Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Poem to a Lost One

You held my hand and squeezed,
again and again,
with all the mighty power left to you;
Your strength that so made me a shining star
in your remote universe,
now ebbing,
calling you to some other place,
perhaps home,
or another small kingdom to rule.
How will I know until I get there myself?

“I love you,” we traded back and forth,
cheeks on facing pillows,
your eyes closed,
mine capturing whatever remained of you.
“I’ve so many things I never had a chance to talk to you about,” I said,
though without your hearing aids it’s unlikely that you heard.

The others were foraging in your now abandoned kitchen,
or shooing children down the hall,
or chattering in a distant room.
Little did I know I had you to myself for the last time in those passing moments,
too short,
and shorter still than I could dream.

I could not wake the next morning. The laziness
that invaded my bones
could have been my empathy with your exhaustion.
Exhausted with this world you were.

After the phone call, knowing you were gone,
no more goodbyes,
I felt a loneliness that only death can impart.
Like a mechanical foot, I walked through the remainder of the day,
and when I was the last one left in your empty house,
I felt a shattering in my middle,
peering at what was now disarray
of once the absolute modicum of order.

I will reach for the phone to say:
“We cut Mila’s hair.”
“The Mariners won.”
“My blood pressure is too high.”
“Where are you?”
“I got a photo of you from Marian.”
“I had a good day.”

But your number is disconnected
And now your mail comes to me.

I imagine you at your sink,
your red apron (I have it now),
the timer clicking (tick, tick) on the stove,
And in the living room (why do they call it that?)
the cuckoo measuring the hours.
The scent of baking sugar fills the air as
you turn to tell me I am late
and walk my way to give me a hug,
your fingers splayed to keep bits of flour from my back,
but then
the image in my imagination fails me.

Because you are not there, I can no longer
go to you. And you can no longer
leave me messages that berate me for not answering my phone.

I am unable to identify the strangers in the photos
and your sister
was not acquainted with many of your friends.
So they will remain strangers
into infinity. I brood over faces and names
of people I will never know,
just as I never completely knew you.
Remember that day in the hospital
when we spoke of how we never really get to fully know
even those to whom we are closest?
We had so little time,
didn’t we?



Friday, October 15, 2010

The Shoe

Leather, brown, sole, ties, tongue, laces, black, Sunday only, sturdy, heel, needed, warm, cool, style, protect, comfort, footwear, design, fashion, athletic.
Takes me places.
Takes me home.
A harbor for my foot, a station for my toes.
The dock for the boat of my body.
The earth’s surface and me.
Journey maker.
Brogan, boot, flip-flop, heel, pump, sneaker, oxford, mary-jane, ghillie, two-strap-t-strap, sandal, spike, slipper, loafer, ballet, mule, walker, orthopedic, high-top, tap, tennis, black patent, runner, slip-on, loafer, stiletto, slingback, moccasin, clog, platform, espadrille, boating, hiking, walking, bowling, poulaine.
Damaged. Too small. Too large.
Hammer toe and corn and bunion and fallen arches.
Dr. Scholls.
Propels me forward, ahead, into the next.
Takes a beating.
Gets used.
Gets forgotten on the closet floor, under the sofa, on the porch.
Gets bronzed.
Hangs from the rear view mirror.
Dragged behind the wedding chariot.
Hung mysteriously from electric wires in your neighborhood.
The shoe.



Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Beach of the Dead (He Said)

“I’ll meet you at sunset,” you said,
Tossing jumbled words over your sun-kissed shoulder.
Was it me you called out to,
Or was it your Rafael instead?
My hopeful ears heard you say
“Be at the Beach of the Dead.”
The sand grew cold between my feet,
Sipping tequila that went to my head,
Warming the places I’d offer to you,
Once we collapsed in my white linen bed.
Moment to moment the sun did its sinking
Upon the horizon, while I did my drinking,
And mulled over what you had said.
Was it the language that caused a mistake?
A misunderstanding inviting correction?
And not a blatant, left handed rejection?
These thoughts upon which I fed,
While sitting on the Beach of the Dead,
Caused me to question my comprehension,
Completely denying my intoxication,
Allowing the wandering of my attention,
Almost accepting an enticing invitation;
I admitted my grasp of the language was flawed,
Perhaps I was not so smart while abroad;
Paying my bill with a small sense of dread,
I crept slowly from the Beach of the Dead,
Alone for the night was better instead
To digest and translate what you must have said.

At morning I woke with little regret,
More than anything glad that we met,
Incentive complete with self recommendation,
That while visiting a neighboring nation,
To make no assumptions of what has been said
Or find oneself drinking alone with the “Dead.”



Friday, October 1, 2010

Step Out

Prompt is about stepping outside your house, world, box, whatever. What is there to see? Do?

When aging, one is relieved of lust, greed, even energy
And accepts faith,
Embraces sorrow, grief,
With a knowingness
Almost comfort.
To glance back over one’s shoulder
Is easy.
I stand on the threshold and teeter upon the topmost step.
Inside the door behind me I see the look of love,
The warmth of one crooked arm along my back,
Not guiding me, nor holding me back,
Simply allowing me to make what choice:
To go forward
To weep not for what went before
To weep not at all.
“Forget me, forget me, forget me”
Is the whisper in my lingering ear.
“Remember, remember, remember”
Ricochets back.
There may be richness in hope,
Optimism in trust.
In my cocoon I must eschew despair
And step out…
Step out and grasp what is left of my youth.