Leaves half dead brown half living green dappled with the gold of hope, sparkling, dangle from the tree as if life clutched within holds a secret on this wonderful warm winter afternoon— masquerading as a spring day-- joyous—these leaves reflecting light like crystals of a fancy chandelier-- yet the leaves, fragile as they are, will fall upon the forest floor with tomorrow’s cold winds which they cannot withstand and my heart, like the leaves— not green enough to withstand assaulting winter but today, today— chooses to clutch at the hope in this masquerade of spring.
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.
Image courtesy of TheSpruce.com
She walks to the end
of dark uncurling days
at the edge of the earth,
witnesses the new day
She’d give it to herself
could it be contained,
arranged within some vase,
held within her hands,
that cannot hold
such flowering strength.
She breathes in hope,
taking it deep into her lungs
where oxygen mingles
with blood and becomes one—
a seed took root in the moment
as all things familiar to her die.
I wait for spring—
When days run long,
While hope emerges
Green from the earth
Warmed by a sun
Who knows the spell
A gentle warmth brings
With a smoothness of breath
Taken in the calmness of colors
Basking in the light of a day
Nourished by winter’s ashes.
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.
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.
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—
The only things containing beauty enough
Walking through days--- There are too many left And not enough To let me forget. I walk into sunrises Into sunsets-- There are not enough Sunrises or sunsets left In life to let me forget And too many yet to live To live in remembering. I walk to gain forgetfulness. There are not enough miles, Not enough steps, Not enough earth To walk To bring About forgetfulness. I walk, seeking shelter From thunderstorms Yet they remind me. I walk, seeking exhaustion In the mountains Yet they remind me. I walk, seeking the healing of salt From ocean waters Yet they remind me. All speaking In whispers Of the earth’s remembrance. It all reminds me— The brilliant azure sky, The verdant green of forests, The primal roar of oceans, The Rorschach shape of clouds, The roil gray of storms— It all reminds me, Brings me back Nothing allows me to forget.
I am unsure how this happened, but the stone grew, encasing me, protective and cold, a walking grave of comfort for many years. Now, having grown moss over the passing of so many seasons and used to the weight of stone I carry into the calm of night, blossoms burst forth from this tonnage of comforting cold stone, this grave of a home I have known. I would like to twist, turn away from such blossoms, yet find I cannot. I cannot gather dust to me, creating stone again. Cannot piece shards together for there are not enough left in this remaining dust. As I rest in this place, I will tuck these blooms away-- Until they bear ripened fruit, Readied for picking. Fragrant blossoms that they may only be for now.
Against a sky of perfect blue
Containing strains of purest white,
My heart and soul,
A kite woven,
Finally, after all the years,
Unafraid of the heights
Attained on these winds.
My hope no longer dwells within
A fortress built
Of scars or fears
That others would have me hear.