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.
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.
Inspired by this line from Mary Oliver
Feast not too often on meager crumbs of joy,
fallen haphazardly from someone else’s table.
Thinking yourself filled, sated,
you will find yourself crouching, smiling,
lowering your head to be patted by the hand
that cares nothing for you.
Then, when beaten back from the table,
you will scuttle away crouching low,
spirit yielding to fear.
But rise, rise then, standing—
staring eye to eye.
Lift your head and turn,
walk to new horizons.
There, build a table all your own
where you feast wholeheartedly
upon the delightful dishes of joy
inviting others to share.
Each one partaking in as much joy
as can be held
at your table
where no one
need feast on crumbs.
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,
I search for words—
Pour what I feel
But my anger
Turns them molten metal,
Defiant to the forms,
The molds I attempt
To use to shape
This gob of white hot liquid metal
It is what they want—
Make us heavy once again
With chains and shackles,
Place and close the Master’s padlock,
A designation of second class,
Something much less than they,
Round our necks once more,
Making of us an example,
So others live in fear
Of what they come for next
And so acquiesce—
Staying silent, eyes lowered,
Hoping to escape notice
By allowing them to feel smug and safe.
My anger burns bright white stripes,
Others will not die bleeding the red.
Remember the stars provide the light
Of what we know is right.
We will not live on our knees
Or on our backs, being beggars
For shredded scraps
Of what is the promise of our nation.
Brevity of years
Right, paid in blood + death, destroyed
Fiction drips history
Brevity in 12 words
Now available on Amazon
#1 New Release Bestseller!
I’m honored and humbled to have two poems included among the works of such talented authors. The work resonates with the strength it takes to not just survive—but to thrive.