Onion

This is not about
how she makes me cry.
It’s not even

about the tender heart, tied
to a secret, hidden
beneath her

white organza dress, unattainable
despite my teary efforts.
You see – this is about

her coming to ripeness in my garden,
a full moon rising
to the high throne. Indubitably she is

the queen’s picking, fattened virgin
bulb, green stalks
soon to flower. Overnight,

poignantly and nervously, she drags
her robe of white mist
in slow waltz, my sweet deb.

Come daybreak I will have to take her
out of her loam-perfumed
boudoir, and marry her off to the gentle

yellow bell pepper.

 

Originally published in Mount Hope, Issue 9, Spring 2016

How To Cross A Bridge

At four thirty I stand at the end of the bridge
watching my daughter descend
from the yellow school bus.

We begin our journey home
as the sun leans wearily to the west.
Her schoolbag is painted with funny daisies.
Inside there are many unanswered questions.

It takes three hundred and four steps to cross this bridge
to our white stucco house with a wooden swing.
She likes to go higher and higher, my fatherless daughter.
My own father left me on a cloudy day in the winter.

I often ask my daughter to count her own steps home,
but she rather skips and hops and says hello to the ducks.
I think about whether her eyes will grow
into a deeper blue like her father, as I often think about
these small and inconsequential matters.
Was it calla lilies that I carried
on my wedding day
or did I lay them down
on my husband’s grave?

As my daughter begins to run, her shadow
tearing away from mine, my terrified limbs
give birth to a butterfly. One hundred and twenty-one steps,
or is it one hundred and twenty-five?
God please help me go back to zero before all my sadness began.

I want to know what makes my little girl come back
to hold my hands as if they are her own gloves.
I want to remember the way she looks at me,
like how she would look at a dying deer,
with eyes like two blue stars
from the vast universe shouting to me,
mommy, mommy, don’t be afraid.

 

Originally published in Mouse Tales Press in September 2016.

Seasons

By the end of summer,
my breath hangs in mid-air,
pale, slow, and full of watermelon seeds.
Days grow impatient, hurrying into deep valleys
of dead fireflies, damp and iridescent.
I grow cold and silent.

Autumn gains momentum. Everyday
somber bells toll for the march of wheat stalks
in the golden field of over-ripened hunger.
The pregnant pumpkin, greatly confused,
gives birth to a shivering life
vague in meaning.
Things return to order –
plums dead, birds nameless, fingers callous and lovers over.
Yet the scent of wet lavenders
from faraway corners
stirs up curious whispers. But oh,
don’t be silly, summer is over. Listen-
here come the violent gallops of
winter, invincible as god’s plan.
Its weighty hooves punch through the ashes of man,
through the leaves of a dead autumn, through
the cries of a grey lone wolf, through grooves of sorrows,
until nothing falls to the hands we raise up.

I, of withered spirit and hardened veins, retreat into
my vanished self, gathering silence
upon more silence, to my unanswered questions:
why do sprouts turn to flowers,
then back to weeds;
why do children grow tall and brave,
then bald and afraid.
Why do we cling to what life can not give back?
This infinite circle, and this disillusion
of death and nothingness,
like two star-crossed songbirds,
shall forever lament upon our sordid graves.

When the seeds of the past take root, spring
from earth a quick sensation – vicissitudes of seasons
kick open the fat belly of discontent, palpitating
with springtime urges.
It pleases me so much to see
the colors of hydrangeas descend from the sky,
as I sit here by my open window,
unwinding the yarns of a melancholy mind.
There is a young child in my garden
petting an old dog of a nameless collar,
rosebud cheeks against a wind-beaten tail.
How my heart begins to flutter,
breaking loose in that original spasm,
as I see fireflies
spring up from the child’s fingers.

 

Originally published on October 4th, 2015 on my old blog.