Poet’s Notebook: Two Onion and Woo poems, the second telling the origin of Woo

Onion and Woo don’t go riding

Let’s go horseback riding,
said Woo, looking lazily out at the stables
where an orange mare and a dusty roan
hung their heads over the gate.

Onion was just pouring a second cup of coffee
and turned to Woo surprised?
 
You, Woo, want to go riding?!
 
Yes Onion, don’t be such a snob.
I’m the one who took those horses in
and I’m the one who keeps them fed and watered.
Why wouldn’t I want to ride them sooner or later?

Onion rolled her eyes and then widened them.
She looked at Woo very seriously, frowning slightly.
Do we even own a saddle or a stirrup or a lead
or a bridle? Or a bit? Or a lasso? Or a snakebite kit
or a saddle bag? Or a spur, or chaps? Or cool looking cowboy hats?
Or a lazy, sunset-on-the-trail soundtrack?

Woo said, Now you’ve done it. The horses are gone!

Onion: They just went around the back of the barn!
 
Let’s go fishing! said Woo.
It is a beautiful day for that.

Onion said, Do we even have fishing poles?
 
Shhh, said Woo. We can scoop them up with our hands!

Onion smiled as she sipped her coffee,
while Woo imagined all the fish they would catch:
Trout, bass, sunfish, perch,
goldfish, angelfish, clownfish,
silverfish, anglers and moonfish, beamers and salmon,
sardines, catfish, dogfish and flying fish,
all vanishing into the bucket with every scoop
of their hands, and all of them smiling,
some even winking.
 
All we need is a bucket! Woo shouted.
I’m way ahead of you, Onion said,
holding up a shiny new galvanized bucket.

Why Woo

When Woo was born
he was not what anyone expected.
His eyes were wide open

And he was smiling.

The window sash was open
and the wind was whistling through
and it made a sound like “wooo”.

When the midwife transferred Woo
to his mother’s arms
she said, “my little Woo”.

This is make-believe.
But every time I write a Woo and Onion poem
I try to see him.

He is neither one thing nor another.
But he is perfect.

He is onion’s best friend.
Sometimes he is Onion’s partner.
Sometimes he is male, sometimes female.

But he is always perfect,
like an old braided rug,
or a sweet fallen apple
or a virtuoso kazoo solo.

Or like a Grimm’s fairly tale,
or a bird rhapsodizing all by itself in the woods.

He’s someone I might overlook
when I plan a jam
because he might start randomly banging on a pot.

He’s someone I wouldn’t trust to housesit
because he might let wild animals
into the kitchen for a potluck.

He isn’t animal or vegetable.
He is different.
Just different.

And his father is the wind.
That says a lot.

That’s everything I know about him.

And I respect his autonomy
but there is the distinct possibility
that some day
he might just blow away.

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