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 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 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.
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