fancy

Remember when I held the nori up to the sun, and our eyes were graced by that moss-green?  The color stained our eyes for minutes as the seaweed crumbled from our lips.  Salt made me crave water, but I didn’t reach for my drink.  Instead,  I asked you, “Isn’t this beautiful?”  And you said, “Yes, it is.”  I wanted to stare at it for hours, but you were “done” after one square of nori.  You then said, “When I get older, I want to marry a Spanish Girl.”  Before logic took over, I indulged in the fancy that one day you would marry.  I didn’t mention the harsh realities or misconstrued negativities.  I just laughed affectionately and said, “As long as she’s nice and loves you.”

I imagined her hair dark like mine.  She’d love red lipstick but never wear it.  And she’d wear ankle-grazing floral skirts made of long, gauzy fabric with puffy blue, pink, and yellow flowers.  Blooms you could run your fingers against; roses you could get lost in.  Perhaps her name would be Maria, and her tan hand would always reach for yours as you crossed the street.  She would take care of you and love you, even after I left this Earth.

You grew impatient with my lingering and went inside to play with your dry erase markers or something.  I let go of the fancy and watched you walk away.  Maria went back to that vague place where particular thoughts crush my heart to a million pieces, and I lose a little each time it happens.  She joined the thoughts of your future everything, your future anything.

Remember when I held the nori up to the sun, and our eyes were graced by the moss-green?  That moment, those seconds?  Life was certain, life was divine.

 

distraction

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

 

reminisce II

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.

 

reminisce

making me hunger for winter

the way the marble meets the sleepy sun’s

rouge that lingers in the evening

causing pangs I didn’t even know existed

thought I had my fill many years ago

when my feet were frozen to the ground

when I was surviving waist-high

in that frigid, blinding snow

past

rusty gate called me in

off that weed infested path

lined with the statues your aunt made

all those Raggedy Anns and Andys

with their red button stares and permanent smiles

creeping me out, but you loved them

 

open that rusty gate – hear its exclamations

wipe my hand on my thigh, watch the orange dust fly

walk barefooted on the gravel

feel the stones pierce my flesh but

my strong child self doesn’t cry

look to my left over the fence

see the lightning bugs emerge

pray one lands on me – it’ll give me luck 

 

walk into that darkened house

tiptoe around all the statues on the floor

look past their frozen happiness

sitting on the tables, waiting around the corner

stay brave with all their eyes on me

turn around and suddenly wish to leave

the house is just too eerie

 

run outside, ignore Raggedy Ann’s glare

close the rusty gate – hear its low moan

think, I’m too young to care

dash to play with those fleeting lights

and when you ask, “Did you have fun?”

I’ll pretend I didn’t hear you

walk past and embrace the fading sun

 

 

 

 

reflection

I dreamt I heard the floorboards creaking

hoped you might be home

but it was only the piano again

the pedals were moving on their own

my ghostly player knows the gravest arrangements

it plays with the most mournful tones

caressing the E’s, lingering over the G’s

hear its breath during the pause

makes me grow quiet, knows how to make me grieve

causes me to get lost in my thoughts

think about when you were home last

how I miss your face, miss our family

miss everything, miss the past

the pressing of the pedals

I just can’t stand it anymore

smelling the absence, feeling the regret

I cry for my gifted spirit to stop and go away

but it only nods and continues to play

 

 

mask

she is so perfectly agreeable

with her fading eyes and lost smile

they only see her bravery

looking past her hollow words, her slowing breaths

how she longs to not be so perfectly agreeable 

yearns to not care 

get lost in her own storm 

twirl, get tangled up with the wind

and prove you wrong

cause remember, you think she’s so strong

but if you listen, you’ll hear the subtle quake to her voice

the whispery sound of her words

she’s had lots of time to practice not being heard

cause it ends so badly, her being around

so she glides around the house

without making a sound

and she’s fed up, did you notice that?

she is so perfectly agreeable

as her antsy soul waits and waits to be born

but she wants to get lost like her smile and fading eyes

till she is no more 

gracefully, forcibly

yet unnoticeably slip away, but even in that

she would be so perfectly agreeable

crestfallen

that sadness always hits us like a brick

hear its calls louder when there are fewer

distractions to keep our dull minds at bay

sadness that wears on us like blankets

heavy, smelly, making us suffer and smolder

stifling, because it’s always summer here

 

you say you want to feel it though

swim in it, surrender to it

hear its taunts that test you

so you’ll grow, you always do

you’ll defeat it, and like its own season

it’ll pass

 

dear crestfallen one,

I’m proud of you, I’m grateful for you

as I try to feel hope instead of this weight of despair

that sadness just seems to hit us so hard

each and every time

as I count down the seconds that I can call you mine

 

 

the year

The day he turned 15, she was attacked by wolves in the parking lot of her son’s therapist.  The drive had been long, and when she looked in her rearview mirror, she found her son staring out the window, holding his hands praying.  She stepped out of her car when the wolves overtook her son.  Men were fixing tires and changing the oil in the nearby lot, but they couldn’t hear her cries over their noise.  A woman waited in her car but didn’t appear to want to help.  People were ordering their lunch in the McDonald’s drive-thru but didn’t seem to see.  

The biggest wolf, the one with the pale eyes, came from behind her and snagged her shirt while the other two clawed at her arms till she bled.  She danced around the lot for what seemed to be forever, but they had just wanted to play with her, they were bored.  Or maybe one had heard a voice and convinced the others of its scheme.  Perhaps they just had their usual bad thoughts.  

She walked into the therapist’s office holding her bleeding arms.  Her face collapsed into her trembling hands, and she cried out of exhaustion.  She left forty-five minutes later and drove north to eat crap food while her son sat next to her and turned 15.  The year where most young blossoms are getting permits and going to movies with friends.  The year of growth and possibilities.  But she sat grieving as he turned another year older yet seemed to stay the same.   

The year he turned 15 – every sound hurt her ears.  The lawn mowers, the closing of doors, that chip bag, her spoon against the bowl slurping up Rice Chex.  Even the gorgeous birds had a way of gnawing at her brain.  Some of the bird calls would make her wince and moan.  One day she chased blue jays out of the coconut palms; their territorial sounds stabbed at her eardrums.  She watched them soar up to the clouds with their excited calls.   Good riddance.  Then she’d go back to her hell to make her coffee and there she could even hear the sound of her forming tears. 

The year he turned 15 – they made it a habit of keeping shoes by their back door for sudden escapes.  Run quick, they did.  The neighbors probably thought they were playing chase, but they were running from his frenzy, his fury, his fuming, his fists.  Those fists that always landed on her arms.  Arms that became swollen and purple mixed with an odd charcoal gray.  But she had stopped reaching for the ice.  It was the year where toasters flew off the counters and where doors were torn off hinges as if by Hulk himself. 

She’d listen attentively and say all the right things, but she’d still get new marks by the end of the day.   What was wrong with her?  Would she ever get it right, this business of raising her complicated, miserable, yet beautiful son?  She still loved him though, and on a good day, she would play with the back of his hair.  Golden, wispy, slightly curled up hair.  She’d think.  Why is it dread instead of joy, looking at this man that’s still a boy?  And wonder.  Is love even enough?

And then mid-way through the year, he came after her with such rage, her arms abandoned her.  They were tired of the pain, so they just simply ran away.  It wasn’t her choice, of course, she had loved her arms.  It was all those desperate words and his sheer brute-force.  So she stood around with no arms, and when he went ballistic, he had no choice but to go for her face.  And by this point – she wished she was far out in outer space, floating about only hearing the sound of her heartbeat.  It would be a familiar sound.  

That year, she went half dead and was almost unrecognizable.  She stopped marveling at the black butterflies that slowly fluttered past.  And when the swans tried to drown each other, she didn’t interfere; she didn’t shed a tear.  She stopped buying orchids; they just didn’t take her breath away as they had.  She lost her spark – the whole damn world made her mad.  She chose to swim with the sharks than heed the lifeguard’s warnings.  Watch its shadow cruise past then place her broken hand on its fin and tell it to swim.  Look up to the blazing sun, be amazed and give everything up to Him.

 

 

defeated

broken

before she peels herself out of bed

counting the minutes before she’s back there

hears the chatter outside her head,

but she ignores it, sighs

looks out the window

wills herself out there…

to go wherever they’re going

wonder what his cigarette tastes like

wonder how that ink feels flush against the skin

blush, have to look away

wonder if that was a sin

 

surely she’s more than this

to just sit here, sit here and just exist

to take up this space

longing to have the laughter last

waiting for life to return to her face

she wishes herself to be anywhere,

any place else, away from this chaos

but alas, she remains, sighs

broken

before she peels herself out of bed