A few days ago she held the branches like a parasol – shielding her face from the heat she once loved, lived for even. This same woman used to plant her face against the icy window on a February afternoon – just to sense its glow. Close her eyes and envision the red. Remember the way grass felt under her bare feet – lick her lips recollecting the smell of water leaving a garden hose. Mutter under her breath, wishing winter to leave – she was sick of seeing dead leaves.
This woman now settled in the place of perpetual summer – feels the all too familiar chill to her bones. She puts on extra layers while the lizards lie like statues at her feet. Watches the hawks bounce on the January winds and forget that she is driving. Digs out her grandmother’s quilt from her closet (the quilt of pale random squares, playful tufts of thread, and white downy backing), and she will remember the sweet dreams of her youth.
Winter found its way to her, and she just wants to be warm again; be happy again. She wants to remember what hopes brought her to the land of palms. Stop cursing the march of time. Mutter under her breath, and wish winter to leave – she was sick of certain memories. Be grateful that her winter really isn’t winter; except for right now.
washed ashore, no breath left. rocked to death, their
life emptied into the torturous sea
that swallowed them. promising them lives, but
it brought them back against the wood, against
the rocks. their pale faces charred from the sun,
their thinning brows white with salt. their hopeful
black hair tangled with the splinters, their bones
rattling, their bones done. I pray God saved them,
even if they didn’t believe. please let
there be some mercy in that mystery.
but I’m afraid there are more coming, more
running, being chased, fearful, while ever
so mournful. lost ones being swallowed up
by the sea, washed ashore with no breath left.
gently place the bow to string. tiptoe on
ice, nearly silent. how do you do it?
appear and then leave almost without a
trace, but I witness your shadow depart.
I reach out to air to find no one there.
here, nearly silent. how do you do that?
startled yet grateful that I saw your face
the other night. I haven’t seen it since
1988. kind eyes, more white than
blue. slow to smile, but when you did you meant
it. what a gift to have seen you in that
man, a stranger, walking past. walked slow in
that fog of numb I entered in hoping
the illusion would last, but looked back to
see you walking away. tears pushed their way
through, I had no choice but to feel them. felt
a breeze grace the nape of my neck, close my
eyes and continue – startled yet grateful.
I wore a flash ring on every finger.
seven bracelets on my once small wrist.
grew envious of how well that boy looked
wearing the black floral dress standing there
by the pink roses with an expression
I couldn’t name. how it oddly made me
miss your shadow in the night. how it made
me mutter under my breath like a spell.
stirred the craving to be young again. but
sometimes the memories can be cruel and
deceiving and I harshly remember
the beauty never lasts and never will.
all this strawberry dust is making me more attractive to the bees
as they whisper their youth in my ears
let their wings do as they please
wake up and feel the rush of fire rise up on my arms
it tap dances on my shoulders
his breath not far behind
his sadness broke my finger, felt the odd twinge of pain
as the nausea swept over me causing me to sit down
cause I’m so weak
but it paused his trance of rage for a minute
long enough for me to catch my breath
please Lord, let me catch my breath
let it be time to rest
give him rest so I can rest
let it be time to dream
dream of those enchanting bees
so polite they quiet their buzzing
for my worn out ears
as they lure me with their nectar
tempt me to their land of flowers and honey
making me hunger for the cold. want to
feel the icicles jump down my throat when
I inhale to steady my breath; causing
my eyes to fail me and freeze. blurred vision
has me fumbling; hard ice has me stumbling.
sliding down to my death cause my legs are
too weak. causing flashbacks to all those times
I went sledding as a kid. skin numb and
laughter frozen, not a care in the air.
when you took my hand you let your fingers
linger on mine a little longer than usual
made me think you were saying goodbye
when you hold the hand
of a loved one that’s about to die
couldn’t be good news I’d think,
the way you just left me
watched you walk away
one part of me not caring
the other part wanting you to stay
that foam hung around for a long time
tickled my arms
tickled my nose
so I couldn’t breathe
reminded me of that time long ago
I held my breath when I was born
held it so long
that they told him I died
when he told that story
it was the only time
I ever saw him cry