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.

Floating lilypad. Hannah Lyles.

The Importance of Roots

What sustains a lilypad
as it grows, before it breaks
the water’s surface?
Faith. Hope that it will
be touched by the sun.

A lilypad cannot rest on the water
without making the journey
from the depths; from the darkness
of the invisible bottom.

And even when it stands tall,
pad floating with the ripples
of the push and pull of tides,
the roots are firmly stuck
in the wet, muddy earth
of the lake bed.

They sing: remember the roots.
Do not celebrate the beauty of blooms
without honoring the soil’s fertility.
Our beginnings, our earthy starts,
are what bind us to this life.

Clouds

How long does a cloud live:

a short, wet fleeting life

concentrated on the burden

of letting go. Joy is saying

no more holding on, no more

water, no more dust,

no more hail, no more.

 

Does a cloud suffer from

rootlessness? The cirrus is

an airy nomad moving

like lost feathers from a pillow.

Does it get sick of being

unbearably light? A refugee

of night and day. A member

of the neverending diaspora.

 

Do clouds get lonely

floating alone

in an expanse of blue sky?

Do the cotton-ball cumulus

brothers and sisters get tired

of sharing space?

Do they yearn to touch

the earth like a lover:

gently, softly, often?

Does the fog wish for weight;

to embody, to be present

and permanent?

Do clouds know they are loved

no matter how menacing

they look?

 

Do they see more than us

and hold onto it like a tragedy

or a comedy?

Do clouds try to tell us

secrets? Do we know how

to read their wisdom

before it’s too late?

 

Do clouds spend more

of their lives looking

up or looking down?

Is it hard being in between;

the gatekeepers of the earth

and beyond?

Does this make them

want to fall into the ocean

and never get back up?

The Question Box

 

I, distracted

from my own unraveling,

was afraid you’d come undone with me.

I watched my own heart disintegrating

into pixels on the screen of a game.

Two-dimensional play:

You can go back but never past

the beginning where you still had

full health; a life to spare on love.

Or, forward

where there’s always an ending in sight,

the drop-off into the next level.

 

What’s in the in-between?

They say the magic happens here,

in the mess of day two,

when the monsters come out to eat.

With each step, I lost a little more

of me and you.

But, isn’t it funny that with the undoing

comes clarity, while the fabric hangs

looser and looser?

Falling apart and liberation

are two sides of the same coin.

 

 

So, I’m building a new house

with bricks found on the roadside;

the same pieces that nearly killed me

as they fell from the sky.

With my pen, I draw the outlines

of windows, the blueprints for forgiveness.

Inside, you’re a phone call away.

Inside, the blood flows a little easier;

the ink forms symbols of hope in space.

 

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Featured image credit: Ray Che (https://www.flickr.com/photos/rayche1989/5203972988)