The Waiting Room

Once he heard it, he felt relieved.
Not sad, not mad, not even afraid, but relieved.
Relieved that he was finally falling
into this black hole he had been
tiptoeing around for months, not knowing whether
this dull yet ever present pain inside
his body that he dared not touch
or speak of was the beginning
of an end. How many nights has he lain
awake on the cold bathroom tiles, slowly
trailing his fingers to its core, feverish
with doubt, unable to say one true thing about it.
Once or twice, he sensed something, a pulse, a rhythm,
a dark quickening that was unlike life. It was
unlike anything he had ever known. Afterwards
the nurse came out to talk to him, with carefully chosen
words that meant to give him just enough
to go on hoping that he might be the exception,
one in a hard million, a lucky star. It was cruel.
Nevertheless, he listened, and smiled,
almost too cheerfully, at the nurse, while
silently congratulating himself for no longer
having to be burdened with this fear
of falling into the black hole. Now that
the fall has begun, he can just keep on falling
until he meets it at the end. And when there was
nothing more to say, he left the waiting room,
and strode into the crisp autumn afternoon.
The fearless angel and the wicked dragon
alone in the dark wood.

Vanish

Tonight I baked a raspberry pie
under the poetic moonlight,
washed and dried dirty dishes pretending
they are my blooming peonies,
and I put out a fresh roll of toilet paper
in the kids’ bathroom before lying down to dream
all that could have been
in this pantomime of life
if only I could live my own self
in my own pretty lilac words; never vanish
into a life without making a mess; never yield
to the waning season like the soured crops.
They may have been right all along: sooner or later
the great wind rushes under us all, and winter comes
to take the red fever out of every autumn leaf, but remember my heart
O my heart that has gone soft and blue, like the cratered moon,
once thumped, ached, and burned for a fevered future.

 

Originally published on March 24, 2017 on my old blog. 

Love Song

For Hudson

When you rest your face
in my arm’s hollow,

all the echoes have stopped.
The world has become quiet since

the eagles returned to the valley.
I try to recall the last time I was so powerless

in the face of something so small
fastened to me like a frightened milk mouse, forever

vulnerable and impossible to hurt,
and I guess I never knew it

until your first feeble cry
raises an answer in me,

so much like love
it must be love.

A Woman’s Villanelle

This is the town with the house with the woman with the fire inside
She arranges her mornings with needles and flowers, becoming quieter
Everyday wishing there is more to life than this great lone pine

They do not talk to her anymore, nor do they visit her with apple pies
The future is a gray seagull, they say, the sun has gone to another
Nameless town with a house with a woman with a fire inside

Over the hills a cruel wind blows, she sits and listens, still as life
The moon usurps the sun in her white gown, killing the last sputters
Everyday wishing there is more to life than this great lone pine

She watches the wind overturn the wheelbarrow and the rusty bike
She rides at night like a golden broom, a naked witch, hunting after
The small town with the house with the woman with the fire inside

When the wind ceases, the sun bobs back with a gold ring and a lie
She buries the old thorns and stitches a new rose out of the guileless feathers
Everyday wishing there is more to life than this great lone pine

Who’s to say she won’t triumph over these tempests that agonize
Her soul, at first a mystery, and then a revelation, spurring her
Everyday to hope for more in life than this great lone pine
In this town with her house with herself with this fire inside

 

Originally published on September 3, 2016 on my old blog. 

Blush

It begins with a slight tremor, a rush
of wind stirring the undercurrent of
the unfathomable sea in her heart,
a rapid shift of tide perceptible
to no one but the beholder of love.
For a brief moment she tries to hide it
with downcast eyes, but this wave of rapture
boiling and swelling up inside her and
yielding to its expanding force at last
crashes down and spreads to shore, bringing her
seashells and a white horse, staining her cheeks
with the color of the precious corals.

 

Originally published on February 28th, 2016 on my old blog.

Daybreak

When she raised her eyes and met his gaze
the train gave an unexpected lurch.
It was an ineffable moment,
like a deer looking up from the plain
for an instant and finding berries.
The sun was rising. His pale blue eyes
and the rye field rolling out behind
his broad shoulder reminded her of
the old town she’d run away from,
where the faded rye no longer danced
when the cold wind blew, and the mad crows
beat their wings against the stony sky.
And as she smiled at him, sunlight broke
through the tin-gray clouds that gathered on
the tip of her tongue all these quiet years.

 

Originally published on January 27th, 2016 on my old blog.

Sylvia

She lay afloat, nakedly undulating
like a great maternal vessel.
Mother of the black corals.
A blinking eye, a quickening vein.
Hope was a mere pinnace to her greying ribcage.

She gathered death like she gathered water
around her wooden body.
Many have capsized this way.
Many who asked for roses got only thorns.
The leviathan approached her at midnight.

At dawn the light was soft like an unspoken wish.
Her hair grew heavy, her eyelids turned to a shade of blue
colder than the north star.
She opened her fists in the pummeled water.
Evergreen terrains stretched by her palms’ end.
Someone awaited her arrival.

The sea never ceased. With great power
it piled waves upon the hardened shores,
as heavy years piled upon the back of a defiant silhouette.
Forever bent but never broken, an ineffable wreckage.

From her sodden cartilages,
we collected things she once loved –
mushrooms and sows, skeletons and stones.
However ugly, however cold.
Our dearest smiling in her own shadow.

We buried everything in the moistened earth – those things,
melted lamps, fish bones, and the fat purple figs
fallen by her toes.
What was left from her pink knuckles and pretty smiles,
sewn together, became the map of a new voyage.

Then on a quiet night like this, her aroma suddenly came
from the norwegian sea, icy yet sweet like a comet.
It travelled through the branches of the moonlit laurels,
through the foliage of fond memories,
through the fingers of the solitary poetess,
through her burning artery, through her ardent hopes,
to the words as yet unborn
from her trembling lips.

In memory of Sylvia Plath

 

Originally published on October 8th, 2015 on my old blog.