The Words We Can’t Recapture

Eagle chased by hawks

preening bruised feathers

in dark green shadows

of an ancient poplar tree.

Like poems that come

while lying next to a napping toddler

who sleeps with one arm reaching out

to a lightly dozing companion

while he dives deep

on his way to REM sleep,

forging neural pathways:

a 90-minute journey.

I unplug the phone

uncompromising

dedication to his growth

even as poems alight —

exotic birds in leafy recesses,

glorious array of rich patterns,

symbolic tribute.  I lie still

quietly watching as they spread

magnificent wings and fly

until they pierce the sky,

leaving no trace.

As a young mother, how I mourned

the loss of so many poems.

Now I am not so enamoured

with words and more

I know by now whose sky

is pierced and how each

thoughtful observation is a pebble

thrown into the calm lake,

rippling out, creating new

reflections: a poem unleashed

like an arrow or flung like a rock

or a child dreaming.

Sometimes the best we can do

is celebrate this fleeting beauty

and sharp despair as we feel our way

into what makes a life.

My grown sons piercing my heart-sky

with pride and my grandson unfurling

like an angel set down

in a secret garden.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: uncompromising

Inadvertent Seamstress

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates

 

I am examining the very fabric of my life

with the help of an exuberant toddler

and recalcitrant octogenarians.

They each give me this gift

through the sharing of DNA

an ancestral thread that weaves

the connections between us,

allows me to assume the posture

of the present as the past unwinds

and the future races before me.

I know this simultaneous blessing

is not bestowed on many in

our fractured crazy-quilt lives.

So often, life has thrust me

into the thick of it, with little time

to catch my breath, let alone

mindfully watch it flow

in and out,

open windows when I cough,

honor a sneeze, that powerful signal.

Instead, I’ve been caught in a windstorm,

blowing past oases

that I only recognize in hindsight.

I have pieced together my life

carelessly, accumulating possessions

that demand more and more care

as the people in my life slip by.

Now, in this precious moment

witnessing the display of patchwork quilts

warming the elders and

swaddling the newly arrived,

I piece together my own patterns,

adjusting the ones I’ve sewn in haste,

taking apart seams painstakingly,

and with a needle threaded

lovingly, begin

to embroider anew.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: fabric

Facing Oppression

At the TSA precheck line, they allow me

to walk in my boots until

the alarm sounds and I have to retrace my steps,

submit my shoes and proceed in my socks

back to the line.  They have already divested me

of my other belongings, herding me into

a queue of similarly stripped beings.

We raise our eyebrows at each other,

share secret smiles to salute each other

as brothers and sisters or at least first

cousins, refusing to bend while they scan

our luggage with their insidious threat.

When I retrieve what I call mine —

but could easily be lost without ever harming

my heart — I walk to a bench

and put on my boots with ceremony

and dignity.  Only then I notice

a stroller with two young children

parked, no parents in sight.

Their yells summon their harassed

mother who comes running to plead:

stay quiet until they let Daddy

and I come back — forced to stand by the suitcases

instead of their young family.

I run after her, ask if I could stand

in the space of comforter and watcher,

and when she comes back with me

and tells them that I will sit next to them,

I ask if they know any spider songs.

They don’t notice her departure

as we move our fingers and

raise our voices in praise

of powerful eight-legged

creatures climbing upwards,

rain crashing down and always the sun

opening up new possibilities.

The brave sister shows me her bucket

filled with treasures, and my heart

rejoices at this simple gift.

The little brother watches skeptically,

hopefully, as we inspect a mermaid

with a tail encrusted with jewels.

As soon as he gathers enough courage

to show me his blue car,

his parents reappear, and we exchange

bye-byes.  Mine are the exaggerated,

excited waves of a grandmother

to her newly discovered grandchildren,

and it doesn’t matter if anyone is watching.

This is pure heart space:

recognizing what is needed and supplying it,

taking care of our children, claiming my role

in this world:  I am here.

I love you.  You are a part of me.

When you aren’t taken care of, neither am I.

As long as there is space and time,

our hearts recognize each other

and we lift each other into the space

of the sun that dries up all the rain

so that we can dry our eyes and climb again.

 Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: encrusted

Be Right Back

I have tried walking away calmly

while he is reading a book with someone.

I have slipped away quietly

even sneakily

when he is absorbed by puzzles.

Once as he was eating food he loves

I was there and back again

and he never took note.

Yesterday I walked him into the room,

discussed what happened there,

and then closed the door between us.

Oh, the cries, the pounding on the door,

the calls straight from the heart

devastated, abandoned with no resource

no matter who else is in the house.

And the relief on his face when I finally

after two long long minutes

reappear, tears still staining his cheeks.

He has only been on this planet

for a such a short time;

we still count it in months.

I have the feeling that he knows me

in some other plane, and that

he has things to share before I go back there.

That bathroom could very well be a portal

that I use to go back and forth

to a place he loves and misses.

It could be that he knows what I don’t,

that far too soon this grandmother

grandson bond will transform yet again,

that our time together is so sweet

that we should be suspicious

of the doors that separate us

even for a very short time.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: suspicious

A Day In The Life

He fell headfirst onto the tiles

laughingly evading me with two

fistfuls of empanadas spilling out.

Tears, ice pack and blueberry yogurt drops

eased us back to smiles.

He ran toward me later

filled with glee, grabbing my face

and taking tiny chunks of flesh

in his fingernails.

A conveyor of wild nature spirit

must use any tools he has.

He can say “hawk”

because a red-shouldered beauty

perched right outside until he noticed

it preening, then lifting its wings

and spiraling off, like the star of an airshow.

The “H” is a long exhalation,

the sharp “K” a reverence.

We watch the windows

carefully: the hawk brings messages

from the spirit world, reminds us

that the most ordinary experience

is deeply meaningful

if we are ready to see.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: conveyor