Composition

as the morning breeze whispers
the melody we made,
the sting and ache echo
last night’s chorus
with each movement,
replayed

the warm sheets still hum
our candlelit din,
a masterpiece composed
over willing skin

-artwork by Egon Schiele

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The Ring

A swift blow to the stomach and all the air has vanished; you cannot breathe.
In its painful absence, you are the somber sparrow, the one that travels from someplace far away to sit upon your kitchen windowsill every morning, the one whose voice never fails to grab your attention.
You ask yourself, Where have I gone?,
and open your eyes to snarled lips and clenched teeth, to the rabid growl of spittle-dripped threats that keep you pinned against the wall.
His voice hollows for no one but you.
You hope this round is over, and although you’ve developed thick skin, and you learned early on you could absorb a man’s swing just like you absorb his words, you are desperate to get out of the ring.
In this moment you are certain – you have to fly away.
You will your vernixed wings to spread, but your feet remain planted on the ground.
You beg them to hurry and ripen, to lift you off your feet, for your heavy limbs to at least shield your tender spots as he squares up with you again, hovering.
Because you know what he wants, what he always wants – for you to fall to the floor, so he, like Ali, can scream,
What’s my name?, What’s my name?
You do not waste the sound of this blossoming voice in answer to his fustian phrase; this voice is for flying.

-artwork my Jeremy Paul, found on Pinterest

Bargain

he sat in his partially sunken lounge chair,
transported to 325 different places with the battery-powered click of a button,
drinking another can of Bud Light,
and another

she sat in her earthy-toned, patterned chair,
feet propped up on the ottoman,
legs covered in the brown fuzzy blanket her daughters had bought her for her birthday,
concentrating through a slight opioid-induced haziness,
reading another chapter,
and another

there had been a strange and subtle shifting over the last 20 years,
like the imperceptible movement of tectonic plates,
a millimeter here and centimeter there,
a shifting that left infinitesimal fissures

so they sat without talking,
each doing their own thing,
in their own way exploring the edges of the fractures that had appeared in their lives,
so as not to fall in

and when they did speak,
the words were often sharp,
razor-edged,
some unspoken bargain manifested in cruelty;
the pleasure of hurting someone other than oneself

-image via Pixabay

Common Ground

it was a strange and shocking ‘morn,
this news they had each just found,
swiftly from grief to disbelief;
not one could wrap her head around

they’d each showed up to mourn the loss,
of a partner monogamous,
but now they sat on a chilly bench,
more in common than each had guessed

yes, they’d learned it in kindergarten,
but none of the three much cared;
not one had agreed to this common seed,
they unknowingly had shared

luckily, no revenge
would need to be avowed;
the conniving culprit was comfortably residing
six feet beneath the ground

Written in response to Bojana’s Tell the Story Challenge. I haven’t been feeling all that inspired the last couple weeks, but I do love a good visual prompt (even though challenges are scary!!). This is all I got – dark humor with elementary rhyming….but here it is. Thank you for your kind words and, as always, you are an inspiration Bojana! Please, click the link to read this beautiful and talented soul!!

I pass the challenge on to these unbelievably talented writers who are also beautiful human beings (with zero pressure!):

Meg Sorick, Author

Holly at House of Heart

Gina at Singledust

-image via Pexels by Leroy Skalstad

Sacred

when he kissed me,
I was pure, cosmic combustion,
an exploding urge from some uncharted depth,
stirring this frenetic need to break free from something I didn’t even realize was holding me back,
while sinking into this enveloping feeling I never wanted to end;
it was the quickening of some strange, welcomed metamorphosis

whatever was happening between us had this unspoiled sheen to it,
leaving behind a layer of something magical that came off on my fingers when I touched it,
like the precious powder from a moth’s delicate wing,
something so intimate and sacred that was meant to be grasped,
but still set free to fly

-artwork by Gustav Klimt, The Kiss

Life Itself

I don’t know if I know how to do this, if I know how to be loved this much, if I even know what love looks like

is it the way my heart aches with joy when you smile with your eyes?

is it the way I feel my own rib cage squeeze when our little one needs someone, and you scoop her up in a whole body embrace?

is it the freedom I feel to allow my mind to go wherever it needs to go as we sit next to one another on the couch?

is it the breath I exhale when you reach for me as you drift off to sleep?

is it the easiness that comes with deliberate familiarity, with 25 years of growing alongside one another?

is it the ability to argue until we run out of words and the knowing no more are needed?

is it waking everyday with you?

maybe love is in the smallest of choices, in the simple, everyday moments;
what if love is life itself?

-image via Pexels

Mine

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 elude to a 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 of her 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 going to walk over there,
going to 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 going to listen to her gasp against my cheek,
feel her heartbeat quicken beneath my palms

I’m going to 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; poem inspired by this beautiful image

Today is my two year blog anniversary! This is one of my first poems on the blog, one of my favorites, and one of the most popular. I’ve done a bit of editing from the original (like most poems I write).

I’m so grateful to be here, and thank you all for sharing this space with me!

He Bakes

have you ever really watched a man make bread?

the way he concentrates,
his unruly brow furrowed so seriously as he carefully reads the recipe and measures each ingredient

the way he bites his bottom lip,
his tongue sneaking out to wet it before his top teeth clench down

the way his fingers ever-so-slightly pinch the top corner of the cookbook page,
effortlessly gliding down the backside with a push as he turns it

the way the flour powders his cheek and nose and backside where he’s unconsciously touched himself as he mixes and measures

the way his forefinger delicately and evenly slides across the top of the measuring cup to level it,
swiping away the extra ingredients

the way he so fluidly moves around the kitchen,
following the recipe from step to step,
organizing and arranging,
in control

the way his hands envelope the dough,
pushing and folding in rhythm,
knuckles and palms pressing and molding it precisely

the way his forearms lend strength to his hands in ripples and waves of movement

the way his shoulder and upper back muscles so swiftly tense and release in knots and threads as his arms work

his easy patience,
waiting for the dough to rise

the persuasive curve of his backside and the clenching of his thighs as he bends to smoothly slide the baking sheet into the oven

his pride and eagerness to share when the bread comes from the oven,
perfectly baked,
ready to be devoured

the bread is heavenly,
but I’d rather devour the baker

-image via Pixabay

Sparks

she was all softness and soap,
no makeup or jewelry,
skin with a polished translucence,
as if she only ever bathed in mountain streams

she smelled like one of those overpriced, crafty shops you find in small, country towns,
all sandalwood and lavender,
an easy comfort that wrapped itself around me like a well-worn sweatshirt

as I walked to her,
light seemed to whoosh through my head like a brisk breeze,
leaving behind a mesmerizing feeling of reverence,
of old books and mom-and-pop coffee shops I never wanted to leave

and when we stood so closely together,
I couldn’t see the ground below,
only the horizon,
a sheet of flattened, shiny tin that stretched as far as I could see,
stamped with the buoyant sparks of possibility

-image via Pexels

Lucky

Twenty-five years ago, I kissed this boy for the first time.
He looked at me, and it didn’t matter where I began or where I was.
He made it feel like we could exist in a world where every day might contain at least a tiny spark of magic.
He made truth feel like magic.

The time we spent together began to feel like helium in my veins, and his eyes were the most tangible slice of hope I’d ever seen.

He still looks at me like I’m his forever.
I still cry sometimes after he closes his eyes and falls asleep, because I feel so grateful.
Not because he loves me without reservation, but because he exists, and I am so lucky to be a part of that existence.

-image via Pexels