Bare

I took the pictures down
frame by frame,
leaving behind nothing but a bare wall.
Vulnerable. Naked.

Like peeling a bandage back,
revealing a healed wound,
still raw and sore,
I spied my forgotten injury.

Scarred,
the skin is still healing,
mending,
I then remember.

So many scrapes and bumps
covered and hidden.
Tears cried and hearts broken.
Now dug up and exposed.

Through the pain(deep breath)
I strip away my protection(closed eyes)
and move forward(exhale)

The walls are bare and the future bright.
No more history crucified to the wall.
No more dark and concealed past.

Just faded memories.

The March Of Minutes

A string of pearls, listless and bemused,

hangs languidly from the hands of the clock,

striking slowly with little intent.

Pointedly, the hands drag and stalk the Hours,

marking the March of Minutes.

And I wait.

I take a step, with precision and exactness.

Then I wait some more,

the tightrope I walk swinging and swaying.

Gently. Tense.

Slender beneath my feet.

I inch forward, tickling the wire a fraction at a time,

then I stop. I am poised. Listening to the creak of the string, swaying.

And I’m waiting.

Again.

 

 

The Day The Lights Went Out

I crossed the finish line so many times, and every time
he was there.
To urge me faster, to cheer me on.

He was there.

Maybe I asked to much. Maybe I did too little
but another finish line came into view
and he wasn’t there anymore.

He wasn’t there.

The crowds cheered and people smiled,
but my eyes searched for the one face I wanted to see.
The one face that meant the most to me
and he wasn’t there.

From here on out, I’m on my own.
I asked too much and listened too little.
I sealed my own fate
and now I walk alone.

On my own.

 

Grape

Grape is the flavor of my childhood.
The sticky sweetness that runs down your arm
as you suckle at a pop from the freezer
made with the Welchs from the store
bought just the day before by Mom.

Grape is the flavor of my summers.
The sweltering days of bike riding
and searing hot concrete beneath our Keds.
The lava hot black heat
beneath our feet
licking at our soles as we dash from yard to yard
trying not to meet our fiery demise
only to snag some ice cream and candy from the
jolly van of treats trolling our neighborhood.

Grape is the flavor of my bravery.
The courage found in my small body
as I stared down the high dive
at the local pool,
my friends waiting below.
Where my mom bounced a baby sister
or brother
in the wading pool
enticing me with a treat if I jumped.
There they all sat, treading water,
splashing about while I toed the edge
then fell
to make a ripple in the waters around them.

Grape is the flavor of my freedom
on that last day of class
as we celebrated with sweets and goodies
brought by the doting mothers
dreading the end of school days.
While they planned and executed our last day soiree,
we signed each others’ books:

Keep In Touch
Have A Great Summer
See You Next Year…

Grape is the flavor of my memories.
The soft edges of my blurred inner eye
remembering the bike rides down the hill;
pool days and bloodshot eyes from
too much chlorine;
Otter Pops; Kool-Aid; Jolly Ranchers;
frustration at my parents for sending me to bed
while the sun still hung in the azure sky;
playing for hours in the sprinklers till our hands
– prinkled and wrinkled with joy –
became the excuse of our mothers’
to turn the water off.

Grape is the flavor of my too short summers,
my too long school days.

Grape is the flavor of my childhood.

A Final Wish

I one time sat,
my desk a mess of papers,
so studiously and dulled
as I worked through the day.
When there by my side,
stood a man, just my size,
in a coat and woolen cap.

He was dapper and clean shaven,
no more than fifty years old.
His smile was careful and grim.
He watched me in silence,
his existence unnoticed
by all of those nearby.

I worked without notice,
ignoring his presence
so close to my tiny work space.
But soon I couldn’t resist
but to glance up and say,
“Sir, can I help you today?”

His smile widened
yet his face stayed the same.
Up reached his freckled hand
as he tipped his hat and said,

“Oh how you’ve grown,
so beautiful and fine.
A young woman you are now,
with a life of your own.”

His words of comfort and
air of friendship and ease
made me sit back against my chair
“And who are you, please?”

The man replaced his hat
standing upright and tall.
He closed his eyes and
cleared his throat and answered,
“No one you know.”

“I knew you once,
a long time ago
before your memories even began.
I’ve been dead these past thirty years
and return only to say
it is time for you to go.”

I couldn’t comprehend,
my mind tripping and faulting.
This was just a man here,
standing so close,
and not a ghost.

But soon I could see
the wall across from me
through the sad smile on his face.
I knew then it was true
he was not alive like
me or you.

I grasped at my thoughts
my heart beat in my chest
as I struggled to come to grips.
“What do you mean?”
I choked out,
fear holding my voice.
“How can this be? Do I get any choice?”

With a grim shake of his head,
fear was replaced by dread
as I waited for his response.

“Long long ago,
as I was resting on my death bed,
your mother, my friend,
was there by my side,
and there till the end.
Before I passed, I had a vision of a young girl,
your type,
dying a most untimely death.
With a tear and a frown,
she asked me to make clear
if it was her unborn child
she already held dear.

To her I replied that I hated to say
it was just this way
I saw in my vision so clear as daylight.
Against my chest, she cried broken hearted
and asked me to be there for you.
To watch and to witness your life to the end,
a promise I intended to keep.

So here I am, I’m sorry to say.
Your time to go has come.
But you need not fear,
for I am here,
fulfilling your mother’s greatest wish.
That you enter into
a life ever after
with a friend by your side.”

My tears began ceasing,
my anxiety slowly decreaing.
If I had no choice why should I cry?
I wiped my eyes
and drew a deep breath
as I looked up and realized
it was him.

The man by my bedside
a distant figure in a frame.
A man of times gone by.
The man in my dreams,
a sturdy figure that watched
me as I slept peacefully.
The figure I’d see out of the corner of my eye
when the end of the day drew near.

He’d always been there
from my youth until now.
He had fulfilled my loving mother’s only wish.

“Can I ask of one thing?” I quietly inquired
my voice barely able to escape.
“May I leave a letter to my mother?”

The specter nodded slowly,
his eyes closed tight and peaceful
as I set down to pen
a simple farewell.

With my tongue pressed against my lips,
I sealed the envelope closed
and left it on my desk
addressed neatly as I could.

As I stood and accepted my fate,
my friend reached out his hand.
Warm and guiding he took mine in his,
and together we faded away.
Into a void of nothing but mist
we floated along, arm in arm.
Then, without notice,
he stopped me and asked
“What was it you wrote? What did you have to say?”

And to him I smiled,
a tear gently dropping, and said,
“I let her know,
you fulfilled her wish.
That together we’d forever be,
daughter and father.”

And with a squeeze of my hand and
a smile that stretched ear to ear,
we left the plane of earth for
a world beyond,
a world without fear.