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?
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.
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.
Sometimes I see you turn right in front of
me. I wish I were blind so I would not
have to see. One minute calm, the other
minute pain as you rip the flesh off my
palm. I look into your eyes, but you’re not
there. I cry and plead. See what you’ve done to
me? Do you even care? No good answers
to sing sweetly in my ears. All I get
is your same blank stare. How can I talk to
you, my son, when you are no longer there?
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.
Set the cotton candy mounds ablaze;
transformed their blue haze
Tried not to look back at the bridge that
called so boldly out
Imagined me atop its railing;
set to spring forth up
Mind wandered to that dying bunny
in the yard we found
Heart sunk and wished I’d held it so it
wouldn’t be afraid
Today you checked on it. Still breathing;
its glassed eyes on the
Put it in a bag; tied it tight. To
end its misery;
Peeked on it later; its shut eyes now
at peace. Walked away
it’s nothing, it’s everything
it’s the stuff fraying at the edges
it’s the goo left in-between
try to outwit it, run and escape it
but it’s clever, it’s faster
go blind when that mania warps shit
it’s nothing, it’s everything
the ailment that’s in your brain
leaving us stuck in-between
Have you grown weary of our clandestine
meetings? You seem impatient with all my
weeping. My tears getting mingled with my
drinking. Drops of salt make it taste better
anyway. The grief tastes sweet, begging to stay.
How long will it be? How long will this grief
remain? Tired of waking up sad mourning
in the morning. Would rather smile back at
you, something I’ve forgotten how to do.
Could we forgive us? Could we even try?
With hushed words in secret places in the
dark holes of our home; he waits and spies on
us. We stop our chatter and vow to try
tomorrow. Let our clandestine meetings
last. Let’s be strong. Let’s ruin this sorrow.