Mercy

Though we were afraid
We stood

Though we trembled

We reached

Though we feared falling

We let go

Though you are far 

You caught me

Though you were struggling

You held on

Though we both felt we couldn’t

We did

And the light that bathed our rebirth

Was a mute white

And the song in our mouths

Was of gratitude

And my loved ones passed over

Clambored from their soil and Ash

As beautiful as children again

Clasping my empiness 

They claimed me anew

Standing on the bridge

One side darkness and dusk

Extinguisher of all I was

The other side golden 

You have been so missed they chorused

And at first I couldn’t bear the feeling

Surging in me like a hundred hands

But they held firm, did not let me run, did not excuse me

No death did not stop us

No life is not meant to be half lived

One foot peering over the edge

And when the bird

Red breasted and full

Flew into my room and cast his burning glow

I lifted from my expiry

I left there on the bed

My tears

My certainty of nothing

And light as a dream 

Flew outside

Feeling as if the very first

The pinch of fresh air

Brighten grey

Banish terror

Unplug disease

Renew hope

Lifting their hands to heaven

All those I thought lost

Remind me anew

You are so loved

Cone back to life

Cross the bridge

Watch isolation fade

As a dark ship will receed in fog

All was but a dream

This hand in yours

This family forsook

You are still standing

Even as landscape burned

Your strength found 

In the deep roots of a patient tree

Invulnerable to life’s petty whim

Endure and overhead

Watch the season turn on her slim ankle

And fill us with color

I have been waiting all this time

For permission to breathe deeply

And exhale 

Letting go of fear and the unknown

For those who are never lost

Keep us tethered to the living 

Even as they cross

To wonderment

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Gilt


The icons

Their gilted, leafed, gold

Vibrant vermillion

Watch with watery eyes

Dried on stone

As old as memory

They shift

Imperceptably

Less than the fierce jackknifing

Of human need

As hot as birth

Waiting for rain

The saints

Painted with care

Remain vivid

As those who bleed

Live too fast and bruise

As dragonflies tussle

Enmeshed in each other’s flicker 

For a shortness that seems

Long

Wrung

I didn’t trust myself to hold on

when water breached and ice tore, sun burned, voices howled

when corridor echoed with the corrosion of a moment

elegantly stretched like garter made of guts, long and silent in worship

yet, there was no stone God to touch, lay our cheeks upon, in salvage, sweeten terror underfoot

nothing left to run together, keep us from the tear in our fabric, rescuing us afloat, over glacier, over sky, over each other and that blemish of life we call, survival

a call of the wild, a girl returning her party dress unworn, with dormant masks of fierce, loose in their bouquet

she’s tired now, of standing in doorways, blending in

she’s been leaning against herself so long, doves catch wind and pursing straight as falling sky mark the way

as a child may confidently point, before he is taught of error, a certitude of birth we lose, in continued correction

but what of the spirit? Wishing never to bend, as hazel makes a good switch and all sting redeems

what of the spring mad hare? Made jubilant despite his age, as pollen of the glory dusts his dance, does he unlearn?

those reprimanded, unwinding in backward spool, the yarn of time, loosens our punching collar and sore confine

pugilistic, we devolve to fetus and climb inside our charm. Wrung with the arms of tomorrow, the depth of spirit knows no ceasement

Once, twice, again, you cannot keep movement still, it begs for the last dance

choose then, remove your wild jig and join the machinists at their task to embroider the world, not with honesty but the pasty aftermath of souls behind glass, mouthing their marching song

or inherit the wind and best the exiled dream, misplacing sense in unchecked delight

There is no limit to what we are. Such is distance and teeming for years shaken, behind a well set trifle, awaiting the party-goer, cold on her white shelf

But touch once, and she’ll melt, with the longing of her frosting

In sight of land

IMG_0923.JPGMercy is an unexpected hand, steadying

Mercy feels like rain

Mercy hurts as laughter will, the first time you smile again

Mercy is a series of white flowers, forging out of bleached, dry grass

Mercy is a silver arrow, piercing resistance

Mercy is the face you need to claim, before all air is lost

Mercy is the final flood, a lost song, a forgotten book, page 456, line 34

Mercy is your imperfectly knit blanket over my shoulders, smelling of bonfire wood, shivering against wolf pelt, in necklace of thorns

We pull and we pull

Our teeth, our reach, our ankles

Until dearticulated and reborn, pass on our baton of water

Mercy is a legacy

A line in land, seen from air

The silken scar, cut across suntanned throat

Mercy is hearing them again, whether a moment or year since, beholding under solvent skies

The memory of love, held too tight, between clenched fingers

Mercy is the separation between, what we let go and what we keep afloat

When darkness dissolves resolve

Mercy lends hope

Consume my hope

If we leave the letter unwritten 
saying nothing

deer leaning in the window salvaging for morsel of night 
grimacing when we stir, wind chimes with pointed feet 
dancing awkwardly in ill-fitting clothes, vindicating a 
suspicion of absurdity

turn from me then, until you stop being and I sit alone
watching faceless walls communing with plaster
you shape my days and can as easily, burn me standing
waiting for a word, a finger-tip, a smudge 

for when you strike, you are a panther, encased in skin
charboiling my heart over wilting blossom 
it is not possible to deny you
the switch of myself shivering electric 
in that, we are alike, the one who loses her hair in bunches and you
who cook longing on high flame 

hang yourself up on the back of my hook, let me catch you wriggling 
in my wet fingers made into a cup
like rounding moons with promise will become fairy circles 

when you emerge, dry-eyed and hot-skinned, let me lick the burn 
ringing your throat like the words you will 
strike out again and again in every ink
catching river stones in your mouth 
under my tongue
stretch out, beckon me, consume my hope 

To my mother

o-mother-daughter-relationship-facebookIf I had been your mother and you my daughter

we would have learned to walk both straight and crooked

together stronger for leaning upon one another

in this motion, undoing that well rehearsed need

common among our ilk

to walk alone

learning this when those who should protect

absented or let down, spilling trust

repeating patterns before we knew how to protest

formed inside faulty mold

given no improvement or nourishment for fledgling soul

we split apart like neglected corn

ears green and burned by indifferent sun

we sought the succor of dangerous people

familiar with their welt

hid the tender shoots of us within a grave

absenting gentleness

despising love’s solace

sharpening and hardening our calloused parts

we did not recognize in each other

the need overarching stubbornness

revealed at last

when day is lower in webbed sky than it ought

but better now than never at all

we break the spell we unwind the curse

If you were my daughter and I your mother

I would have given you wisdom

found in my search to banish self-immolation

growing like a vine within our generations

disappearing women from each others tenderness

enemies from birth

I would have rolled back our wounds and discovered

the beauty of love as it lies undisturbed

on the surface of a child’s face

who trusts before she learns to ache

If I had been your mother and you my child

between us, within us, all things take flight

we are the breath of our ancestors

we are the change of their losses and the gains of their folly

supporting our footsteps toward the

female divine who, smiling though hour is late

welcomes those who were lost on their way

into feeling whole, not out-of-place

beyond sharp spaces of our regret

there is time ahead where even the damaged

heart can forget her sorrow

never too late for finding each other

as long as we breathe

there is always time to make right

disturbance turned close like moon

undoing hurt in redeeming womb

 

Soft mouth

zsvalI wasn’t ready

maybe that’s what attracted me to you

treasured and worthless

your invert chest

the ribs of a child

pluck a chord

sing a tune

I own

nothing but one

moment

watching you swim naked

the search of sound

pines still holding their grudge

your eyes emptied

your lips broken against wait

against my still entreaty

I trust nothing

only the jig of life

in your gamine limbs

spelling out the position of

dropped clothes like constellations

curtseys before the heavy curtain

comes down on our budding ardor

I feel old

against your new

shine

I feel young

against your ancient

eyes

I trust no-one except

the first sound

flickering over your face

as I dive

through

as sleek as a silver fern

shedding its urge

making magic of forest floor

all the glittering wonderment

in your soft mouth