Coffee in hand,
watching the summer sun rise here,
would that I could gather
these colorful threads of light,
golden rose, orange raging gem hues,
weave of them a perfect thing for you,
I do not know what it would be,
but a picturesque thing—
so pure, so perfect, encompassing all
you did not know you wanted, needed:
words would fall away in breath stolen,
our spirits cleansed by the sight
would bask in its light.
Being human, I have no talent
for weaving or creating
a thing so new
Detach from it all,
All that held her down,
Sandbags of what others wanted,
Needed, expected her to be.
Cutting loose and through
Tentacles of veins and arteries,
Strangling ropes of memories.
The things she could never be-
Mary, The Mother, to wash you clean
Before placing you in your tomb;
A variant of some second coming
To cure you and cleanse you of sins;
The perpetual penitent
To beg forgiveness from you:
All these she will not be.
From these things you wanted her to be,
She detaches, though she wears
The scars of the floggings given her
By those who accuse her, blame her
For not being enough—
The scars waxen now melt
In the warmth of her detachment.
Though you call her cold, emotionless,
When she detaches from those who
Bleed her life away,
When she rises
From beneath the ton of stones
You place upon her chest
To stop her breath,
Freed from the stone,
I will grieve the memories
not made in this place.
I will let the ashes of hopes
Sift in wisps like fine sand,
Falling in desperate escape,
Between the fingers of my aching hands.
A pretty house, yes.
The aesthetics, pleasing—
Built to fill a need
To cook Thanksgiving and Christmas,
Those production number meals,
Of which picture post card
Memories are made,
—the brined turkey, the standing rib—
Yet this place remains a hollow shell, pretty, yes,
containing no memories made
Of laughter and holidays and meals,
Didn’t need that larger Christmas tree—
No need, no need—
A harsh lesson to learn—
There is such a thing
As aging out of a place—
Too old for patience,
I have not five or ten years
To see if memories be made
To turn this hollow, pretty shell
Into the home I hoped.
I wrote this in response to seeing the protests organized by the students who survived the Parkland shooting. I was hopeful that their anger focused in this positive way would bring about some positive change. But today, with 19 elementary school students and 2 adults now dead in Uvalde, Texas, I felt it might be time to revisit this in tribute to the students who have lost their lives in these continual senseless acts of gun violence. We must all say, “No more.”
Innocence, a fairytale idea, Sacrificed along with safety- Burned as sweet, bloody incense On an altar to the Second Unrestrained, unrestricted The true worship contained In this strange amalgam of green and gold, Gunpowder, lead, and power Causing some confusion In steel tongues touting The sanctity of life And rights to any guns in prayers.
Our children, now are Born in a skin of fear, And do what we have not— Stand up and say No more.
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.
Consequences of time
Climb and mount
About the throat,
Following the path
Of arteries and veins,
And as if by magic,
Enter into the blood
To provide a dram bit
Of bitter choking poison
To the will of moving blood
That slows and stills
In the knowing.
I wait for spring—
When days run long,
While hope emerges
Green from the earth
Warmed by a sun
Who knows the spell
A gentle warmth brings
With a smoothness of breath
Taken in the calmness of colors
Basking in the light of a day
Nourished by winter’s ashes.
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