She Detaches

Photo Courtesy of Alexander Dodds on Pexels.com
Detach,

Detach from it all,
All that held her down,
Sandbags of what others wanted,
Needed, expected her to be.

She detaches,
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,
She breathes.

My Mother’s Stories

Image courtesy of Pinterest

I do not care if my daughter

forgets all my empty stories

of blank cityscapes,

of colorless times,

of limping struggles.

 

My daughter must remember–

remember, keep alive

stories of her grandmother,

stories of lineage, of place, of era,

of strength in women, in family,

of struggle containing meaning

like Jacob’s struggle by the river—

stories living in her DNA,

strengthening the helix of her history.

 

She must remember,

pass on to her progeny with pride

in her spirit living, not here in this place,

in this dusty Lonestar state,

but among those mountains

bathed in stained glass colors

at sunrise and sunset,

or smeared gauzy blue at noon,

or at times, shrouded in grieving fog.

 

So many times, I have watched my daughter sleeping,

a toddler she seems still at twenty-three–

I marvel at how that can be–

Her lips parted just a bit, slightly swollen in sleep,

her lashes long, thick, and dark against her cheek,

so like her grandmother’s lashes,

a trait I did not inherit,

her breathing whispers youthful innocence,

her tousled hair that of a child wearied from play–                                                

And I— I believe I see some ghost umbilical cord stretching

from her, leaving the house, and could I travel it,

follow it—I know where it should lead me–

a black cinder block house on stilts somewhere

miles outside Charleston, West Virginia—

so far up into the mountains

that as we drove the one time I saw it

I felt tilted back as if for

a rocket take off to some distant star—

my aunt’s eyes send a flood down the valleys of her face,

my mother gasping at sight of that tall cinder block house,

narrow and black with four small windows in the front,

unfriendly and uninviting it appears to me,

as it stands in the dirt yard

with a single clothesline, tires,

some chickens pecking the dirt around the stilts,

contrasting the lush green mountain top

touching the sky behind it.

My recalcitrant 13-year-old self thinks–

How the fuck does someone build

a cinder block house on stilts like that? 

And black?  Why black? 

This is where the ghost umbilical cord

leaving my daughter leads me,

this place, this link to the earth—

to the spirit within this earth

where her grandmother,

my mother grew,

nurtured by the dirt, the green mountain tops,

the harshness of poverty in harsh times,

coal mines and cave ins, winter fevers,

spring forest escapes from ideas

of death and survival.

 

Where I too am linked,

bound even as I struggled

to free myself for so many years.

Now, at this age, I know it was this spirit, this link,

that poured its strength into me

when I needed it though my youth

scrubbed me of the wisdom to recognize it.

 

My daughter must know her grandmother’s stories,

of how hope lived in an election during the Great Depression,

her great-grandfather forbid even his wife to take a switch

to of one his children on the day of FDR’s election,

of how death can be heard walking the floors of empty rooms

when the family gathers round a dying toddler,

of how potato sack dresses itch,

of how her great-grandfather built the cinder block house

after a snow melt flood washed away the wood house

and nearly killing himself thinking he had lost his family,

of how to hunt rabbits and skin them,

of how squirrel tastes better than possum,

of how to hold your head when you

ask the company store man for credit,

of how grief over the death of twin toddlers

can turn your mother silent

of how your father explains the death of children

kills a mother’s heart,

of how an orange for Christmas is the greatest of all treasure,

of how it is tedious work to darn socks,

of how joyful it feels to go without shoes in the summer,

of how rich and important you can feel

when new shoes arrive in the fall,

of how when a boy asks to escort you home from church,

you better not walk more than six feet in front of your mother,  

of how to watch for your shoeless mother walking home

in the snow from the Post Office in Charleston because

you know she only wears her shoes to church to keep them good,

and how to warm her feet so she doesn’t lose anymore toes—

 

All these stories and more,

my daughter must know

must remember,

breathe and bleed life

in the telling of them to her children

for they are woven, a tapestry,

double helix patterned within us,

our earthen souls.

 

 

 

 

 

Seven Years of Visits to the Garden

image is my own

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

The Woman Who Remembered the Taste of Apricots

Courtesy of brighterblooms.com

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—
She remembered—
Fresh apricots 
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
Always—
The taste, the feel of the flesh of fresh apricots.





Questions

Image is my own

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,
Dried flowers—forgotten,
Having lost their sentiment.

Speak the differences
Among roses, weeds, wildflowers—
Inconsequential answers
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?



Bouquets of the Ramshackle

https://amanpan.com/category/eugis-prompts/

With ramshackle shards
Of heart, soul, self
Falling away like the browned petals
Of a long-wilted bouquet,
We create a riotous noise
In ramshackle attempts
To find some connection.

Lumbering, awkward attempts
At reaching out to touch once again,
To replace, to freshen 
The brown wilted and missing parts
With new bouquets of spring
Whose stems sit in eternally
Fresh, clean waters.

We dream of a life lived
No longer ramshackle,
With no long-wilted bouquets
Of a past to haunt with falling petals,
But a life returning whole,
To move without noise
Through the world once again.

Honesty

Image courtesy of Wallpaperflare
wk 222 glow

sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2021/08/14/weekend-writing-prompt-222-glow/

to feel that glow,

let it flow within

and know in peace,

the truth held within it,

rolling slow warmth

like the sun in springtime–

that glow, that warmth—

nearly, yes nearly extinct, 

such a rarity to be found

though some try incandescent tricks

in mocking mimicry

its rarity rivals the hunt for new alabaster,

which always served a cold master

and there are no dreams glowing still

of truth to be held within the fragile

beaks of hummingbirds forever

searching the lush gardens of Babylon

for a heady nectar that does not exist

of stone and blossoms

Image is my own




I am unsure how this happened,
but the stone grew, encasing me,
protective and cold, a walking grave
of comfort for many years.

Now, having grown moss over
the passing of so many seasons and
used to the weight of stone I carry
into the calm of night,
blossoms burst forth from this tonnage
of comforting cold stone,
this grave of a home I have known.

I would like to twist,
turn away from
such blossoms,
yet find I cannot.
I cannot gather dust to me,
creating stone again.
Cannot piece shards together
for there are not enough left
in this remaining dust.

As I rest in this place,
I will tuck these blooms away--
Until they bear ripened fruit,
Readied for picking.

Fragrant blossoms
that they may only be
for now.


Petals of Words

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

 

 

I swore never to give my words away like blossoms in the spring.

Yet, I marvel at all the words I’d gather,

arrange for you in artful, elegant bouquets.

I’ve keloid locks where my words are stored.

I possess not the oils to soften those locks,

Trapping my words deep in their vault,

My words may never know freedom.

 

Yet, I find myself streaming petals of words for you

In hazy, lazy patterns,

Knowing you have the wisdom, the soul

To read my words much like braille—

A code of sorts–

So you can hear and know,

Though unspoken,

All my words bestow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Long Ago So It Goes

image courtesy of istock

 

In the long ago

Youth’s armor

Stripping down fates

In acknowledgements

Of ruined selves

Where someplace we lost

The spare threads

To stitch everything back together

And could never touch another

As we once touched the other,

Letting go dreams

Sprinkled with desires

That only served to choke

The future we swallowed

In gulped decades

While watching dreams

Drift and float like the blown off

Heads of dandelions

Until settling into the

Drudgery of what must be done

In the day to day—

No answers exist when

The only answer is

There be no magic here,

No fairytales, no giants,

No forever’s or an eternity

Yet there be no lies,

No castles built on air,

No innocent beings with wings to rip away

In devilish delight,

No trust found broken

In garbage cans.

 

And so it goes.

 

And so it goes,

In essence,

Neither was what

The other really wanted

Resentments the wooden

Puzzle pieces of a child’s game

Tumbled down over us

In crushing weight

Until only the dust

Of us was left

To be swept away.