Periphery

Image is my own. Taken at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

VJ’s Weekly Challenge: peripheral – One Woman’s Quest II (onewomansquest.org)

Periphery

The whitest teeth

Of one brother’s smile.

Hair so black

The curls shine blue,

My mother’s hair

A forehead with a line

Of slicked back black hair,

My real father.

Clark Kent glasses,

The frames of the coke

Bottle bottom glasses,

My other brother.

The whisper of an accent

mingles with scent of Old Spice cologne,

the man I thought was my father–

Fleeting things—

Such imagery captured briefly

In the corner of the senses

Some strange trick of heart and mind—

The mind’s empty, missing parts perhaps

Playing the trickster

With edges of the senses,

So we think we see, hear, smell

The seeds of things we grieve.

Images of the dead

Cannot be real.

Such things as ghosts

Do not exist.

These ephemeral flashes

Of the senses share no breath,

No grace of God gives life

To them as they melt away

Before a half breath

Can be taken.

So, I stood

Still

Afraid to breathe

Afraid to blink

Or let the tears

That gathered fall

When I saw

A lion’s mane of hair

As you tilted your head back

To smile—

For six years—

I had not seen you

Felt you

At all–

Until

I stood

Gazing at Van Gogh’s

Field with Irises near Arles–

Your favorite flower—

Irises–

and art you loved—

the first time

in six years,

I feel you nearby—

I am stilled—

Until

Someone else moves

Beside me,

A distraction,

And you are gone.

But you linger with me

Like a wonderful and strong

perfume

Song of My Sisters

Image courtesy of Storytrender.com

A daily battle with memories,

Offering emptiness,

Even the sparkle of gem like happiness,

Leaving small smiles for the moment—

Before tears begin.

Standing separated

From the ashes and earth

We once kissed and touched so tenderly,

All we embrace now—air,

Some ephemeral being of memory

As voice and smile and laughter fade.

Some of us,

Too many, told too often,

By those once precious, counted family,

Our grief, less than, less meaningful,

Really nothing more than dust,

Containing no rawness of a bloody heart.

Thus, I voice, singing the lament

Of my sisters in widowhood,

As we wait for our souls to soar–

To take flight once again.

When each in her turn is ready,

Able to begin,

Renewed,

Emerging, uncurling, however slowly,

From our blanketing storm clouds of grief,

Wings wet, drying in the sun.

Autumn Dawn

Image is my own
https://freeverserevolution.wordpress.com/2020/10/19/oct-4-ripples/

Ignoring the ripples doesn’t work,

Beautiful though they may be

In the early light of an autumn dawn.

 

The ripples return.

Their warmth long gone,

Drained of blood.

 

Injected with colors of autumn’s dawn,

They look full, alive with mysterious meaning.

 

But cold these ripples remain

In their return to me.

 

Time shifts,

Tilting beneath my feet.

 

I shutter and stare, a moment only—

I cannot weave these cold things

Into a useful thing, resembling you.

Sweeter Morning

image courtesy of The View from Great Island

Warm now on the edge of summer.

Still, I shiver gathering coffee to my lips.

I war with the craving for a cigarette.

When I take the morning deep into my chest,

The air lacks nicotine.

Years since I kicked that habit,

Yet some mornings it does seem

Nothing could be finer

Than caffeine and nicotine—

But it would not be you and me

Starting our day outside on the covered patio,

Watching for butterflies,

Drinking our coffee and smoking our cigarettes,

Dreams drifting in clouds of nicotine and steam.

The Perfect Legend

image courtesy of windowtoparadise.com

Written in response to Eugi’s Weekly Prompt-

“Legend”- April 20, 2020

The day you left,

You became a legend

In the child’s heart.

True, she was a woman/child

By that time, but you—

Dying too young,

You became a legend,

Crafted to perfection

In her child’s heart.

Her memory forging steel

Fiction tales of your deeds

With iron ore dust of truth.

And I became the villain,

Who had neither the words,

The charms, the incantations

For healing to whisper

Over your body,

Nor had I the spells

To cast so you would live.

Thus, I was guilty of crimes against

Humanity in the book where she kept

A record of all my misdeeds, sins, crimes.

And now, she is grown.

A woman now and she finds

I am just a little less guilty,

Not so much the criminal,

In the present.

But you,

You will always be

The perfect legend.

Ash and Blood

image from Moblog by orbits

Ash soft upon the brow.

Atonement drifts

On frankincense smoke.

No one ever seeks

To wear the stigmata

Upon hands and feet.

There be no martyrs here.

Confessions worn down

By touching whispers

Of brokenness.

A shattered seeking

Of what heals in ash and blood,

Whispering of saints and sinners.

Wingless prayers spoken for things lost

In a darkness of light.

The wish of a murdered truth

Contained in dusty grey skies

Of wanting and desire

 Sought over again–

To now seek and send a trembling

Hand to reach with no strength to grasp–

For a soul too wearied

From the grinding away

Of trying.

Wild and Tame

My own image from Provincetown, MA 2015

Originally written in July of 2015.  Revised 2020.

My friend, the squirrel, sits at my feet.

I wonder perhaps should I be sitting at his.

He is tame

Unlike me.

I have peanuts for him.

He knows.

He is willing to wait

And teach me

All the lessons he knows

Of a heart

That is wild

Yet tame.

I marvel at all

That is contained

Within his tiny heart.

The joys of peanuts and sunflower seeds,

Being unafraid in the face of strangers,

And making friends so easily,

Of finding a home among things lush and green,

Knowing no fear to leap

Into things unknown.

Will he instruct me

In the ways to live once again

And move on?

Tell me to remove these rings

Linked to a grief buried beneath grey granite?

Can he share with me the lesson

Of what to do with all things circular,

New and old grief– link upon link of chain?

Teach me the ways of letting go?

The ways of living without fears

To staunch the bleeding of wounds

Both new and so very old?

Is this the meaning

Of being wild and tamed?

Tattoo

I had not realized
That still I wore the black,
The widow’s weeds of anger,
These five years hence
Your death.
Until today,
When at your grave,
I stood and, in finality,
Cast them away.

Now, emerging from the black chrysalis
Of my anger,
Perching upon the vine,
I can spread the wings,
Waving them, allowing them to dry.

And you, my wife, are not here.
Not under this six feet of earth.
You have long flown away,
Beyond the things we were and were not,
Beyond the languages we spoke and wrote
To one another yet could not understand,
Beyond the desire of ego and want and need,
Beyond the hurts and the pains of life and selfishness
To where only truth, love, and real atonement
Color a spirit and soul in a prism of flames.

And in my freedom from anger and pain,
I wear your vine with my own rose, and
I am the Monarch with wings ready to fly.