Careful: Expired Sunshine. Discard.

Tomorrow, well, today, I will write of a love

that is easy, one that is like sinking into the

fresh sheets of your bed after a long day, down

surrounding you, in an embrace so kind your

brain does not believe it is real, because, here,

is rest without a knife to your back; but today,

I will instead open the fridge that has gone bad,

and pull from its guts, the expired carton at the

back, and set on the glass table, my cracked pensieve,

in which I will receive testament of the communion

that was that day; here, is my steady hand, pouring

you out into the gaping hollow of my throat; now,

here, is my bitter mouth, vomiting the sourness of you

into the aging cavity of the pensieve; look, there

is the promise of us floating, placid across the surface,

my head is uplifted to look upon the surface of your face

in the sunlight, the shadows of the trees do not

touch us, this waiting does not touch us, the slamming

breathlessness of death is already forgotten, here only,

is the fragrance of you, the lost confusion of our friends

who do not understand the hesitancy that stays us,

but understand enough, the way we look at each other,

to call it love; I dip my head into the pensieve,

and I do not drown, instead, I breathe easy, like

the heat dappled upon our backs, my fingers

reaching out to smoothen the fierceness of your

singular brow: I have always wanted to touch you,

now, I do; here, is my hand in your hair, here, is us

sharing the old path of three, here is my hand on

your arm, fingers rested on the pale scars beneath

your wrist, you do not shy away from this, you

welcome this, you welcome my knowing.

 

Here you are, kissing me on the cheek.

There you are walking away, smiling.

Here, I am blushing.

 

This carton is empty now.

 

The pensieve is drying.

 

This memory is not bitter.

 

It is just empty.

 

K.N.O.W. April 1-4, 2019. NaPoWriMo Day 3.

A Prayer for A Damned.

I sat by a child once,

and together, we stared

through the glare of the light in a clear,

unmarked pane, into a field of beauty.

 

It was empty, this field,

lush with greenness,

not at all like the fields of my home–

where the grass was yellow, and dry,

earth dripping through, and even in

greenness its blades cut your feet–

this was a field of fairy-tales, really;

 

From our places, we could tell,

that to step out there, would be

to step in–to grasses so soft, our

feet would taste them like full,

dewy moss; the flowers would

waft with everything the stories

told us of: honeysuckle’s breath

gentle upon the skin of our cheek,

nectar’s sweetness dripping from

hummingbird’s beak, and this place,

this field too pretty to be true, would

be the perfect clime–asking no more

from the skin of our bodies, than the

strange dichotomy of warm summer

showers bringing relief, not desperation,

in August’s heat;

 

So, I held out my hand to this child,

and she took it, the window (for that

is what it was), transforming into a

tall door made entirely of glass, the

light bathing it so fiercely, no form of

the space we left behind, remained

visible to the eye,

and we stepped into the field;

 

The grass was as soft beneath our feet

as I had imagined:

the dark stains of the soil beneath it

did not mar our heels, and the petals

were as fragile, and fragrant,

as we’d dreamt them to be;

 

I took the child’s hand, and unfolded her fist,

smoothened its creases into a welcoming

plane, but when I pressed her hand beneath

the blooming bud of flowers, her fist curled

yet again, hardened into stone;

 

With each flower, and bud, and sweet fruit

I offered, her fist only grew harder, and colder,

fingers solid, and unbreachable, no space even

for water to pry;

 

She looked up at me, face guileless, and so unperplexed,

for all the trouble this seemed to cause me, that at last,

I paused,

and knelt before her, to ask—

 

“Why don’t you want to hold the blooms of the

world, in your uncurled palm, sweet child?”

 

But she only stared at me with a gaze of pity,

and hardened her fist until it felt that if I should

not let go, my hands, too, would turn to stone;

 

When I let her go, her hand seemed to soften,

I watched with mine own eyes, as its

brown flesh became new,

 

She laid her palms beneath the blooms,

in the practice of gardeners,

and the petals seemed to gain new life,

with each second of her touch;

 

Flowers bloomed into brightness, fruit burst

into fullness, and when she plucked them from

their stems, they ne’er bruised,

nor seemed to bear a mark of taint,

and thus we went, bloom, by bloom, her

dropping tender, sweet fruit into my own palms,

I eating my fill, and making myself a crown of flowers,

 

Once I’d eaten my fill, I stretched out my hand

once more, to gift her what she had given me,

but the second I offered fruit to her, her face

would crumple with distaste, and when I held

her hand to roses, the stone would form yet again,

growing rough, and cold, and hard,

crushing from sepal to petal;

 

Thus, we went a hundred days, twenty years,

fifty years, but no matter what I did, she would

not take from my hand, or by her own,

of what the field of beauty had to offer;

 

At last, I had had enough.

 

I looked down upon her little head,

and turned her face toward me,

fingers grazing the stone-broken scar we shared,

 

I held her gently by the chin,

and in will, for hours on end,

a battle, fiercely, we did rage:

 

bursting, soft fruit held out,

stone-fisted, peculiar smile laid out;

 

I huffed,

 

She laughed,

 

But no matter how I begged,

no matter how close I came

to being stone myself,

no difference did it make to her;

 

Finally, I let go, and waited to see what she would do,

and that confounding, frustrating child,

stepped through the door, and disappeared.

 

I stood, hands on hips, and watched in concern,

as she brought person after person,

to wade through the garden,

be fed by her hand,

and gifted crowns of

flowers;

 

yet, for each child, and vagabond,

and world-weary soul,

not a one would she eat from,

not a fruit would she taste;

 

It was one such afternoon, that she collapsed, when

the last of our strange, and frequent guests,

had been fed, and nursed, and watered,

 

I picked her up, and set her down, just

under the tree of showers, hoping

she would at least drink her fill,

but she only stretched beneath its showers,

and let it freckle her brown, drawn face;

 

I knelt, and raised her chin towards it, whispering,

 

“Sweet Child, why won’t you drink of the fountain?”

 

She sighed, and cupped her hand beneath it, and I

cried finally with relief,

 

But instead of sipping from her palm,

she raised it to my cracked lips’ surface.

 

K.N.O.W. April 1 – 4, 2019. NaPoWriMo Day 2.

Dead Things.

I do not know how to let things die;

hand, a curved cup around limp

leaves, wilted plant against fingers gently

moulding moist soil into a bed for dis-

integrating roots:

here is warmth,

here is comfort,

here is a shelter in the storm—

do not mind my battered body,

do not touch my bleeding fingers,

rest easy in the shade of my grief

(it will not touch you,

even my tears do not touch my cheeks);

 

You are a dead thing I have only recently

learned to leave buried.

You, a voice in the cool of the afternoon;

You, the burning hand of a Guyana sun,

sweat curling beneath breast under the

weight of school uniform,

shoulders pressed together beneath the

open shadow of concrete corridors;

 

Do I bury you, always, with the bitterness

of my grief?

Do I bury you, only, with the bitterness of

this loss?

 

I think only of you as you ought to be

remembered:

 

bat twisting on a dried field

crack of ball against bat’s breast

 

I remember you only, as you were:

 

What were you?

 

The iron band around my throat

I hold in reminder that I should

leave you rotting?

The rush of happy breath held

in the soft, and tender, curve of

your hand holding mine?

 

Garden-nurse, and necromancer,

let go your crafts. Ask only

for ash, of the burial ground.

Not sour, stained bones.

Not rotting flesh.

Not a skull to hold tears.

 

 

K.N.O.W. April 1, 2019. Monday. NaPoWriMo Day 1.

A Prayer for Those Who Have Lost Much Today

for Tree of Life Synagogue, and the community that bears this

 

May you be gifted love, and comfort, in a world which

has sought to steal it from you with each generation;

May your heart be gifted the warm glow that lingers in the chest

after the tight grasp of a child’s hand;

And where grief has stolen that memory,

May you be gifted the soft memories of sunrises past, and present,

and to come, washing away a dark night;

May you be granted the assurance of safety that is coming home;

And where cruelty has stolen this memory,

May you find the presence of a friend, sitting beside you

in the willing sharing of a burden;

Where grief has made a home, may the hand of kindness grasp

your face with tenderness, and wipe your tears;

Where the silence you did not ask for, has taken residence in your chest,

may the lilting voices of those communing with you, ease it;

Where words are not enough, may touch, may the weight of a warm mug

being pressed into the palm, or the soft down of a blanket on the shoulders

take their place;

Where there is only a hole, a void that is difficult to fill,

An empty space, an empty chair, an empty bed, an empty jacket,

May you be given the strength to bear it,

until it becomes a room from which memories of light, of laughter, of joy,

of silly things that make the day pass, pour forth;

Where there is rage? May it not burn you, but burn away injustice, burn away

the things, the people, the systems that have made this world so;

May it not exhaust you, but revive you for the work that is to come.

 

May you not feel alone in this work, as you should not be in this mourning.

 

Amen.

 

K.N.O.W. Saturday, October 27, 2018.