small child

You work at healing
For years

You dive in the swamp
Of your psyche
Turn over the mud
Tunnel through it
Breath it
See lilies arise
From the muck

The Beloved is a deer
Dainty hooves
In the swamp

At last you come
To bedrock

So you rest
Bedrock
You think

Until you notice
A chink in the rock
You look away
You avoid it

At last you look
It isn’t going away

The Beloved is a bittern
In the reeds

Fluid leaks
From the chink

Foul black bilious
Acidic
Burning holes in the slanted rock
Again you look away
But not for long

You step forward
Touch the rock

I am present you say
Who is there?

The stream of foul black
Increases
Pours from a widening crack

Beloved is a tiger
Paw against the rock

You see the acid burning
Her paw
But she does not run
She stands guard

Who are you?
You whisper

The rock crumbles

There is a child

Go away” says the child
Ancient

No you say
Beloved and I
Stay present

The black is swirling around you
It’s hard to keep your footing
Beloved, an orca
Steadies you, swimming

No one stays says the child

We stay present you say

I was born I loved I was abandoned When I was afraid

We are present now you say
Swimming by the Beloved
Hand on black fin

I was abandoned When I grieved

We are here now you say

I was abandoned In my despair

We are here you say

You say
You fought
Out of love
You argued
Out of love
You gave
Out of love
Please child
Let us cradle you

The child is silent

The tide is slowing
The rock has crumbled away
A trickle of clear water bubbles

You will stay? says the child

We stay you say

Beloved is a whale
Singing in space
Singing to the stars

Am I lovable? says the child

You and Beloved
Earth and sky
Wind and trees
Moon and stars
Answer yes

Am I loved?

Yes
Yes

8/27/2007

vast

Sometimes emotions are vast. I do not think our culture deals with grief very easily. Grief then becomes a vast pit, stuffed inside us. I sent the Falling Angels poems to friends and family. One older friend said that the poems were too sad and was I that sad all the time?

I replied, no, I am not sad all the time. The sadness is in the poems because there are very few people that I know that are comfortable with sadness and grief. So I put it in to poetry, because I do not want to stuff it. We need to let grief come out and let the tears flow and let it go.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: vast.

Painting angels

You were an artist
You are an artist
You said that you’d have to live to 120 to finish all your projects
And died at 61
I keep wondering
what the art supplies are like
and if you work on sunsets
or mountains
or lakes

Trey, 9
made a clay fish last summer that I admire
He said grumpily “It’s too bad Grandma Helen died before I could do clay with her.”
He tells me he’s ready to make raku pots to fire in your ashes as you wished
I ask what he’d make
He considers and says, “What was Grandma Helen’s favorite food?”
I can’t think and say that she liked lots of foods
At the same time wondering squeamishly if maybe
he should make a vase and then being surprised
that I am squeamish and thinking of blood and wine,
too, I wonder if my dad would know. “Maybe guacamole.”
I need to find a potter to apprentice him to.

Camille, 4.
asks how old Grandma Helen was when she died.
I explain that she died at 61 but her mother died at 92.
Camille asks how old I am.
40.
When are you going to die?
I say I don’t know, none of us do, but I hope it’s more towards 90.

Camille studies me and is satisfied for now.
She goes off.
I think of you.

I perpetuate
the Christmas cards you did with us
upon my children.
They each draw a card.
We photocopy them and hand paint with watercolors.
Camille wants to draw an angel
and says she can’t.
I draw a simple angel
and have her trace it.
She has your fierce concentration
bent over tracing through the thick paper
She wants it right.
The angel is transformed.

My kids resist the painting after a few cards as I did too.
Each time I paint the angel
to send to someone I love
I think of Camille
and you
and genes
and Heaven
I see you everywhere


January 19, 2002

published in Mama Stew: An Anthology: Reflections and Observations on Mothering, edited by Elisabeth Rotchford Haight and Sylvia Platt c. 2002

For the RDP: another day.