I knew how to dance once. Didn’t have to think about the placement of feet, a way back when the movement of elegance and grace, of heat and passion, of fun and joy was all rhythms I could hear and follow, Reveling in the feel Before a shoulder snapped out of joint, Hanging limp at my side, And I unlearned the lessons of dance, Unlearned all the intricacies Of the Argentine, Unlearned the grace Of the Viennese, Unlearned the joy Of doing double time.
Unlearned everything of dance Until I barely remembered I once knew how to dance.
Then I tried to learn The Texas Two Step And failed and failed and failed Couldn’t feel the steps and glides That looked so easy, so fun And I wondered if I ever had known How to really dance. Maybe once, a long time ago, I could have mastered this, This Texas Two Step dance.
Words do not come easy this morning
In this my holding cell,
This state of in between.
Months of wait for this,
Wait for that.
I’ll feel settled, peaceful,
When my house is built,
When I’ve moved back,
When my spirit and body
Are no longer hemmed in a tiny apartment,
When winter breaks,
When spring arrives,
When I can no longer remember a North Texas sky,
When I can no longer remember you
Before I pulled the curtain away.
The fantasy of you seemed so real—
A dream come true—
A dream pitted against the reality of you,
A dog fight tearing me into tiny bits.
Now I glue and duct tape myself
Back together the best I can.
I may be missing a bit here and
A shred or two there. But they will
Scar over under the duct tape and glue.
No roots here, Not under this. Not under this, North Texas sky. Nothing grew, Nothing rooted, Although I tried.
I planted native plants, Fertilized and tended, Weeded and watered, Talked lovingly even, Became the crazy lady With the plants.
For a bit, just a bit, Each plant bloomed In wonderful cinematic, Glorious technicolor. I would think– I’ve got it right! But no. Each would start To wilt and fade. I googled and researched, Soil tested even. Yes, it’s true– to know What to do. But I was doing everything right.
No expert could tell me true, Just why I could not Get anything to flourish, to grow, to root In this, this North Texas soil Under this, this North Texas sky.
My hope is Different now, Changed, evolved. Once a verdant green Of fresh, newborn spring. Now evolved into this chilly thing– Brown, dried husks, A few barely clinging To a tree in late autumn. Seems something, someone Sucked the hope out, Fed on it as if it were life’s blood, And I am left drained, a leftover hull Of what once was. But I go on As if all is the same and nothing Is gone. A tree in winter, Hoping enough green Is left to grow, to live in spring.
I had not realized That still I wore the black, The widow’s weeds of anger, These five years hence Your death. Until today, When at your grave, I stood and, in finality, Cast them away.
Now, emerging from the black chrysalis Of my anger, Perching upon the vine, I can spread the wings, Waving them, allowing them to dry.
And you, my wife, are not here. Not under this six feet of earth. You have long flown away, Beyond the things we were and were not, Beyond the languages we spoke and wrote To one another yet could not understand, Beyond the desire of ego and want and need, Beyond the hurts and the pains of life and selfishness To where only truth, love, and real atonement Color a spirit and soul in a prism of flames.
And in my freedom from anger and pain, I wear your vine with my own rose, and I am the Monarch with wings ready to fly.
Through wisps of thin streaming clouds, The last full moon of the decade Looked down on me and seemed to nod. Why? I’m not sure. I thought and tried to puzzle it out. The decade? Perhaps. Did this last full moon wish me To think about this decade?
What ten years can bring: A wife battling ovarian cancer For her life and loosing; Loosing myself along the way And finding me and loosing me All over again; A profession left in disgust For the pleasure of retirement; A daughter nearly lost and then regained. Talk about water swirling slowly down the drain. But it swirls no longer. The ground leveled. The tub fills. I have finally grown into my skin.
I look to the moon again and she seems to nod Once more. From somewhere, I smell a faint Scent of narcissus. Yes, it would be easy. Play the fool once more and return to that place, find beauty and comfort In blue skies And soft grasses by mountain lake, Breathing in the sweet narcissus scent, Pretending for a little while That everything offered was true. But brimstone to my soul would it be. Leave the blue skies, the soft grasses, the mountain lake, The scent of narcissus behind. This I must do or my soul I would lose.
This is a blog about my life. It's about much more than living with cancer. It's about reading books, cold water swimming, mothering, eating. All that stuff that people who don't have cancer do. If you're looking for my poems you need to go to fmmewritespoems.wordpress.com