Starlight

paigeemilymakinoutIf I met you now

I’d fall in love with you all over

though you are much changed

as I am

we have gone through the fall of leaves

seen ourselves turn from green to brown and then to silver

with each tread something is lost, something is found

the people we were at first

are gone as the flowers in that vase will be soon be dry and thrown

to return to earth and become something similar and altered

when I look back I cannot remember exactly who I was

though you are always clear in my mind like

a pure magnification

I see your unwrinkled brow and the folly of your youth

bandy-legged and laughing, your chin thrown back

I smell the moments that touched us then

and became unrecognizable bed fellows with

a bitter taste

perhaps you can only stay so long

dancing to the same song

before you need to move away, into the dusk

feeling for familiar, among unfamiliar

there all over, I would choose your hand

there all over, we’d move in tangent and harmony

your fingers touching that temple within me

that bows to your breath

my eyes bright in the darkness searching for your lips

if there were universes we could travel

and you and I were living light years apart

I believe we’d meet over and over

as we are born from and go back to time and again

the

starlight

that made us

 

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Out of Africa

Karen I think of you

pretending I know what your face looks like

ashen and sun-lit that day his plane

did not reach its destination

you knew

in that instinctive way

the weigh and measure of

incalculable things

felt twisted in our gut

like a wrung towel

retaining pressure

he was a man of air and Africa

the painted land

reaching like a hennaed bride

across plain and prairie

you can smell freedom

where we all began

born of clay and rain

growing to the rhythm of

dovetail butterflies gathering

their meal of date palm and black mangrove

yellowwood and senegalia groves leading

the mosaic paths of animals

honey bees and cicadas

drone air with song of nectar and molting

impala with their great dipped ink horns

slender heat parched bodies eyeing crest

for hyena or aardwolf staring predator

while sable antelope merge

their burgundy brown into

baked fecund earth

staring at skies for sign of rain

as you

look upward

seeing in your minds eye

his falling plane

imagine in urgent moment

greatest pain

all the years ahead you will

be without him

is death, you wonder

more merciful than life?

capturing the heart

at its perfect balance

where like a flower

you can stoop to preserve

its potency

no mind

it is the prayer of days ahead

rigid and unmoving in their sorrow

where you hold your face expressionless

howling in your mirror when all have left

and the monkey chatter

the smell of him everywhere

talking ghosts of touch, reaching, reaching out

you pretend, you submerge in that

twilight of denial and mad hope

staying long after death, the last visitor to leave

the funeral

Evermore

Do you feel me touching you through time?

Gentle the light shines on worn wooden board

Where you dance unseen

Yet I have always been, closer for holding in my heart, your motion

Through the filament of hours, our bond unbreakable

You … as long as you breathe and afterward too

Shall ever feel me standing, holding you up

Not the string pulling you to act

I am instead, arms supporting your effort

To Slough off the grief and find surity in one heart

In this ransacked world we call ours, you are home

You are the northern star

You burn behind my eyelids when they are shut

You tattoo your pigment into mine

We are woven together throughout time

When I reach, you leap, light as startled spring deer

Joining beneath the shade of night, mixed into each other’s color

I know nothing of being without you

For all of myself began

The day I saw you turn

And smile with knowing

You

Who is dearest

Shall never long for nurture or companion

I am the locket around your neck

I sleep in your dreams guarding yet

Any that may hurt you, let them try

For you are

My celestial bride

No distance or passing shall thwart

Energy recognized, even in death

Behind you I shall evermore walk

Alzheimer

The solace of your heart

is not always enough

he said

standing on the pier

touching his left hand

when the wind blows, it feels like a ghost

with breath tinged by salt

your grey eyes still sad

down turned in strain

mosaic of worry, we didn’t anticipate

losing the stretch of land, leading to sea

its hypnotic pull, tearing you gradually from me

your face a shroud of former memory

the words we clung onto

destroyed by encroaching incomprehension.

Once, when we were young

lying beneath a fan in hot climate

you turned in profile

I wish I had learned more languages, you said

I smiled and said yes, in Italian, French, Russian

now I would give that day and others

for you to understand one

and from the sea mist rejoin me, as I stand alone.

The sun left a mark, never removed

on my finger where we promised

til death

though you’ve been gone, long before you breathed last

our sorrow was an empty room

with a man sketching patterns on the floor

in lue of all we were before

his name I forget.

Forever

The day had begun before I opened my eyes. Dawn was spread thin out of darkness, running in lines of glimmering color like firebranded children, their woolen fingers gingerly clutching sparklers.

Cold floor, warm sheets, where I lay curled unconscious to the emptiness of waking. Waking without you there, to murmur and move naturally, as if in-utero against me, filling me with wholeness.

Often it is said, we should learn to subsist alone. Need less, want less. Others can only risk hurting us in the long run, be it through death, loss, departure, choice.

I chose you despite this. I chose to make that hurdle from the crumbling edge of the river bank to the other side, thinking it impossible. Still I jumped, sailing through the air, seeing my legs missing my mark, reaching further, beyond what was possible. Catching the other side in my fingertips and pulling up, out of failure.

They all said, all those who become ‘they,’ the disapproving, the know-it-alls, the omnipotence, they all said, you shouldn’t take the risk.

It was a bare insult. They all done it, and survived, but the rules were different when it came to me. It was as if I were a child, a child incapable of her own making, bound to their divinity board, with the scalpel sharp against my pieces.

For all who were ‘they’ it was clear, ‘they’ didn’t know me. I was never a child who listened well enough, I was too high up in the tree limbs to hear when they scolded and found my mud stained shoes thrown off.

For the girl with different rules, without rule, there was only the instinct followed by the outcome. I leapt across and I watched myself, clear the jump and claim you. Inspite of it all.

Now you are gone, and I can fit into their net of told-you-so’s at long last. I am the emptied woman. The one who sleeps until the very last moment in a vain attempt to quench consciousness.

You will not return. It is not your way to change your mind. As it was not my way to alter my trajectory, coming like a star out of darkness, pinned on you.

What a fool, they will say. What a mistake, they will cluck. And I will spin my hair into clouds and ruise, above the words, the noise.

I am reminded of the saying, better to have tried than not at all. It doesn’t apply in this world I live. It does apply to me because I only know how to try, not how to win.

I am not a good American girl. I stood in the sidelines, I did not have the competition burning in my throat. I did not want to cheer.

But I am a good American traveler. At night I reach as far as my celestial body will carry me, into the caves of others, searching for you.

Yes I have not given up. I know you will be there eventually and I will witness it. The moment you discover, I didn’t stop looking.

When two lie so close the heartbeat of one becomes the other and beneath them both stirs, a symphony, how can they separate?

Do you think death will have the claim to take you far away and never again let me beside you? This is false. I am stronger than death. I have love.

You may be cold now, you may be afraid, but I am on my way, I will travel no matter the cost, it will take time, but I will find you.

Wait always

Not once

Even then

Did i waiver

As our time slipped

Rabbit footed

Over polished surface

Gathering sheen

As a girl bent in task

Seems

To sefuse 

sun

Not once

Even then

Capturing direction of air

In prayer

Not once

Even then

Our palms set

against the other

Refusing

To slip

Not once 

In sickness or regain

As night stitched with drowsy stars

Will always remain 

Not once

Loosening the bond

Hung on moon light

Casting glow

Always

Chosen cohesion 


Still

still yourself

quiet that timber within

threatening to fall

weight around our necks

chains of emotion hidden and heavy

yoke and pull

hands touching earth

crumbling from once

staring upward

a tree with open branches

catching absorption 

closing in on itself

like a black-eyed giesha 

snaps her painted fan

shut

her silk bound feet shuffling

toward her purpose with dust of centuries

left in tug-boat wake

softly her emboidered kimono opens to reveal

a wooden center carved out smooth

she is a boat

carrying you over glass

aimed due west where the sun inks water crest with single bristle 

as lovers will carefully trace outlines

with thin brushed follow

as two cells divide and multiply

within the tree an echo

you stood here before breathing deeply

catching the timeorous whistle of life

carrying it into you as

a silver thrush will herald her joy

in bathing sunlight

you stood here before growing undaunted

no wood cutter can touch

splinter or mar your canopy

if your briar roots

welding with center and circle

woven by creators hand

shall purchase their faith in holding tight

the seasons passing

man and his feeble reach

like children aching to climb

unable to gain leverage

take to marbles below

sheltered from restless rain

their delight drifts high

oxygenated in relief

to be a child again and round the earth

sailing for eventual peace

found somewhere along the journey

as you take my hand and we listen

our heartbeats stilling in

chosen cohesion