une fois que

you felt too much once,

feel too much still.

his pain was your pain,

like his pain is my pain,

now and always will.

you cried too much once,

cry too much still.

with hearts crumbling,

souls fading,

we loved too much,

once and always will.

 

 

Je suis désolé

Ma petite fleurplease forgive me,

I’ve told you too much.

I opened up like the earth with dirt spilling,

oozing back into the bottomless pit.

Didn’t see you fall in, because I was so busy complaining. 

Didn’t recognize you, covered in that soil – as I walked away. 

Please forgive me, ma petite fleur.

I messed up the delicate balance of aging

and becoming a friend. 

I put him first even when I thought my

life would end.

I pray that you’ll be stronger for it someday,

ma petite fleur. 

I pray that you’ll forgive me. 

chill

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.

remain

moon graced the tops of the palms, bade my soul 

to separate, to congregate with the

others – the ones in that tranquil state but

distant ungodly fury – my fears, the

sadness spinning out of control caused me

to pause, reflecting that my dull spirit

was longing to follow the ones at peace. 

their fingers mingling, reaching for my own. 

realize mine are cold and trembling far from

and missing home, demanded my spirit

to stay.  confused, it turned around – followed

the birds that just took flight under the light

of the new year’s moon, cause even the birds

know when danger is imminent, flapping

up with wings that covered their heads.  catch a

glimpse of their pink bones through veils of strength.  I

follow those pleas for mercy, their clues, and

make my way back, my bleary ghost and all. 

 

noel

he also put fire on the moon after

he came through the ice and tormented our

tree, made it beg to be put back in the

cold ground, made it sorry it was ever

planted, but its jewels sparkle and shine – much

like my diamond wedding ring he flushed down

the toilet, never to be seen again –

my finger misses it, my eyes miss it.

he also put fire on the moon after

he broke those round shatterproof ornaments,

flashy shards of glitter and gold brought blood

to our feet just the same, but now the tree

matches our house, all bare and plain – needles

tremble to the floor, made the nutcracker

run and hide, made Santa scurry away,

even he didn’t want to stay, but we

will put on our smiles and pretend to play,

after all, Christmas is just one day – but

after he puts fire on the moon he’ll want

to devour his presents, devour his food,

devour our time, and he’ll burn himself out

like all good fires do, and all will be calm.

 

ghosts

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.

barely

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?

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.

 

grandpa

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.