I once was sweet, on a Saturday in May, 1974, but not too many times since then.
Naive disappeared along with my favorite pink cable sweater and the cousin who came to dinner.
Thoughtful I can muster, but it comes out like worry and flutters around my feet.
Dramatic still serves me well, when I tell a story or light up the room with a laugh that echoes over every sweet, naive, thoughtful thing I’ve ever said and pins them to the wall like postcards of places I once was and would like to go to again.
She sat in the front pew, like a first-chair violin. Ready, waiting, ever waiting for a sign from the Conductor. The beads in her hands passed through fingers that couldn’t have known hard work. They were so soft and cool against my cheek when I would fret, and Sister Mary calmly reassured.
There had to be something wrong with a woman who didn’t want men to think her pretty, or babies to rush to her skirts with laughter or tears. I had the urge to call her Sister Mary Elephant and I was scared it would fly out of my mouth one day when I wasn’t fully in control.
The other nuns were scattered in the pews like burly seeds resting on top of the ground before the wind covers them with dirt. It would be a good place for most of them. In the ground, covered with dirt.
They made me feel like I was in the way, a penance they must attend to before being given their rightful place outside under the oak tree where bugs crawled and rows of marble stapled the grass. No thanks, I’d rather go to Africa to hear the silence of the Serengeti and risk my soul for being lusted after.
Someday, when my skin cleared and my chest grew.
And on a day when I was twenty-six, I sat alone in a booth at a coffee shop fretting over the last worthless man to leave me just hours before and the waitress talked in a low, sweet, heavenly voice of loading rocks into a wheelbarrow in Africa to make a road by hand and I didn’t see anything wrong with her.
Unending thread, between your heart and mine, awaits the tug of distance to reveal a purpose borne of using the divine to loose our forms, yet strengthen soul’s appeal
that we not tarry in the ether mist, behind a tattered veil for feigned delight. Sweet nymphs and stirred emotion, lightly kissed, are not the true love promised by the night.
The thread pulls back, we reel through space and time believing all we see is here and now. Illumination bares the truth in rhyme, existence rests its head on lover’s brow.
Returning from the dream to find you there, a halo brume encircling your hair.
Again I want to sleep and travel far, beyond the earthly bound’ries of my form, and meet you near the heavens’ blazing star; the kindly light feels safe and free and warm.
We circle round the azure shrouded world, the thread has bound us surely down the nave. Remains of day and night before unfurled and carried on a crimson, golden wave.
Forever we will journey through this life, no fear of crossing to the farther plane. Between the two, the best room truly rife with charity and love in His domain.
No matter if we wake or if we sleep, Love’s bond a truer marriage couldn’t keep. Winner Poetry Contest September 2009 Review Fuse
Worry stands small, young and handsome, gentle fingers roll a greenback up and flat again.
Innocence steps up to my window, pushes a portrait of Ben across the counter at me.
“Ones. All ones please.”
Patience watches me count them out, taps his gentle fingers until I reach one hundred.
Determination smiles, tips his head, squares his shoulders as he walks out the door.
Compassion stops near the old man lying under the tree outside, and bends down quietly to place the stack in the sleeping man’s jacket pocket.
Jake rolls through the ER doors at seven-fourteen pm and his soul stands outside, watches, waits for us to catch on that he’s not in there anymore No heartbeat, no breathing Eyes fixed on the ceiling Twenty-year-old body like a broken doll on the gurney
Sally’s chest moves up and down, breath sounds loud enough to hear down the hall or miles away No one sits beside her bed, fingers entwined to keep her from leaving, cold metal rails the only border between then and now, and she slips there when no one is watching.
Tom totters in at half past three, awakened from fretful sleep by quiet next to him He turned the light to find her lined face pale, eyes open and staring at the ceiling He sat in the front seat, carried along in confused silence, wondering if he locked the door after the men in black pants that smelled of smoke
There are not enough of us to compress and shock and poke and breathe and comfort, so the last gets dropped and Tom sits alone, in a room full of people, clutching a wadded up tissue, staring at her soul looking out of stationary eyes that don’t water or blink.