Saturday, September 25, 2021

That Day I Come Home From the Hospital

my man’s hand 

guides my elbow

up the stairs. 


I have grown unused to being 

upright,

have not slept a full night 

since Spring, 

have not eaten through my mouth 

in a season.  


The kitchen looks the same. 

Grandma setting the table, 

the kids sitting down to dinner


just as I had left them that night

I am dragged to the ER. 


Now the man I married pulls out a chair 

at the table, teaches 

me how 

to bend again. 


And I begin to sob 

at the sheer beauty 

of sitting at that table.  


Because I have lived so long 

as a turtle flipped 

on her shell.  


In the bleached light of my hospital room 

where the sound of planes crashing 

does not cease, 

I think of all the things I will do 

if I make it home again.  


I will subscribe 

to Gourmet magazine, 

become a cook. 

I will animate herbs 

with my love. 

I will enslave oils 

with my devotion. 


And oh

I will become a gardener.  

Yes I will tear at the ground with

all ten fingers and birth more trees 

and they will include apple, cherry and plumb

and the scent of lemons 

will besiege all the windows 

of the house.


And there will be many red flowers

to beguile more hummingbirds

And each morning I’ll gulp down 

the sun whole,


Starting with that first dawn 

When I am home again. 


Sunday, August 15, 2021

It's too much for a girl of ten

 The Sisters of the Holy Cross teach things 

       that break my heart.

Like Only Catholics go to Heaven. 

    

The infidels 

     must have known this

     when they hired me to babysit.

     

When I lean into his crib, 

he does not wake--he sleeps 

as if 

     his soul were cherished and

secure. 


Then I see his small fists knocking 

      on heaven's gate,

     the teddy bear backpack stuffed 

     with PJ’s, the toy giraffe 

hanging low 

on his back. 


I hear the Angel Gabriel, hard-nosed, 

     Sorry, you're not welcome here.


It’s too much for a girl of 10. 

     And so 

     the small chapel of her soul 

     crumbles--the heavy stones 

    fall off her shoulders 

         to the earth

        below her boots.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Sea shell

There it is again--his voice
calling far away.

A voice like wind swirling
     in a shell. The wind of 
     my blood
     rushing through 
     my ears rolling 
     back the stone
    of my heart.

He is born 
    again in
    that wind.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The end of summer


This bowl of oatmeal looks pathetic          

and I'm the one 

     who prepares it for him.  


It waits and cools on the table 

     as my love is wheeled down the hall 

     toward the breakfast room.  


Bits of dried apple and puffs of cinnamon float

      on this mush the way lotus

      and spatterdock 

drift on a pond.  


His eyes fall on it. 


The spoon and a napkin wait 

      with me for him to take the usual 

      four bites though I hope he will eat 

it all this time. 


My love is so thin. 


But not his face. 

      Still boned and squared.  


Not his hair: still full, still thick 

      like the sweetflag around a pond.  


But oh God he is thin. 

He is disappearing. 


My love is a twig

      on which a single blossom clings

      to summer.  



Thursday, July 1, 2021

Get over it

 

The Peace Lilies I bought 

     for his funeral 

     look the same 

 six years later;


their green mirrors

     the shade that consoled 

     a room 

of trembling hearts.  


In the beginning, there was

     a husband.  

    He got sick.  

He died.


Doesn’t everyone have grief 

    like this?

Doesn’t everyone have pain 

    spurred 

on their bones? 


Aren’t we all crumpled bags 

     in the wind?


His son might be over it now.  

    (Does singing in shower mean 

he’s over it?)


Should my heart still feel 

     this dry—

    a hill of frozen dust?


When does ice melt 

    into a stream? 

Where is 

    that point?

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

When the blooms fall

The orchid's petals 

uncouple on my dinner table

just as my heart blooms and loosens


over and over

again and the light

dims from white to honey 

then steel to black


and the loneliness comes

and then it goes

as these petals come and go.


Such is the character of life

that day after day the world

feels a garden of plain and tender

and anguished hours


so sometimes the day feels

endless and sometimes

the night feels so


like now as air around

the orchid turns thick

with my beloved dead.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Writing in a cafe

 

     The Moony café now a restaurant once

      was a nave where I stopped 

     many eves after work 

                       before reuniting 

with the domesticity 

     my family of six 

     had wrought.  


I liked to sit in the back 

     along the wall--patron chats

    did not distract 

from the guttural

ones I wanted with

    my journal. 


Sometimes the word winds 

     blew 

across the pages, sometimes 

     so hard 

               they pressed down 

on my hand, sometimes 

     only a light snow of longings, 

sometimes making sense,

    sometimes not, sometimes 


words landed perfumed, 

sometimes not.  


When I got home, my lateness 

     was forgiven but sometimes 

     not. 


Even now decades gone, 

     I am startled I got away 

    with it so often, sometimes 

I cannot bear to remember 

how I stole the time, 

     sometimes I can.