Children of absence 


The world is strange

how for some death is a petite mort

for others, not pleasure nor hell

just a slice to be taken out and left without warmth

they can with their approximating whole

continue without sore heart

while others

they are vigil in grief

nothing mends what is broken

I was told once this is weak

it is the substance of survival that we let go, move on

those who are able to open their fists

those who feel less or brew sense of senseless things

I am therefore not strong

for death stings like it has

pressed its poisonous quill deep

my heart lays heavy in its fur cloak

nothing really aids grief

but the passing of time and memory

ushering us further from the moment

like a worried parent seeking retreat

though we know

as with all circles we will return inevitably to completion

and I wonder since I do not believe

in Gods and Devils

but occasionally I am convinced monsters may, be an exception

where then, shall we find ourselves?

after all our pieces have fallen and the board is emptied

will I feel you next to me still?

as dust, we strive to rejoin star light

or will a wink be simply a wink out?

and so gentle light is drowned

for a time it worried me until

I saw this as a curtain fall, something peaceful almost alluring

what hurts us is not our own demise

but the loss of others to the other side

where shade invagels night and the smudge of life

for none of us

not even the preacher

who believes he sees the face of Jesus in the sky

can truly know what happens

when those we love die

it is the ache of their absence

even if that love was filled with holes

incomplete moments where like a colindar 

we saw more water fall than keep

I know loving me was at best a fractured and intermittent thing

but real love is not how you felt, it is the emotion I had

Stirred into my rise, even as you walked away 

even as need became a habit, not a desire

I may have always been

following you, looking for breadcrumbs

and you may have rarely noticed

your child who wanted so badly to matter

but I find time changes those emotions

it is ultimately the love I bare

irrespective of your own

that will hurt the most

when you are not around to call

hoping you pick up the phone or

send me a postcard ‘I am having a wonderful time’

and my only regret will be

just one more day I’d like

to know you were on this earth

a feeling of being as secure as you can

with nothing underfoot

we get used to little, us, children of absence

we learn to eat what we are given

and from nothing comes so much

it springs up 

around emptied houses and abandoned lots

like red weeds will show

vivid and wild

in a landscape of naught

we are the tender feelings who labor

in spite of all

and that I believe is the depth and mercy

of a full heart 

 

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

 

Recognized

realwomen1

I could always recognize her

by the turn of her knee and ankle

inverted feet wishing dearly

to point at one another in reverse

clown with no humor

that little imperfection

marked her out in crowd

woman who would be a girl

forever knock-kneed

wearing her childhood like a badge of honor

I survived to give you life

gratefully I carried her bags

as a child learning the weight of things

is secondary to the measure

of devotion

my mother once taller said

I wish you did not stain your clothes

looking up then down I could see

the streak of popsicle on white linen

thankful for her wisdom

pitying my own boyish ways

rather I hang upside from a tree

mouth stained by plums

gazing at the day than

fit into couture

sorry for my disarray I said

sucking on melting ice

my teeth turned red and briefly

I imagined myself a vampire

hunting night for life

she smiled and stood slightly askew

just as once she must in school uniform

age evaporated around us both

I, the adult carrying the bags

heavy in my heart the knowledge

one day she would not be there to

open doors for

teaching my chivalry and the pursuit

of manners and beautiful women who

also had slightly turned ankles

as if they knew not

how to be perfect

it is in that crease we find

the tenor reminding us

this girl who wakes up ironed

is not the one we shall recall

on a rainy day looking out

but the one who stood in the snow

knees nearly meeting

making snow angels with

smudged lipstick and scuffed

shoes