Fifth of July

bang, pop, whoosh
sizzle, snap, crack
fizz, hiss, BOOM, BOOM

BOOM

in a haze, after the initial phone call, 
she rushed to be by his side,
tunnel vision guiding her there –
she couldn’t think, see, feel anything else,
nothing else registered, 
none of her surroundings, 
nothing at all

all she thought was – I need to hurry, 
I need to hurry,
I need to hurry

after the doctor had delivered the news, 
she stood there, stunned

in her peripheral, she could see the colors exploding in the sky just outside the large window next to his bed,
and it registered in her that it was the 4th,
the rumbling vibration of each detonation feeling as if it were exploding inside her

BOOM, BOOM, BOOM

once she arrived home, 
though she’d desperately needed sleep, 
there was very little

she tossed and turned,
and tossed and turned,
finally giving in to it and getting up early, 
dressing and returning to him

as she walked down the stark, institutional green hall,
each step bringing her closer to seeing with her own eyes that which had been conveyed in words the day before, 
the weight of those words sunk like quicksand to the pit of her stomach

today, she was acutely aware of the clinical smell surrounding her, 
the smell of sickness, 
the stench of sadness filling first her lungs, 
then permeating outward, 
finding an unwelcome home in her veins, 
thick like sludge, 
coursing and thumping

she could hear the cries of sorrow in the bated breath wafting from some of the doors she passed,
she could taste its metallic tang on the tip of her tongue,
and as she arrived at the doorway of the room to which she needed to enter, 
she felt it in her bones,
in her marrow

when she opened the door, 
she became its embodiment

the few steps to the bed took her years:

she passed herself snuggled on his lap as he read to her for the millionth time, Put Me in the Zoo

she watched as she sat between he and her mother on the yellow paisley couch, 
as they tried to explain why they would no longer be a family

she saw the desperation on his face as he finally allowed her to call her mother,
but would not yet let her go home to be with her

she remembered tearing open the Christmas wrap to see the purple down coat she’d wanted so badly, 
the yolk-only egg sandwiches on Sunday mornings, 
and stove-popped popcorn with a rented movie on their every-other Saturday nights

she saw his suntanned, orange-tinted left arm that was darker than the rest of him from hanging out his truck window, 
his splashing in the pool and volleyball in the summer,
and helping her step-brother with homework at the kitchen table while he looked on drinking Pepsi from a two liter bottle

she remembered the wishing she belonged, 
that she fit with them differently, 
more

the coughing, 
she remembered the coughing that just kept getting worse, 
the constant handkerchiefs in his pockets and on the end table with his Winstons next to his armchair, 
the red-faced breathlessness and the wheezing,
the fear in his eyes

she remembered the devastating, life-altering heartbreak,
the disappearing and the wondering, 
the worry and the doubt,
the reconnecting and the doctors and the testing

and finally, the hope,
the hope which had fizzled away the night before with every sizzle and crack, 
hiss and bang and pop

standing next to the impersonal-feeling bed, 
she gripped the cold, stark metal of the railing with both hands, 
trying to take in all that she saw,
the blinking and the beeping in the semi-darkness, 
the machine whose trepidus noise filled the room

suck, push, suck, push,

SUCK, PUSH

eerily loud and unwelcome, 
it was reminiscent of the sounds heard outside the window the night before

her eyes ran the length of the shiny metal pole on which the machine was mounted, 
down to the swiveling wheels which allowed it to be maneuvered to where it was needed,
noticing the simple black cord which extended to the wall

how could such an ordinary-looking plug hold life in the balance?

letting loose her grip a bit, 
she became deftly aware of her own breath, 
in and out, 
of her own heart beating, 
ga-gong, ga-gong, 
so loudly in her chest that it rang in her ears

reaching out, she rested her hand on his chest, 
feeling the unfamiliar, robotic rise and fall,
deftly aware of the cool absence, 
the force of what would not be

she looked up, nodded her head, 
and closing her water-filled eyes, 
she felt with the length of her fingers, 
with the lifeline in the palm of her hand,
with her very soul

the robotic gave way to an arrhythmic slowing:

rise..fall….rise…..fall…….rise……..fall,

fall

beneath her palm there was only stillness,
in the tips of her fingers, 
there was only the thump of her own heartbeat, 
the trembling cry of her core

BOOM

and he was gone

-image via Pixabay; older prose made to poetry and shared as part of dVerse’s Open Link Night

Seeker

I’ve always had a thing for small spaces,
for hidden corners in coffee shops,
October breezes tucked beneath the
green cover of a willow tree,
for lone forest exploring,
and paddling with no destination in mind,
but staying close to the safety of the shore

for the longest time,
I had this feeling, this conviction,
that I’d been surrounded by earthen walls,
myopic vision only seeing that which was directly in front of me,
small-pictures with man-made frames,
seeing that which has meaning only to me

while feet away,
the autumn wind was blowing metamorphosis,
the tree tops slanted toward something unseeable,
swaying branches whispered existential,
and birds sang thanks to the sunrise
for things my soul longed to understand

mourning doves coo-cooed,
a murmuring of some essential secret
I did not yet know,
that I might never know,
because I didn’t know it was possible
to lift my head,
to venture outward and allow
my vision to broaden,
to peek out between the willow branches
and see beyond,
to venture far from the shore

oh, but if curiosity is allowed to
bubble freely to the surface,
and fear to diminish into the background,
if I dare to dive for treasure within,
I lift my head and apply it,
I see possibility,
I see meaning,
I feel the connectedness in all things,
find purpose in the spirited seeking
of truth

to seek truth is human –
humanness in a world
that discourages humanity
isn’t easy

but, I have a thing for being human

-shared as part of the Mindlovemisery Menagerie prompt, sunrise

Magic

I thought I knew about a lot of things before I met you

but I never knew what slow, deep kisses meant,
or that they could last all night long

I never knew what the smell of the first morning breeze could do as my head lay upon your chest,
or how that breeze could carry me throughout the day

I never knew how my own chest could ache in your absence,
or that I could smile all the way to my fingertips when we joined again

I never knew I could get butterflies deep in my belly every time you kissed my neck,
or that my desire for you could consume me

I never knew that shared laughter could cure almost anything,
and shared tears could say much more than words

I never knew I could feel fire in my veins when you hurt,
or that my heart’s fullness could spill over when you smile

I never knew I could need like this,
that I could feel swaddled by another so completely, I can finally rest

I thought I knew all about hope before I met you

but that was before I believed in magic

-Image credit 7-themes.com; This is for M, the love of my life!

Were Not Some Part of Her

there was once a hole in her heart
where no love would grow,
a void not desolate, no,
it was an urban uproar,
expectations as tall and as
sharp as city skyscrapers,
all angles and edges,
streets littered with elbows
and crowded corners,
she a pedestrian on an
endless, one-way route of regret,
her yearning a suffocating smog,
a desperate redness
swelling in her tired chest,
droplets of shameful acid rain
eroding roads,
rationalizations the pits and falls
on the map to nowhere

were not some part of her
made of steel and concrete,
her soul would have suffocated,
her lungs would have exploded
against the weight

were not some part of her
a cartographer,
bravely charting the void,
the child inside would never have
ventured forth to find nourishment

were not some part of her
a gardner,
feeding the green amongst
the steel and concrete,
her spirit would not now
know such sustenance

were not some part of her
an architect,
unafraid to draft and erase,
hope would have died long, long ago,
and her heart would not now be whole

-image is my own

Believe

‘Do you believe?’, you ask, 
because I don’t worship inside man made walls

Well, I’ll tell you this:

I found

I found paradise in a little taupe house on a corner,
felt the radiating warmth of its promise snuggled beneath homemade quilts made of old khaki pants,
saw it in the orange speckles of hope in eyes that made real things for which I’d only ever hoped

I found holy land in an ornery smile and two mismatched legs,
in arms which never let go, no matter how hard I pushed 

we built our own sanctuary,
worshipping our own way,
turning needless guilt and regret into fire between gray cottony sheets and sacrificing ourselves to one another

I found belonging in two sets of tiny eyes looking up at us, looking to us,
in bouncy blond curls and baby teeth and skinned knees that needed kisses

I found community in genuine smiles and borrowed eggs and butter,
in snow blown driveways,
in last minute cook outs, carrying Tupperware from house to house

I found connectedness in eyes full of light, 
in doors being held, 
bags being carried, anonymous gestures of kindness,
in paying it forward

I found LOVE

So don’t ask me if I believe in something bigger than myself,
of course I do

Heaven is everywhere I look

-image credit theodysseyonline.com; shared as part of the dVerse Poet Pub’s community prompt

Journey of the Heart

img_6479there once was a girl inside this chamber
nestled in my heart,
it’s where she safely laughed and played,
so we were never far apart

a very long time ago,
she skipped and giggled free,
until chaos and darkness ruled,
causing her to flee

the darkness began to multiply,
and she’d hide more each day,
before too long she stayed inside,
and never came out to play

I locked tight the chamber door,
to save her innocence,
in hopes one day there’d be a safe place,
in which we could sing and dance

for years she frolicked all alone,
nestled safely in my core,
waiting to trust the sunshine,
so she could play freely once more

then one day my sight transformed,
and I realized the sun had been SHINING,
I’d missed it while guarding the chamber door,
I couldn’t see the silver lining

now she roams, unrestrained,
her smile upon my face,
another set of eyes to see,
on this journey I embrace

-photo credit thememorieskeeper.blogspot.com

Mine

img_6463

Ahh, look at her –
there’s something inevitable about her that draws me in,
my eyes can’t get enough,
I’m addicted

she has this quiet, humble confidence and these kind, welcoming eyes,
a classic, artful line about her

the graceful curve of her shoulder muscles eluding to her tranquil strength,
her delicate neck and the unpretentious way she holds herself, mesmerizing,
a tactile symmetry that whispers my name

the way the silky, black fabric rests on the soft edges of her collarbone,
making me wish I could follow them beneath

her exposed upper back begging for soft kisses,
for finger trails that cause the rest to arch in anticipation,
making me want to see just that

and there she sits,
tucking in a few stray strands of that beautiful, auburn hair,
twisted so effortlessly off her shoulders,
completely unaware of the attention,
her beauty so natural,
an easy, feminine elegance,
all woman,
mine

I’m gonna walk over there,
gonna wrap my arms around her and lead her to dance floor,
kiss the muscled line running from behind her ear and down her neck,
the one that leads to that inviting dip in her clavicle

I’m gonna listen to her gasp against my cheek,
feel her heartbeat quicken beneath my palms

I’m gonna hold her so close,
she won’t ever forget how I feel about her,
she won’t ever remember a time she wasn’t loved

-image credit Öykü, found on Tumblr

Hollow

img_6359

They say the pines a’whisper,
A rustling lullaby song,
As the breeze plucks at treetops,
And cool nights grow dark and long

But their sound does not lull, no,
It sings harshly of a bye,
Disappearing in shadow,
And cruel whispering of lies

There’s no bogeyman hiding,
In the darkest nooks of night,
It’s absence that’s a’haunting,
Hollow howls in the moonlight

-image found via rebloggy.com; shared as part of the Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub

 

The Wind

img_6443

I cannot control the wind
or it’s constant metamorphose,
I listen to the rustling of the leaves
and watch the tree tops sway,
I feel it’s force against my cheeks
as my heels dig into the ground

I fight achingly against each sudden surge
and lean in with all my might,
while it gainfully gusts
and steadily swirls
any way it chooses,
with no conscience, no regret

until I’m left squarely standing,
slightly swaying like the tops of trees,
I close my eyes, feet firmly planted,
listening to more than the leaves

I hear my inner voice, shouting,
‘I have not acquiesced’

for, I know,
I cannot control the wind,
nor can it control me

-Image credit rhads.deviantart.com

In Me

IMG_6437.PNG

There’s something in that small town
In the blood coursing through their veins
There’s something in the way they live
In me that still remains

I tried to hide, to run far away
Pretend I would never be
One of them or one of those
Who felt lesser comparatively

Except, them was not the whole town
It was within familiar walls
That they from whom I was running
Took shelter from life’s falls

And no amount of distance
No box put on a shelf
Could allow me to run quite far enough
Away from myself

-photo credit midwestliving.com; shared as part of the dVerse Poets Pub Open Mic Night