The Woman Who Remembered the Taste of Apricots

Courtesy of brighterblooms.com

First published in Pinecone Review’s Be Proud With Pride edition


The woman lied to herself.
Said life is not had without hope,
Believing hope resided within her chest
Just under the bones,
As she remembered the taste
Of fresh apricots,
The sweetness of their juices
Bursting in her mouth,
The texture of their pulp
Playing against her tongue—
She remembered—
Fresh apricots 
During the weeks of summer
In the year the earth awoke,
Stretching and yawning,
Turning as if 
To bring sunrises closer
And hold sunsets dear—
That summer the girl,
Holding beating hope,
Emerged from the cracks forming 
In the left side
Of the woman’s chest.
Thus, the woman who lied
About holding onto hope,

Crumpled and died,
Shriveled like the over-ripened apricots
On the ground beneath the tree in your yard.
The girl, holding hope, emerged
Laughing with joy at all the smiling
Universe seemed for once to offer up
In the taste of apricot flesh
And the sweet juice that quenched thirst
After years of waiting want.

The earth tilted back, turning once again,
Withdrawing from sunrise and sunset.
Then the apricots were gone.
Picked, fallen to the ground,
Nibbled by birds and squirrels.
The girl, who held hope, 
Shrank down, curling into a fetal position,
Within the dead woman who lied
About having hope and who
Was now revived, resuscitated,
Like a cannibal feeding off a beaten enemy
Of faith, of pain, of living hope,
By the now shrunken head like girl,
Who had held beating hope 
That could beat no longer
As the revived woman remembered
Always—
The taste, the feel of the flesh of fresh apricots.





Questions

Image is my own

Originally written for Sammi Scribbles Weekend Writing Challenge- Using Question in exactly 84 words but I didn’t get back to edit it down until today.

Questions hang in the air
Like heavy coastal fog
On cool autumn mornings

Eternal questions of humanity:
All the whys, the wonderings--
Never answered prayers--
Laying pressed between the
Pages of a book like brown,
Dried flowers—forgotten,
Having lost their sentiment.

Speak the differences
Among roses, weeds, wildflowers—
Inconsequential answers
For inconsequential questions.

Could sense of counting
Out the hours be sliced 
Like blood, blooming meat
To find truth absolute
Like high priestesses of old,
Scry the answer 
In a blood filled bowl?



The Widow Sings

Image courtesy of CanStockPhoto.com
The widow colors the sky

The ground, the trees,
The winds with cold and heat
Of all that cannot be spoken,
Of spirits tethered to stone.

You may never know she is there.
She may wear the red nose.
She may laugh with you.
She may hold out her hands to help.
All so you are not overwhelmed by her presence.

She hides within her weeds.
Sometimes she hides within the willows.
She may smell of pomegranates
Or roses at midnight,
The scents betray her presence.

But you will not see her arms and hands
Covered in thorns and trickling with blood,
The tears of her body, dripping away,
Speaking in tongues no one can understand,
As she stands alone.

She sees history through a broken prism
Of her words never strong enough to bind
Love to prayers weighted with magic enough
To fly straight to God’s ear, to be heard,
To be answered, to raise flowers of miracles.

In the end, the widow is left,
Singing colors of grief.
When all the praise singers have left her
In the muddy soil leavings of wicked tongues,
Gone on to daily lives, the day to day,
The widow stands,
Singing colors of grief,
Covered in thorns.






Consequences of Time

Image courtesy of Pexels.com
Consequences of time

Climb and mount
About the throat,
Following the path
Of arteries and veins,
And as if by magic,
Enter into the blood
To provide a dram bit
Of bitter choking poison
To the will of moving blood
That slows and stills
In the knowing.

Dying Magnolia Tree

Image is my own
The magnolia tree is dead or dying
Said the experts at the nursery
Which planted it.
No green leaves hang upon it,
Only these brittle, brown things
Cling to its limbs still.

The experts give me two things,
Free of charge of course,
To try to resuscitate my magnolia.
The experts tell me everything to do
Over the next eight weeks,
But not to worry, if it all doesn’t work,
The tree will be replaced.  It’s guaranteed.

A guarantee I never thought I’d need.
I did everything right:
Watering and fertilizing,
Watering and fertilizing,
Factoring in all the rain—
Yet here it stands dead or dying
In this place you never knew.

Like with you, in the place you knew,
I did everything I knew to do—
Replace the cooking pots and pans with stainless,
Only organic foods, red wine the only alcohol,
Broke all the cigarettes in two,
Quit my job to care for you—
Until—

Until the fourth time it returned,
Spread to the lungs and liver,
You wanted your cigarettes and alcohol back.
How could I argue?  Say no to that?
Yet even then—
I found you cigarettes with no additives, organic tobacco too.

Until January, our magnolia bloomed as you lay dying,
When at midnight a storm blew through,
Minutes later, you died 
And the magnolia shed its blooms.	

So here now, in this new place,
I planted a magnolia in memory
     Of what was, what was not,
     Of what could have been, should have been,
     Of what would have been
If I possessed the magic to shape shift
Into the one you most wanted.

And now, this tree in this new place
Stands dead or dying.

But I will do as the experts say:
     Spray from top to bottom for disease,
     Shock the roots every other week
Until mid- November, hoping to bring it back,
Bring it back from the edge of death.

If I can’t, the nursery will replace it
With another magnolia tree.

Yet I must think on that.
In this place, in this soil, perhaps
A magnolia is not meant to be.

I may ask them to replace it
With a different tree.
For it could be,
That here and now,
Magnolias are no longer meant for me.


An Autumnal Baptism

Image is my own

Caught in the evening downpour,
I am washed clean of summer.
Summer’s red rock, red dirt dreams
Sluiced from me with this autumnal drenching.

Morning greets me with a cool hand
Of sunshine upon my brow.
Autumn whispers of a harvest
Under skies of bluest topaz.

A clear, clean, honest reaping
In days yet to be had.

Bouquets of the Ramshackle

https://amanpan.com/category/eugis-prompts/

With ramshackle shards
Of heart, soul, self
Falling away like the browned petals
Of a long-wilted bouquet,
We create a riotous noise
In ramshackle attempts
To find some connection.

Lumbering, awkward attempts
At reaching out to touch once again,
To replace, to freshen 
The brown wilted and missing parts
With new bouquets of spring
Whose stems sit in eternally
Fresh, clean waters.

We dream of a life lived
No longer ramshackle,
With no long-wilted bouquets
Of a past to haunt with falling petals,
But a life returning whole,
To move without noise
Through the world once again.

A Prayer to the Ancestors

Image courtesy of BBC

What would I learn 
Could I raise your bones
From the earth?
And like some ancient medicine woman
Scatter them like runes to read
Or use them in the making
Of a sacred instrument
To rattle next to my ear?
What would their music tell me?
Would their rhythms move me?
Would there be some wisdom spoken?
Hidden within the notes of rattled rhythms
Of all your dried out unearthed bones
Is there enough marrow left to have
All my ancestors speak to me?
Should I, in some ancient tribal ritual
Of ancestral cannibalism,
Ingest your ground bones
Mixed with magic into an elixir
Infused with your ancestral spirits, 
Be given the power of thunder
And lightening that is your strength
Earned by you through the ages?
Is this how your spirits will travel through me
Teaching me of all the earth and sky?
Is there a way to know, to learn
To hear all the secrets you deem I need,
Need to know in this time, this place
For this, this last chapter
Of what I have left to me?
My ancestors, for I have wasted 
Away pages and chapters,
Squandered decades of the anthology
You have written into me.
Ancestors, speak to me, 
So I waste not the years
Left to be written 
By your spirits into me.

Dream No More

Image is my own

https://godoggocafe.com/2021/08/31/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-august-31-2021/

Todays prompt: “waterfall wishes”

She will never fall to earth again
After soaring among the stars,
The planets a blur. No.

No.  She will never swim 
In the deepest oceans,
Cavorting with dolphins and whales.  No.

No.  Never will her soul fly,
Brushing shoulders with angels,
Their wings touching upon her face.  No.

No.  Never these things.
Never these dangerous things again.
Never allowing illusions to gain sway.  No.

No.  She will plant her feet firmly in the ground.
Her heart cemented in her chest.  Yes.

Yes. That once mighty waterfall
Has slowed to a trickle
As there no longer exist
Any waterfall wishes.

Gems of Dawn and Sunset

Image is my own

 

If I could gather a handful of dawn and a handful of sunset,

I’d cut and polish each handful into gems

                       For you to keep,

To take out and wear as you would wish,

For there are no stones of value containing beauty enough

To give you but these that are not true stone—

 

Yes, a handful of sunset,

A handful of dawn—

Their beauty ever constant,

Yet ever changing—

Daily renewed—

The only things containing beauty enough

For you.