H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Every Winter


Every winter it’s the same: The long dry season ends

with huge rolling clouds turning into a black sky parked

over Santa Cruz mountains for days into weeks, dumping

rain which courses down the dirt driveway out front

runneling the low side, cutting a foot wide ditch for the

rushing drainage that dries into a deep rut we step

gingerly around for months.


Our yard features a natural spring-fed fish pond which

sits half-stagnant most of the year, but every winter fills

from both ends and sings and gurgles and waterfalls down

stones mortared into the hill. I wait for this season, when

everything is slow except the water, wait for the time

when I’ll walk outside, on a suddenly sunny day

reprieved of gloom, drunken with the blue sky, to count

branches downed by the storm and push a broom across

the pine-needle covered deck.


Every winter the pond becomes its own riparian berth.

There are frogs shouting the evening in behind reeds

swollen green and alive again.

And there are the salamanders… they come, a few

timid and out of place—(they’ll move elsewhere soon)

every winter,

and I wait for them the most.


A week or so after the pond is full again I’ll see them in

the narrows between water lilies, somehow prehistoric

in the monochrome water, a livid and dark maroon—

the deepest most thrilling red you can imagine—limned in



Every winter morning until they’re gone,

I’ll scan the moving water for the salamanders’ lazy tail

thrash to the surface for air. Soon, instead of one or two

pushing against the current, there is a pair, stacked

together and floating in place. And I am one winter older

and just as sad this year as last to see them, linked

in this dance with time, oblivious of the man

who stands in the shadow, watching.



[Originally published in NHS 2006, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs06/Marti.htm.]