty book,
dragged, from a dusty shelf,
its pages fall
open, where once was placed
a near-bloomed rose,
between the sheets.

Attar stains—
rendered, from petals,
mar tender lines
of a lost-love ode.

Crushed, the rose,
secures a claret bosom,
within its velvet-edged
shroud of decay,

distant summer days—
remnants of a faceless
old flame.

Kat Mortensen©2010

Sometime Summer

Pinched moth-wings release orange fairy-dust on fingers—
chasing hoppers through new-chopped grass
you get stained knees too
bees-buzz, bees-buzz, buzz-bees, buzz
a green whip-snake writhes, as the water surges through,
ice-water sprays, making rainbows
flip-flops flap and slap down the damp driveway—
standing in a downpour in your swimsuit
small mouths sucking the hues out of icy tubes,
bowled strawberries bleed into a sugar-bed
Beefsteaks, so red, on white bread with white spread
chalks, colouring the sidewalks,
talk, talk, talk—endless talk,
giggle, giggle, giggle—screech! giggle some more
walk, walk, walk—to the store for Bazooka Joe
and bags of chips and rubber lips
running to the park, towel slung over a shoulder,
whizzing down a day-glo mellow-yellow water-slide—a short ride,
down a small hill, but what a thrill!
spinning spokes, clicking straws, streamers trail-blazing—
quick stop! agony-jolt, bike-pole-swollen
hot car seats stinging leg-backs, back-seat sleeps, road-trips,
road-games, tit-for-tat, battles and tears
the aroma of Noxema, creamed on burned backs and noses—
roses, roses, roses!
scratching itchy bites in bed, (they bled and stuck to the sheets)
hide and seek at dusk—raucous cries,
rising in the coming-night air.
life without a care …
so rare, so rare.

Kat Mortensen copyright 2010


Ice-blooded, she birthed it somewhere, in the vast Atlantic,
flint-finned, silent, steady—it came a-calling in the Summer of  1916.

Swept up by the Gulf Stream to Jersey’s shore, where hordes had learned to love a leisurely swim
in the open sea—it came.

Beyond the boardwalk at ‘Lantic City, Beach Haven,
Spring Lake, Raritan—vacation spots to die for.

They came to dip their toes in the chill of the tides—
race back to shore, shrieking with delight.

All was right, with the sun-blessed beaches—
the gentle breezes that swept the water’s sparkle,

But a man with his dog on this joyful, spree-filled day
would be torn apart by fifty serrated teeth—
his life’s blood drained away.

None to save him, and none to save those, who would fall prey to the driven one—
blood, only blood could sate the tiger of the sea.

Five more would bleed—no man, no woman, no child safe, even in the calmest creek,
the strikes would land and kill,

Until, a big-game hunter (with ice-veins of his own) would net the Great White,
and beat it with a broken oar.

Kat Mortensen copyright 2009

No Butterflies, but we’ve got BERRIES!

The Butterfly Bush (a.k.a. Buddleia)  is struggling against this heatwave
 in Southern Ontario. No butterflies to be seen.
This morning, at 6:00 a.m., I was at my stove cooking up a spectacular breakfast sandwich of multi-grain toast with grilled tomatoes, a spicy fried egg, some Jarlsberg cheese and a couple of strips of turkey bacon. 
Why was I doing this so early? It was because I had made a deal with my beloved husband last night: if he would go outside before work and water all of our plants and trees (both front and back), I would prepare a fantastic breakfast to get his day off to a brilliant start.  He did, and I did, and we were both very satisfied.
I took my mom to the bank for 9:30 a.m. when they opened their doors, so we could get ‘er done early, and get back home out of the heat.  On the way back, we stopped at the entrance to a farm, where I often pick up new perennials for a very reasonable price.  Today, they had their fruit and veg stand operating.  It’s run on the honour-system, so they have a box with a slot where you can leave cash to pay for the goods you receive.  We can home with 4 quarts of strawberries.
Last summer, I read somewhere (probably on Pinterest) that if you soak your fruit in the sink with cold water and vinegar, then rinse with cold water and pat dry, you can prolong the life of your fruit in the fridge, and most importantly, get rid of the chemical residue that rests on the outer skin of just about everything you buy.
Here are half of the strawberries having a good soak.  They are destined
 to become something wonderful this afternoon!
Prepped and ready to be made into my Strawberry-Basil Jam. Yum!

Ta da!
The remainder of the berries are lined up for a shortcake, a strawberry-rhubarb pie, or just to top a bowl of cereal.
What’s your favourite summer fruit, and how do you like it prepared?

Impressions (Memories of Youth)

I can’t remember who worked the pumps
At that gas station on the Eskasoni Road,
But I can taste their orange-pineapple ice-cream
Like it was yesterday.

I can’t envision a single one called MacAdam
On that farm up the hill, but I remember
Cuddly kittens in the barn and sticky-sweet fresh cows’ milk.

I don’t know who was there that summer,
But I can feel the chilly outhouse hole
Beneath my bottom—see the fireflies
Dancing me back to bed.

I can’t retrace the paces to that folk dance
We mastered at St. F’s school,
But still I see the red-wool ribbon pulling back my hair—
My favourite long, plaid peasant-dress.

I don’t know who checked us out
At the clean green, grocery-store,
But I can feel my leotards slip on the shiny, stiff
Plastic horse by the front window—hear the nickel-clink.

I can’t resurrect the old man’s face again,
Down eastward on that 1960s train,
But I can hear his accent inquiring of me,
“Parlez-vous Francais”?

I’ve packed away those long-dead kisses
From men and boys-gone-by;
Lips soon forget, but I yet inhale
The pungency of Jovan Musk and Brut.

I’ve no clue to the colours of their eyes—
Guitar-toting guys on Ingonish beach,
But still the memory comes back to me each time I hear
Hotel California,

But each time you walk out the door
Of my life every single day
Your face remains indelibly traced
On the walls of my mind.

Kat Mortensen copyright 2008