Wings

A wish to follow the sun
And always know its light
Was a childhood dream.
I never wanted to know night.

Terrors happened without light,
So began my craving
For warmth and light.

The natural world and its order
Cannot satisfy such cravings.
One must learn to live without light.
An adult adjustment, a drooping in the spine
Of spirit, a caving inward happens
When childhood cravings must give way
To the knife sharp edge of the adult
World order, how one learns to avoid
The blade of reality, curl inward.

Others hammered out cages
That seemed to fit for me.
Told me to shut up and be happy.
Each wire in the cage a reason
For my unhappiness
With which the one who wielded
The hammer had nothing to do so it was claimed
Or
Each wire a welded bond of a reason
Why I should be happy
If I shut up and smiled
A pretty smile
and wept tears of happiness
Upon my fiery, welding savior.

For years, I kept silent.
Silence made for a peaceful cage,
So I had learned.

Then it happened.
My silence gathered round me,
Head to toe,
Wrapping me in darkness and warmth.
At first, panic.
Nothing good ever happened in darkness.
But I felt them start to form.
Slowly, painfully.
So painfully.
A pain I had never felt before,
Starting in my mouth,
Traveling down my throat,
Seeping out either side of my spine
Between my shoulder blades.
Giving birth had been less painful
Than this, as if new bone and tissue
Formed and moved and settled in.

After a few years,
the chrysalis of silence split open.
I spoke as my new sprouted wings dried,
“You were the wires of the cage meant
To keep me from the warmth I crave,
Meant to keep me from the stirrings of my blood.
Meant to keep me from the sun.”

I am caged no longer now.
I migrate with the sun
And all things those with cages
Sought to keep me from,
Things that stir the blood,
Things that feed on
The warmth of the sun
Are mine to alight upon.

Darkness and Flame

one of my own images

Let me walk into the darkest sunrise,
Then let me crawl into the brightest sunset.
Fading into each as all my weaknesses,
All my wrongs, all my sins, all my flaws
Boil to the surface, burn,
Turning black and crusting over me.

Let me emerge,
Then from the cracking, heaping ash,
Surely not as perfect,
But as something better,
Like iron tempered into steel.

Yet if emerging
As a thing tempered
I cannot be,
Let me be content to simply fade
Into darkness and flame,
Consumed by each in turn
Until nothing remained
And I become
The darkness and the flame.

Every Thing

Changed, evolved.

Everything

Used to be a verdant green

Of fresh, newborn spring.

Evolved into a chilly thing,

Brown, dried husks,

A few barely clinging

To a tree in late autumn,

Early winter.

Seems something, someone

Sucked the hope out,

Fed on it as if it were life’s blood,

And everything is drained, a leftover hull

Of what once was.  But everything goes on.

As if all is the same and nothing

Is gone.

The Vase

image from Wallpaper Cave

Filled with years of sentimentality,
The vase slips from my hand,
Falling in slow motion to the floor.
The crystal shatters,
Breaking into a million shards,
An ocean wave sweeping across
The living room floor—
And all I think—
What a perfect metaphor
For so many things.
It is brokenness perfected,
And the scattered shards are but
Jagged pieces of a life,
A person,
A heart,
A soul,
A world.
All not so easily swept up
And thrown in the trash bin.

Yet a crystal vase
Is easily replaced.

Steak

In youth,

I’d take my steak

Well done only,

Extra dead, I’d say.

Now, older,

having been taught,

Palette educated years ago,

I’ll take my steak

Rare only,

Extra moo, I say

Raw if I could,

I say with a smile,

The tang of iron upon the tongue.

Swallow down fibrous chunks

of bloody muscle

barely chewed.

Wash down all reproach

With the tinny taste

Of blood.

Words Never Said

The things we never said numbered,

Counted out and measured

Against the years.

No voice given

To the bouquet

Of words

In truth I’d have said,

For you chided

Me like a child

When I tried.

A throat choked

By petals, stems, and leaves.

No air to the blood

That feeds the heart.

Need and want and desire

Existing

No longer,                                                          

Till I am not

Myself

Or who I wanted to be.

But the version of me

You wanted,

Standing mute

With tongue ripped out,

Defined

And custom made

By your design

To fill your needs

And by doing so

Drain mine,

Turning me

Into a dried shell,

A casing,

Twisted and turned,

Positioned just so,

Used for the display

Of you.

Time

image from istock

Time broke,
And you were there,
Black and white upon a screen,
Seeming to tumble
In time to the thump, thump
From a machine.

Time split in half,
And you were there,
Barely a teen,
Trying on a mountain of jeweled dresses
Frowning and sighing.
Finally smiling
After reluctantly putting on a dress
I asked, “Just try it, please?”

Time shattered,
And there you were,
Clattering down the hall,
Your tiny toddler feet
In my size nine heels.

Time wrecked,
And there you were,
An adolescent sleeping,
Lips parted,
A fist clutching a beloved stuffed bunny,
So grown, yet so tiny still.

Time crumbled,
And you were there
In your toddler car seat,
Sobbing, fat toddler tears
For we had no food
To give the homeless man on the corner.
So, we drove through McDonald’s and bought a meal for him.
Your tears stopped. You smiled as I handed him the meal.
But the incongruity of your toddler voice admonished,
“Next Sunday, after church, we need to buy a healthy meal
And bring it to him. McDonald’s isn’t healthy to eat all the time.”

Time exploded,
And there you were,
Sitting in a swing, hands reaching for the sky;
Crying in my arms, heart breaking for the first time;
Laughing on Saturday morning, maple syrup running down your chin;
Praying the Lord’s prayer in church, brow furrowed in toddler earnestness.


Time coalesced,
Healing its broken,
Shattered,
Split,
Wrecked,
Crumbled,
Exploded
Self.

Time mended,
Leaving us broken
In its wake
To find ourselves—
Mother, aged
And daughter, grown
To know each other
Again.