As a child, I survived the explosion of dreams that left hot greasy remnants dripping down the four-inch squares of avocado green ceramic tiles, marring their mirror like shine. As a grown woman, I survived the eruption of dreams that poured down an encasement of hot ash over all of life’s plans in the moment of diagnosis, leaving monumental statues of grief. Thus, I chose to live where silence drones, a rumble in the ears. Nothing left-- a hole, a void made by echoes of desires held long ago. So, I have taken a corn broom to dance with me in time to music only I can hear to sweep away the dust, the cobwebs, the fuss of other’s opinions and ideas of me, my doings, my words. Yes, from my words, I shake loose all the years of dust, the years of ash, the years of grease. All words, oh, so many words I never loosed upon the air to float free upon the winds, tumbling away, up, around, then returning once more to spring up as wildflowers when things turn to green. I begin to loose them now, freed to scatter where they will, root, spring up where they find a place to rest.
It is the time of grey skies and dead brown grass along the roadsides. The time when the trees are seen shivering, their limbs quivering in their nakedness. When even many of the evergreens drip down brown, bloodied from the lethal knife wounds of a sharpened frenzied freeze as they sag into their deaths. Yes, it is that time of year when I yearn for the green of spring, for limbs to wrap myself within, for a renewal of promises I once longed to make. The time of year when I empty forty years of myself.
As if you erupted from an eternal spring, an immortal thing, I gave you away when last I prayed here at Chimayo. When kneeling I scooped the healing dirt as I spoke silent prayers of thanks for my heart bravely facing shocks of resuscitation after years spent barely beating in stuttering grief. Upon return today, I kneel to scoop the healing dirt, asking in silent prayer a blessing of forgiveness for giving you away too easily— thus, killing you, bleeding you of all hope, beyond resurrection, beyond resuscitation. In the dirt of Chimayo, this healing earth, from this place of faith, sifted through my hands, I bury you, a mortal thing, I gave away too easily to an undeserving faith, in this dirt of Chimayo.
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The body of this day scribed
in the giving of joy,
sacramental life found
in a bowl full of jelly
shaken by the deep belly laugh
of a white bearded fat man,
remember the truth meant
to be kept in the day,
so, turn in mind
to those who cannot share
in the giving abundance–
thus, are paid in the blessings
of holy lip service, the emptied garbage
to fill the landscape with
glittering wrappings of the day’s
leavings to leave a day
of a soulful mask searching for a soul
it lost long ago
in eternal hungering for fulfillment
never filled with ever more consumed.
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Before morning, she wakes, adrift still in half-remembered dreams, dirtied by ghost footprints upon the waking to muddy tread marks ever present, no matter the hours spent in scrubbing— the marks indelible— tattoos of mud. Leave her to the simple tasks of morning, to her daily reckoning, preparations of covers and cases required, all the hiding away, layering as if for winter, this bandaging of tender spots.
Since I drove right by it
on my GPS selected route
on my way to dinner
I had to stop:
Here now— pulled over, paying reverence,
to time, youth, innocence, tragedy
When we loved each other
in this home we made together.
Here— this moment of reverence paid
unlocks the door of a room
where you are kept
preserved in perfection,
untainted by guilt
by the judgement
I rendered upon you
in my innocent ignorant self-righteousness
and so unleashed our tragedy upon us.
Now— could I travel that twisted high wire of time
back through the forty years
yet keep the wisdom of lessons
learned of forgiveness and judgment—
we would be young lovers
starting out again
and I would gift
you treasures of ancient gods and goddesses—
olive oil, an olive tree to plant,
casks of rose water,
roughly hewn amber, the mythic tears,
in which we could be captured.
I raise my head, turn my eyes to the road ahead,
locking the door to that place
where you are kept
preserved in perfection:
Sitting in the window seat,
your head tilted to the light,
sunlight glistening off your copper color hair,
smile wide as you lift your drawing pad
and begin to sketch,
your thin lovely hand floating
in movement above the page.
There,I leave you once again,
As I drive away.
dry, drought ridden earth
riddled with cracks inches wide
forms chasms decades deep
layered in dry dust
rising as rain pelts away,
determined to flood
chasms, erasing all cracks
but this earth is too hardened
unyielding to any rain,
seeking to soften hard soil
Bandaged, gauze covered, blanketed--
She never thought of bandages
until one wound oozed infection,
a malevolent fluid.
Thus, she learned of cleansing wounds,
bandaging them for protection,
Twice, she thought her wound healed, scarred over,
rejoicing, removed her bandage.
Twice, her scar split open, infection returning.
Resigned, resolving to keep her bandage always,
Refreshed daily, keeping infection at bay.
shattered on the floor my favorite coffee mug nothing big, not much of a thing, just my favorite coffee mug-- sunshine yellow, with coffee beans, and a coffee spoon printed inside at the top along with a line from my favorite poem, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons” yes, trite, you might say, emblazoned upon a coffee mug but still, yes, I loved the mug, love the poem. and there it was— shattered upon the floor there she stood, apologizing—ad nauseam— saying she’d buy another to replace it. But it was not to be found. Of course, the store didn’t have them anymore. The mug was the first broken thing. The first of a few, if it wasn’t liked, didn’t fit into the ideal of what could be forged of me if pinched in the grip of tongs and held in the fire long enough to be broken down to a molten, malleable state, pounded upon the anvil, shaped, dipped in water to sizzle cool enough to start the process over again— for easy fracture. Many things ended up broken, shelved, stored in closets— pictureless frames and frameless pictures, parts of me hidden away, never to be seen sitting on shelves in black closets— until I emerged chipped but no worse for wear unbroken into the light.
Weekend Writing Prompt #267: This weekend your challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 31 words using the word “Return”.
I envy the monarch’s, the hummingbird’s arc of return,
My jealousy consumes as I have
no return, no cycle—
Only the damnation of this linear thing,