Afterlife

when it’s time

kneeling, bowed head

nothing uttered

all felt

describing life and its

merry dance of thieves and joys

pockets picked, cheeks pinched

the rosy after-glow of loss and gain

shaken out blankets beneath trees

mystery of indentations past and present

who lay watching nests built

careful and with slow deliberation

before I lived how could I

describe the outline of love

moving in rapid sync as

tired swimmer in from cold

just as you give up on believing

raking autumn leaves, someone smiles

and breaking across their holy face

a connection of electric worth

for the lonely are not lost

they wander in search of hope

throwing sticks for panting dogs

breaking through water, flying in indigo bloom

a new season turns her heal toward sun

this afterlife will feel a familiar place

of lost faces, angels made of earthly composite

reflecting in the eyes of smiling ancestors

we will feel tears on our cheeks

burnished leaves falling in their spiral

where all things are forever and

the call of owls brings night fall


like a smooth glaze of assurance

tapping windows with sleet

closing up house, warm and merry

we step into the beckoning echo

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Splinter

8.Boubat.-Portugal_-1956There is a thin slice of glass in my foot

I cannot see it

but I know it’s there

at night when

the fan whirls like a dervish overhead

and I play the xylophone between my legs

a storm blows in

like a warning and a representation

of everything felt and bottled up

old trees hold on, their roots tested

by the metal of young wind hurling

all order into chaos

we stand in our night-clothes

looking over fences

at destruction

she has a white line the length of her stomach

he has a scar hidden in his throat

mine is without and within like

a snake who cannot decide

which part to digest first

we three are the wounded lovers

with our perpetual thirst for

promises to ring true

devotion to stay where it was first placed

by the window in a jar of water

to bloom and scent the pulse of night

but such things rarely obey

wont of humans without power

the storm and her threading fingers

lays waste to our belief we control

even the tiniest morsel of this crochet world

…(l)…

when he married her

he thought she would obey

the tick tock of her laboring heart

stay steadfast by his side in the howling wind

but she was a maelstrom of her own

making

soon the wedge in their marital bed

was a dry river without resurrection

…(ll)…

she wanted

her husband to save her

when the doctor said C.A.N.C.E.R. and she turned

to the eyes of her children and they

looked away in painted terror

but he only knew how to put out fires

not the slow melt of all safe things she had

taken for granted 33 years

so they diverged

like a split oak touched by

lightning will remain

upright yet stranger to its mate

…(lll)…

and she was the string

between the wounded male and female

her own heart hollowed out

murmuring at night like a singleton

by the small hands of trust and promises

unkept

it was as her grandmother said

a poor thing to imagine humans

to remain steadfast

after all, the storm blew everything

even our very best intentions

whipping them into the air

until they were fragments of themselves

transformed what we knew

what we were familiar with

lending no safe harbor

for the weakened need to have surety

the only thing keeping them

upright

was their conjoined pain

a frayed ribbon between three houses

in the wildfire dead of night

where even

creatures who prefer darkness

stayed in their nests

for it was only then, in the tempest

they felt themselves capable

of surviving another moment

only then

shouting their grief into four pursing winds

writing pain along the narrow margins

of life and death

they lived another day

and on that day

wrecked and emptied

found succor in the equal fall of others

bending to pick up the debris of

their former selves

rent into splintered pieces

unrecognizable and sharp to the touch

Thrive

thShow me how

to thrive

not simply devoured

by starched white spread heart of palm

telling fortunes at Waldens pond

for the ice is surely as colorless

as mine own frosted breath

held in dove cot

awaiting relent

 

Show me how

to thrive

in wood cut and lithographic land

forging in Shakers wrapped hand

measurement of generations

prescribing latitude

and those born beneath ice water

hardening by each ratchet and slip

 

We may resemble the other

I assure you

I sink while you swim

festooned in spring

I hear your delight

caving snow into spectacle and whim

scoring snowy hide with virgin bemusement

leaving blushing to first flower

 

Show me

how to thrive

unwary of the cut of fencer’s lance

skaters take their effortless figure eight

cut me out while watching me sink

bleary are the reflecting lessons gleaned beneath

as trees wearing cost of growth will shield in poplar costs against fall

scooping handfuls of strain into colander air

 

Wait for the transport

urge yourself into print

pick a destination

maybe a flurry

picked in shake and shuffle

a bridal bouquet

wet confetti

new days

following season

over wooden bridge

frigid with warm step

Show me

how to thrive