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Darrell Petska

Kitchen Meditation


My philodendron is a calculated thinker

appraising each facet of sunlight.

In a clay pot's darkness richly moist

it knows deep intimacies.


My philodendron takes the Middle Path.

True to itself, it needs no acclaim.

Grounded to the moment, untroubled

by death, it thrives on selflessness.


Touring my kitchen, befriending spiders,

my philodendron stays well connected.

It communes with my cat sitting guard below.

It is Mecca to the leaf mites.


My philodendron is a model citizen

living peaceably with begonia and fern.

It accepts my cuttings, abiding by

laws of this house, whose air it purifies.


Time-traveler on a guide-string,

alchemist with darkness and light,

my philodendron aspires to the heavens

yet plants its roots firmly below.



Moonlight and Metta


Our cabin snugs against a mountain

high beneath the moon. Here I tell stories

to my grandchildren, who are kind and listen.

My dearie bakes cookies, treating the children

as I tell my stories. She is also kind to me.

Even the storekeepers in town hear me out.


I am lavished with kindness, and when I say

the stories endlessly spill from the moon,

gaining luster as they sift through the mountain's

high trees and flow down the slopes to my feet,

the children laugh in kindness and say "Oh, Grandpa!"


I built our cabin thinking I'd chosen the mountain

with its steady moon as home, when all along

they were waiting for me. The stories come,

the children thrive. Thanks be to kindness.

In moonlight. Pine scent. Cookies made of love.



Darrell Petska retired recently as editor for the College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison. His spouse of more than 40 years and their five adult children have always been the focal point of his life. His poetry appears in Modern Haiku, Red River Review, San Pedro River Review, Shot Glass Journal and elsewhere.