I will grieve the memories
not made in this place.
I will let the ashes of hopes
Sift in wisps like fine sand,
Falling in desperate escape,
Between the fingers of my aching hands.
A pretty house, yes.
The aesthetics, pleasing—
Built to fill a need
To cook Thanksgiving and Christmas,
Those production number meals,
Of which picture post card
Memories are made,
—the brined turkey, the standing rib—
Yet this place remains a hollow shell, pretty, yes,
containing no memories made
Of laughter and holidays and meals,
Didn’t need that larger Christmas tree—
No need, no need—
A harsh lesson to learn—
There is such a thing
As aging out of a place—
Too old for patience,
I have not five or ten years
To see if memories be made
To turn this hollow, pretty shell
Into the home I hoped.
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—
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
The taste, the feel of the flesh of fresh apricots.
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,
Having lost their sentiment.
Speak the differences
Among roses, weeds, wildflowers—
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 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
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.
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 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.
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.
To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!