today you were a dragonfly

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today you were a dragonfly
darting by fast and soon gone
yesterday you were a hummingbird
stationary in the air
as you drank nectar from a tree
until you flew away faster
than my eyes could follow
tomorrow you will be something else
just as fragile extraordinary and fleet
whom i will greet before you disappear
into the great unknown

grace

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i’ve traveled away from the day to day
i’ve reached the rainbow’s end
this and that mean nothing now
i hope for greater things

i feel the pull of moonlight rays
and wish for angel wings
to soar above the world we know
and forget everything

except the memory of you my love
except your lovely face
if such a gift were possible
it would be my saving grace

reason and rhyme

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my life has been full of slant rhymes
things that never quite fit
like that early husband of mine
with the beautiful hands and ugly heart
or that promising job in the desert
with a so-called brahmin at the helm
who treated me like an untouchable
(even if he thought it was fitting)
or my own dear sister who loves me i’m sure
but hates my dogs

i suppose life was never meant
to be full of perfect rhyme
or even poetic at all
nevertheless you and i my darling
through many changes
in meter tone and form
and whether close or far away
have always somehow found
the reason and the rhyme
to stay

dark night of the soul

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it’s not pleasant to awake
in the middle of the night
and meet your true self

when this happens
when what you fight against
remembering during the day
comes rushing into your head
with a lingering notion
that you could have done better
suddenly you know
you could not have

the course you took
the way you handled everything
is emblematic of who you are
and not a lesson to be learned

it’s how you were made
and you know this to the core

which along with
guilt pain horror
hits you with a force
that really should slay you

but in the morning
when light falls softly
through the window
and you awake to a newness
that feels like a reprieve
you give yourself
another chance
to change

scar

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a cascade of consequences
can tumble from a scar
especially when its story
is unknown

my grandmother had such a scar
running the length of one brow
she arrived from italy with that scar
at the age of 18

i’ve been told that when asked about its origin
she’d say it’s nothing or say nothing at all

when her daughter asked once
(at 8 already aware it was something not to ask)
her mother just kept her eyes fixed
on the meal she was preparing
and said the same: it’s nothing

i never met my grandmother
but i found out the truth
from her daughter (my aunt)
who learned the story behind the scar
years later from a distant cousin in italy

it’s a secret i’m hesitant
to divulge since my grandmother
must have wished to take it to her grave
but when i reflect on how this secret
may have affected her children’s lives
(if only i had known my aunt said)
and the generations after
i think of that day long ago
when a child was attacked
and left for dead in a field
i think of this child’s fright and pain
and of the woman protective of that pain
and how love and trust must have suffered too
locked away in a secret that was
too deep not to share

barcelona

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just like this cloud
he said
you’ll go away
already its intentions waver
already it’s moving on
soon you’ll forget this day
and the promises you made
not in words
but in a single playful glance

no that’s not true
she thought
not exactly true
years from now i’ll remember
this day in a barcelona port
with a sky as blue as blue can be
and clouds as pure white as white can be
with one small cloud drifting high above

i’ll remember being young
but not innocently swayed
being wary of you a stranger until then
and whatever promises i made
were in your mind alone
though the clouds were right to say
i was meant to drift away

sadness resurrected

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it happens when you are
playing scrabble and you have
the tiles in your tray that
spell out the name dora

your opponent is waiting
for you to take your turn
no doubt thinking you are
playing a word game as if it’s chess
when in truth at the moment
it’s more like an archaeological dig
as you sift through layers of memory
layers of hurt

finally you select your tiles
and spell out dour instead