A Daughter’s Prayer

The Past

As a young child, I carried many ants
on my arms
but he blew them off
in the hurricane of his voice.

He hacked away at the woods with his questions,
one tree at a time,
one dream at a time,
severing my heart from his
until the forest of my soul laid bare.

I grew up in the shadow of his cloud
never asking for more sunshine
than needed to stay put within the four walls
of family and expectations.

The Present

Can roots grow where there are none left?
Can they grow like philodendrons
from nothing but water
and promises to change?

The Future

Here, in the garden
I rest,
with the running water
of the fountain.
The sun burns my eyes with hope and
I feel a tingling.
My nails grow long and spindly.
My body shrinks with wrinkles.
My voice cracks like the heron’s calls.

I see an old woman now,
moss-covered,
with long, greying hair,
roots twisting and
touching the earth
that holds her father’s ashes.

Now

Bid the clouds that muffle
our cries farewell,
for it is not too late yet.

Let it not be death that frees us.

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In The Book of Memories

We are still children
attempting to raise the next generation;
pyramids of hope from the bottom up.

We think we progress like keys
on a piano, up to the faintest
pitch of heaven,
but the truth is we fall down
the scale so many times.

Rock bottom is nowhere and everywhere
at once.
The ending of a song,
the beginning of a life.

Getting up is hearing the pianist say,
“she is in the book of memories”
reaffirming the thought that we are
stories walking on stilts.

Two days later,
you’ll think it was a dream,
remembering he said all of it
was an illusion.

Vincent Van Gogh said,
I dream the painting, then I paint
the dream.

Entering and departing
with the screech of a Greyhound bus;
the chimes of hypnosis.
I’ve got the mosquito bites
from the river
and the notes to prove it.

My Friend, The Pianist

For Michael Caldwell

 

I want him
to pull out
every song
in his repertoire,
Beethoven, Mozart,
Rachmaninoff, Chopin,
the music nobody
can perfectly pin down,
untwine the notes
from his fingers,
unleash his aging body,
take the fear
and the almost-fear,
and the love,
especially the love,
and then
and then
play them
on his piano
and see how
they sing
and his heart jumps!

 

Inspired by a slightly more solemn poem, My Friend’s Divorce, by Naomi Shihab Nye.

 

 

Open Window

I filled the ‘O’ in LOVE with black
after you broke my heart.
You slipped into the dark hole
of memory, my source of nightmares.

She spoke French.
I spoke heartbreak.
You said swear words
I didn’t know existed.

I opened the window and
thought about jumping, but
I worried you wouldn’t hear
the thud, and the trees’
branches would catch me.

I threw out all your stuff
and her flimsy dresses.
I saw a pink one, fitted,
slinky, and imagined it
clinging to a body
like betrayal.

The clothes hung on
to the trees, flares of love
signaling my rescue from above.

Rising of the Womb

We live in concrete structures
In houses and towering apartments
And need to meditate to feel
The earth beneath us
I sat a long time and felt
The earth below the base
Of my body
The house stood on firm ground
I could feel it rise to meet me
At my bed as I lay down
Oh Mother
I have missed you
Why must I wait so long
To see you
And she said
Why must I wait so long
For you to hear me
I’m always with you
In the morning light
And the moon that peels
Away your sadness.
The air in your home
Came from somewhere
The womb of breathing
Is not just for babies
You are the newly born
Awake, awake to this day
You are water, dear,
Running for your life
Just close your eyes
And the dirt will appear
Between your toes
And sprout new plants
In your mind like wishes
Instead of sinking
See yourself being held
By my hands.

klimt-kopfstudie-mit-geschlossenen-augen-nach-rechts

Cover image is Danaë, by Gustav Klimt.

Image above is Head of a Woman with Closed Eyes, Looking Right, by Gustav Klimt.

Life is Many Things Hannah Lyles

Lifesource

I am moss clinging onto
pages of books, sucking air:
the wisdom of others is my friend.

Fertile green, slippery rock,
wet with love. Have you ever

loved a book so much
it became your being, and
the stories became yours?

You dream rainstorms
and you wake up twice
as long, full and hungry
for soil.

Hannah R. Lyles

Spellbound

If you look at the tread of the front wheel
long enough, you’ll either get into
a hypnotic rhythm, or you’ll cause your
premature death. How much of life

is this rhythm? We are bound by routines
like bundles of dried flowers by a string.
The gravel falls everywhere and you’ve got
no control where it lands. You never know
where the first weed in the flower bed
will show itself. But if you find out what
nutrient the earth is missing, you can
at least try to add some love beneath
your feet.