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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Coming up for air

Coming-Up-For-Air-1-Alice-Wigley_2500When the moving vans took away a life

bundling it in storage, turning out fly swabbed light

when the house stood empty and of us, nothing remained

her death seemed to have resisted claim

yet she was no more there than mouse who leaves behind footprint and soft down of hair, gone beyond the floorboards

her family cleared out and dusted her remains, placed away in a china cabinet for someone

many years from now to produce a much touched pawn ticket, and re-varnish

she wondered

would they thrive without her?

in time, will her children recall the best of her?

or those days she stood tired and grumpy, keeping warm by the oven avoiding world’s bidding and invite

it was her shame

to waste so much time

if she had known she would have stepped from waxen kitchen like fire bird, gathered them in her arms and driven to the coast

to watch the rise and fall of life crashing on wave

and smell the turn of life, brimming with wet salt

she would have seen within her the burgeoning canker and cast it like a bottle of cobalt blue

out into the surrendering molt of waves, hoping it would lose itself and not return to erase her, premature and cruel

a reminder we are visitors

to this shore

not long in our stay

often missing our purpose, locked away in effort and grind, mowing lawns, picking up, wiping down, staring out into the immaculate disorder

she would have said to her children, take your shoes off, wriggle your toes in, feel the sand, the undone clasp, the undone movement

into life and laughter and sorrow, creating lines of wonder on our cheeks, run and run until your bird chest burns

scream into the sound

cover yourself with sun and never

ever

come up for air

 

poetry by Candice Daquin, first published on Hijacked Amygdala

The Analyst & Peter Pan

Holding tears beneath excessive eye-make-up

not smart when pealing secrets from heartache

I noticed the Analyst had cut her hair

in Jewish faith, hair is a woman’s greatest vanity

to cut it, often a sign of extreme despair

I cut mine when I was sick, it fell like a lambs tail

to the floor in red scissored ribbons

in the mirror I looked like a shorn stranger

trying to climb out of familiar eyes

reminding me of the time I sheered it off at 16

my lover left me soon after, he did not care for short-haired girls

I told the Analyst I liked her new look

wondering if there was a story behind it

the never-never velvet glove of Pan’s world

his need not to be a he or she or have a Wendy

instead to be free as we are at ten when

nothing of this world can truly touch us

gender becomes a learned yoke in the future

she recalled her sheer days of freedom

wishing to return as we all do, to a kinder time

I do not know if I am this or that

but I know what I am not

I felt it was honest, when you do something big

there is always more of a story behind an act

I sat looking out of the small office window

remembering sitting there before

sick and heaving

thin and fat

slump shouldered, bare-faced and dolled up in war paint

I remembered

driving to you and dancing in my limbs

as I saw you look up and wink

changing the light with your smile

knowing

I will never leave that office and find you again

because you were gone even then

I just hadn’t known it

too sick, too set on denial and fever dreams

perhaps when you know you will never experience

that feeling again

it is harder to let go, watch such a large part of you, fade into background

you are grieving she said

her short hair in her face

I thought of you and the pulse, laying like a long empty road, between us

my heart squeezed with a terrible pain

children flying from an open window into stars

tears splash on my skin, like your touch

which I will not feel again in this life time

so you pronounced with granite in your eyes

and I nodded

dumbly

unable to say anything more

but watch the light

skip in and out of the small windowpane

where once I held

as much pure love

as Peter Pan

People with holes in their chests

I got used to

opening books and reading the last page

reading lips in the dark

sharing a bed with nightmares

I got used to

your outline, emptied of care

squeezed dry these years

dessicated by slow fruiting rage

we lay as blue eggs will

in a basket of woven thorns

clucking over regrets, like weary card players at dawn

you gave me a cocktail of poison

I the dreary tread of error

it took a life time and a match

struck against willing rock

to burn the illusion

and gather ourselves whole

Even as spilt ways form streams

Cleaving together seemed

The natural passage of people with holes in their chest

Tasting the arrow as it exits

Where then? The other part of me

Located in your similarity

A death not proffered but needed

I, a bag put down, not retrieved

They mocked when she wept

Pointed at her words and said;

Her humiliation and dramatic way

Is overblown and immature

You nodded in agreement

Because she was no longer part of your wield

A flung thing to be lost and spoiled

Once you would have defended with your life

Told them; It is you / with your cruel minds / who should be ashamed

That was when we walked as one print

Beneath patterned trees still living, holding to

A belief some knots cannot come undone

it wasn’t true … our knot I saw dissolve

As you baptized change with solvent certainty

Moved toward it and away from me

Did I ever say … without you I

Thin-rooted and growing side-ways

Slowly fail?

I did?

Ah. Then.

I must have missed

Your response.

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

debris of the unsaid

row-boat-painting-surrealism-woman-dreaming-row-boat-in-hair-beautiful-painting-art-row-boat-in-storm-paintingOnce

the storm

predicted and prepared for

still

blew away the thatch of your house

sent water pouring like words with lament

and whilst

i was sickening

i thought I heard you row

across the expanse of us

holding your roof as umbrella

your feet bare and needy

opened my cabinet of questions

gave you a draft of why?

to which you descended beneath brackish waters

places submerged in lost question

claiming to surface

a moment where you spun in orange pekoe light

sitting stroking Gato before he

tested his claws on a tree the buyers tore down years hence

i climbed that tree in my high heels

you took a photo aping for the camera

and one fixing your sink in mini skirt

that’s my girl you said

we bathed because then you had a bath and I had heated arms to wrap you whole

the ocean of the past drawing in and receding

with it, debris of unsaid and unchained

time behind and unrecoverable

Once

i told you I was sick and couldn’t swim

you held me above waves with your will

till you decided I weighed too heavy

on the stitch of your skin to keep

we both

and neither of us

strangers and familiar

deciding and without decision

lost that year to the storm

as it set its pulse on our sundial and drank all hope in its spiraling eye

(there are many forms of love, you chose certainty over depth)

and once

i took a raft made of need and dragged the silty water

searching for what was lost

of us

who we were and were not

for you told fate you never knew me after all

an error of thinking … no more

then the storm left and all we knew was flat and broken

even trees we climbed were crushed like sad-faced dolls

as if an avalanche had glossed over the details

leaving behind a shiny surface and no more beneath

but dull reflection

Kissing phantoms

tumblr_od3mn2blAn1v2yhvzo1_540

I saved an eyelash of yours

grew it from seed in a

blue-bottle

at first the greenhouse huffed and curdled

not used to cultivating such delicate wings

till I put you beneath my mattress

soggy with tears morning dew

you see, I had become

a cocoon again

needing no more than

one drop of rain on my

sewn together eyelids

scalded from rubbing

you see, I had thrifted

the parts of me that had

touched you the most

so I did not have to be reminded

why my hands stayed trembling

on countertops or reached

at night into marjoram dark

why my lips were chaffed and sore

from kissing phantoms

better then, to return to wax

bury the hatchet

and ones history

in somnolent earth

smelling of tea bags and bird feathers

ear wigs and lady bird nail polish

your smile

caught winking through amber sun

your convex toes

wriggling at the end of bed sheets

like crocus pushing up

the paving stones of my new city

it will speak a different language

contain no source for tears

no receptacle for self-harm

the last newspaper says

she left to parts unknown

wide indigo wings catching

cusp of moon as

clouds colored by grief’s insistence

curdle against wan light

mist abounding like a girl

carrying her skirts through water

involuntary sound of loss despite

washing your hands repeatedly

smoothing down the shards of

wakefulness

something grows silently

in you and cannot

be reborn