Ash and Blood

image from Moblog by orbits

Ash soft upon the brow.

Atonement drifts

On frankincense smoke.

No one ever seeks

To wear the stigmata

Upon hands and feet.

There be no martyrs here.

Confessions worn down

By touching whispers

Of brokenness.

A shattered seeking

Of what heals in ash and blood,

Whispering of saints and sinners.

Wingless prayers spoken for things lost

In a darkness of light.

The wish of a murdered truth

Contained in dusty grey skies

Of wanting and desire

 Sought over again–

To now seek and send a trembling

Hand to reach with no strength to grasp–

For a soul too wearied

From the grinding away

Of trying.

How to Fix a Valve

Image by Amorphisss on DeviantArt.com
How to fix this leaky valve?
First, a mild little
Drip…drip…drip
But it’s worn just a bit more
To a moderate
Drip, drip, drip
And on so it goes to bleed out
A smidgen here and there,
Muttering and stuttering
About things it could once contain.
Nothing a spritz of WD can’t fix.
Maybe some plumber’s tape round the edge
To help the seal when it should close.
Maybe some solder to narrow the band?
Or use the iron to apply that stitching stuff
To hold a hem or two?
 
Or perhaps,
              Just rip it from my chest.
              Throw it to the flames.
              Watch it shrivel, turning black
              And then to ash.
              Who knows? I may be rewarded
              With a bird of feathered flame,
              Clutching in its talons a burning heart
              To place inside my chest.
 
Or, if not, I could use the ash
To mark my empty breast
With an X.

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.

Autumn

If only these colored leaves
Of red and gold and orange
Could be caught,
Snatched gently
By careful hands
To be savored, arranged
Somehow preserved,
Rather than fall, lifeless
Torn from their limbs
By careless winds,
Shoved to the ground
With murderous violence
To be trampled and ground to dust
Or raked and bagged for trash
Or better yet,
If only these colored leaves
Of gold and red and orange–
Could stay filled with life
And be always green.

The Beauty of Hands

Aesthetics of skin, nails, knuckles, bone
Does not exist in
The beauty of hands
Lending help when needed is seen.
Pulling a bloody tourniquet tight
in the midst of battle,
Swinging a hammer
to build a house,
Raking earth
to plant a garden,
Painting
a work of art,
Cradling
a child to sleep,
Caressing
a lover’s skin.
A lifetime of doing is the beauty of hands.

Trails

Set out years ago
Dropped breadcrumbs
Some no bigger than dust particles
Of the soul
Along the roads and paths
Thought I’d find my way back,
There’d be time
There’d be years
Be months
Weeks
Days
Seconds
Left before the sand
Absconded with the hourglass
To find the trail of dust and crumbs
Sweep and pour them
Back into the soul
Add a few ingredients
Create once more
From the beginning

 

But birds and squirrels
Feasted on the leavings
And I’ve no desire
To return to where I started.