Survival

The man wasn’t yet forty

Had cancer four times

Told her; This time I can’t survive it

She asked; Why are you still at work?

Don’t you want to leave it behind?

Take a trip? See the redwoods?

But before he answered, she knew

The photos on his phlebotomists table

Of three little faces, told her why

And it made her angry that they both lived in a country where

Dying people had to work for their children

To receive healthcare

And she was more angry

With her own lack of appreciation

For a healthy life that she possessed

Without children

Or any reason to try so hard

And he was brave because he had no choice

And she was weak

Because she did

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Walked with angels

You are the wonder of the world
a red man come from desert

you saved this girl from drowning in sand

pricked her lips with cacti juice

told her of the stars in your mouth

collapsing mountains

summoning sleeping giants to lie beneath us.

With cicadas, you wove me a blanket of safety

though you had nothing

you gave me all.

From the empty handed

comes the greatest gift

unfolding like paper water lillies

leaving stigmatas in my palm

the shape of echoing stars.

Never apologize 

Dearest

for being poor or empty handed

when your feathers are full and sunset lifts you high

the circumference of your heart

longer than a sincere word

taught me humility

and how to know 

the tenderness of kindness comes often 

from those who receive no thanks

for they are not rich

nor need those things to sustain their souls

walking with angels.

You are a man of your ancestors

truth in the words

as the bell chimed, you took me to be yours

pouring salvation into candles 

lighting my way to freedom.

So many years I had been caught by the neck

twisting in the wind unable to escape

the trap of circumstance

and in one pull 

you gathered me close and saved me

a hunter turned tender 

for the fluttering of his people

bestowing goodness like late harvest.

From the empty handed

comes the greatest gift

before we reach heaven

we may have still

walked with angels.

Her light


Once

I was a narrow backed bird

My wings were thimbles 

Dipped in vermillion

And male birds

With fat heads and thin legs

Betraying insubstantiality

Bowed and pecked, scratched in dirt

Of ardor and the absurd

Inflation being the territory of youth

Puff up, and let loose, shallow breath

I stood, cased in thought

Whorls of sea, hissing in my ears

Watching the pantomime of suitors

Without impression beyond wishing

To reveal innermost truth

To tell them, I am not the amaretto heart

My legs may part but the secret requires a key

The covet you have, is not for me

But a flickering illusion

Born on gold wheat and full fat milk

Where shyly school children sit hip to hip

Attempting to swallow the future, spoonful by spoonful

Wondering

Will I grow tall and willowy? Attract the grazing male?

Or stay suet and solid, in the finery of my own chainmail?

Not shifting with the glare

Nor melting beneath reporate

Feet grounded and solid

Like a much weathered tree will gain, higher purchase

Had I known then

The value of solidity

I’d have filled my belly 

Stretching out like a catamaran

Ready to receive weight of water

Cupped once, twice, thrice

Until beneath us, all else sinks

A stone among stones, building

Fortress against cruel turn of attraction and other auctions

So easily sold for naught

I would have been a yellow woman

Christened by yoke

Feathered in shellac pose

Hardened in ocre sun

Yet able to rise like morning bread

To embrace the less savage road

Where love is not dependant upon

Rude strings of shiny beeds and fleeting sum

Nor the appraisal of one, unable to understand

The warm value of the feminine

And not that cast off coat, threadbare in her insulation

He will soon see right through his own

Penchant for the fantastical

She is weathered, moored in confidence, for her walk

He may never glance her way

Though when he says he saw

The sunset and it was beautiful

He may indeed, be describing

Her light