Spring threatens to melt into us.
Summer follows soon enough.
Birds will return, seeking seeds and worms,
Building nests for the young to come.
Will the birds remember the songs they sing?
Songs of summer, songs to mate?
Flowers will emerge, warming their petals
And leaves under a brilliant sun.
Will they remember how to open
Will they remember how to dress themselves
In glorious color?
How can the birds or flowers remember
When the world walks a tightrope
Over the abyss
And sunflowers may never grow again
Tall enough to bow their heavy heads to God?
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
masquerading as a spring day--
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
but today, today—
chooses to clutch
at the hope
in this masquerade of spring.
Each new year brings
Now this garden grief
Nourished by regret
Each year, this day, here—
Standing, kneeling, sitting—I
Spend tears, words, wishes
All meaningless now,
In the barren garden grief
Flowers never bloom
Seven years gone now--
Nothing roots, though it has tried,
In the garden grief inside
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.
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