Old Year

Images of the year
Drift in my mind
Like so many
Snowflakes melting
In a cold rain.
My blood turns icy
With so much frozen regret.

My dog stops.
We’ve reached a crosswalk.
Unlike me, she’s learned
Her lessons well.
But she reminds me
The years of regret are done,
So we walk on since no traffic comes.

The sun peeks out,
Deciding it’s safe,
She comes out all the way
To warm and cheer us.
My dog looks up at me
And seems to smile.

This year will be done.
Yes, soon, this year will be done.

At Christmas Eve Service

My daughter, at twenty-one, stands to my right.
The gentleman to my left turns to light my candle.
I do not know him, in that moment he is a friend.
I turn to my daughter, and with the small flame of my candle,
Light the candle she holds.

I lift my eyes to look upon her face and I know.
I feel it within me. A tiny spark jumps back
As I think of my own mother and wonder.
Did she ever look at me and feel that light, that flame inside?
Feel that spark of her soul live inside me?

It matters not what I have left undone:
No trip to Paris, No months spent living in Europe,
No books published, Nothing I wish for is important.
Nothing I long for matters to be lived, matters to be accomplished.
I have accomplished all that truly matters
And I can be at peace with any death
because
My daughter lives.

Lilith’s Mantle

from Pinterest

We reject the second mother
you would give us,
reject subjugation
of ripped rib bone,
accept not the pain
from seeking knowledge.

We have borne brutality for the ages,
Silent always,
In churches,
In governments,
In streets,
And in our homes.
Our mouths learned silence,
keeping us, at least, alive.

Oh, we were worthy of protection
As long as we were your possessions:
Your mothers, your daughters,
Your sisters, your wives.
As long as you owned us
And we did as we were told,
We lived, perhaps, unbruised.

But the brave have shown us
Through the ages and now again
They show us another way.
We find our voice,
Too strident for your ears,
But even our whispers
Are too strident for you.

You will mock us,
Vilify us, this we know.
Proudly we wear the mantle
Of the first mother,
Lilith, the one you deemed
An enemy long ago and banished.
Her spirit moves us to speak
Against the men who take
Even our bodies from us.
You may beat us, kill us,
Force us into marriage and childbearing,
Rape us, place weapons into the hands
Of the children we bear,
Weld the chains of slavery upon us,
And laughingly say we asked for it
Should we complain.

Yet after all that and more,
Our submission you will not have.
We will rise like an ocean wave
Wakened by a great quake
Beneath the sea and drown you
With the devastation of your hate.

Soon some of Lilith’s daughters
Will march. Some will wait across
The Earth.

But Lilith’s mantle
Covers us all.
The quake is coming.
The wave will free us all.

A Word

Remember whispered intimations

In the time before sleep.

Having faced down the hours

Of another day of what must be done,

How long will it take before

Forgetfulness wipes the whispers away

Of well-intentioned comfort

Along with any memory

Of facades presented but to a few

Who knew the truth?

Until then, stumble onward

Facing the intimidation

Of a blank page,

Smash a soul against it.

Read the splatters left

And know time is the matter.

Time, neither too fast, nor too slow

Can it pass before realizing

Nothing really mattered,

But the kindness

In forgetfulness.

Air

Never could breathe
When in your air.

You, your perfume,
Or something in the scent of you
Clogged my nose,
My sinuses,
My bronchial tubes
With fluid like cement,
Leaving me no air
To live on.

Really, suffocation
Never felt so sweet.

You were warmth personified
Like fire you fed on the oxygen
Whenever you wanted,
Wherever you were.
But God, it felt like heaven
To warm myself near your flames.
Until it felt like hell
And I burned in the flames,
Sucking in nothing but smoke.

Now, from the ashes,
I rise and breathe.


Once again,
I know the air.