Sunday, November 22, 2020

On the 5th anniversary of his death

Dear husband,

I wonder now what did I mean

standing before the judge those years ago

when it was my turn

to say, I do. 

Still young but slightly broken,

we two, this our third 
October 2, 1982

or fourth time 


Thanks for those rainbows 

you carry 

down the aisle

tho I subdued in my expression,

of the big promise

  until death.

No one knows the mountain who has not

slept on it.  I like to say.

Perception remains of that scent

on your cheeks that even now

impress me like 

a desert star.

Facing it

I look at it now 
and then
     with haste,

his remaking--

back to worm 

to zygote and

I re-hear death.
Its rattlings.

My cold white sorrow.

I bring it all back 
for another look.

To be certain of his mighty 

It is good to do it--
to turn and look 

into that hole
and really face it.

Even momentarily.

After a call from an old beau

 I feel you on my tongue, sweet baby, 

 sweet sugar baby.

That postcard dated long ago. 

It brings back and makes me cry

his cool back seat,  spilled rum and coke,

his tongue's range of tricks 

On the phone, he talks and talks. 

I can tell he wants to meet. 

But he talks and talks--it's so weary, 

all those words--none make me teary 

and that precocious tongue now 

keeps its place in mundane things. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

He left before I had time

 Do I miss the child whose shadow 

     bobbed 14 years in mine ? 

Who drew me flowers

     and named me Queen?

Do I wish he didn’t own opinions 

     I cannot understand?

Do I fret to name the turning point?

Was it when he said

    I don't care what you think?

When my heart leapt from the floor 

   like my dog at my step at the door?

Did the ties that bound us fray 

     moment by moment?

Or did all that bloomed 

     just suddenly die?

Did my boy leave before I knew?

     Before I had time to say I love you, goodbye? 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Christmas legend

On the top shelf of my closet, 

our old ceramic Christmas tree 

sits tight for winter.

Come December,  always one of us 

coaxes it down from cramped repose,

clears a place on our buffet 

and directs the tree to burst 

into color--to shine its many tiny bulbs 

on our patch of earth one more year, 

to let every single bulb release 

all it can and light up continents 

on our burdened  souls. 

I don't know why or how 

I lost my hold but our heirloom 

tumbles like a bird shot from

the sky and in a flash of color 

I see Christmas past, 

I see the future as a memory, 

I see a Christmas legend 

being born. 


For a time, I think nothing. 

Nothing at all.

None of the usual syllables

come to call

like  pan dem ic 

like au tis m

like wi dow 

And so I know nothing 

for a time--for a blessed morning, 

until unwanted syllables 

do their jack in the box 

trick again 

and more than ever, I want 

a church to join or at least 

a new plot to work on 

so now I muscle all that 

into a poem 

because poems are homes 

for unwanted syllables  

like ach ing 

like strug gle

but also for the wanted 

like o cean

like ba sil

like mer cy.  

Will he hit me back?

I hit him and freeze. 

I have never hit him before 

but I've wanted to

hit him for months,

my boy now 

     tall as me.

Hairy and hooded, mumbling, 

he turns his back on me but

teachers keep calling, 

he's not zooming, 

keeps lying, 

mouthing off, 

    dropping f-bombs. 

Will he hit me back? 

Wondering, waiting to be hit back, 

I see a shy boy flicker 

cross his face but

it is just a flicker 

like a light bulb 

     about to die.