Tag Archives: Family

Relative

You were born in June light
when the lazy rays of summer are
at their brightest

And the sun beats the backs of men
like Apollo’s stinging whip.

I was born during February’s freeze
when the snowflakes kiss your cheek
in frenzied flurries

And winter winds howl at your door
like wounded Persephone.

We are sisters—

Alike in blood and birth alone.

In thought and soul we remain
locked inside our own archipelagos

Our songs forever clashing as we
tango around the other in clumsy
stockinged feet

Arms never to reach outwards in a
greeting.

Oh, Stranger—

I’ll never know your season well
enough to call it home.

 

 

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Matchstick Girl

I wanted to strike a match to our blood ties
and witness the destruction of the oak tree
generations prior to us have swung from.

Document the eradication of familiar yet
alien faces as they melted into ooze,
dripped into sludge, then became the ash
that dances with the wind.

I wanted to hold solitary vigil among the
skeletons and fleshy corpses that whittled away
before my eyes and whisper,

“At last we are finished here.”

That by doing this, I could somehow end
the screaming hurt that tells me I am
as far from belonging to the connected tissue
of our last name as I am closer to understanding
any kind of God.

I wanted to strike a match and lay waste
to the years of loving that fell on deaf ears
and gnarled closed off branches—

I wanted to be free. 

However, the desecration of blood is more
difficult than I ever imagined and even fire
cannot scorch away the memories of the
heart.

I will always care while wondering up at the
stars my inability to forget.

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For My Mother,

Wanted to construct a myriad of verse
to describe the meaning of your heart
and all its muscle memory and how it
sparkled like gold dust in a breeze.

Wanted to paint a metaphor profound
that scholars for the ages would pontificate
and ooh and aah over while they tried to
communicate to the world your importance.

Wanted to spool a tapestry of color with
words, sentences, commas and periods,
all a testament to how like a mockingbird
you sing when doubt clouds my song.

Wanted to fill blank pages with antidotes
about how the dark ages of my mind
were and are no match for the countless
moments of compassion that seep from you.

Wanted to say “I love you” in a deeper way
than the typical rushed words I give you
because you never rush or forget to say
“I love you,” no matter how difficult I can be.

Wanted to declare I am your daughter in the
most elegant prose possible and, you, my
mother in the most incandescent rhyme,
but these stanzas will never be enough.

All the “wanted” wants in the known universe
could never capture the pricelessness of what
you mean to me: My Giving Tree. My forever
friend. My shelter in the storm. My homecoming.

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Story Time

Story Time

~ Illustration by Daniela Volpari

Artist’s website:

http://danielavolpari.blogspot.it/2013/12/a-casa-di.html

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A Figment of Sisters

A Figment of Sisters

My sister said it wasn’t her fault. It’s true; she couldn’t help it. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t her fault.

The way I looked in the mirror. Judged the layers of myself; poked holes in the flesh. Her voice a resounding gong in my ears.

My sister said it wasn’t her fault. It’s true; I couldn’t help it. But that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t feel sorry.

The way she giggled at me. Pointed as I sagged; the weight of this body too much to bare. My tears puddles at our feet.

My sister said it wasn’t her fault. It’s true; we couldn’t help it. But this rivalry doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reconcile.

The way I crumbled that day smarted. There are bits of myself in her closet still; bloody footprints remain. Sisterhood strained under my shaky resolve.

My sister said it wasn’t her fault. It’s true; she couldn’t help it. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t her fault. That doesn’t mean I never loved her at all.

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The Attic

Image 

The attic was dim and musky. Shrouds of dust clung tightly to various forgotten relics. A lampshade circa 1890 looked drenched in the dirt. Cobwebs twinkled in beams of sunlight just out of your line of sight. Memories and memorabilia were all shelved away here. 

Sophie sighed heavily. What was it she was looking for? Oh, right. It was grandma’s old senior yearbook. The matriarch couldn’t remember the name of a girl she used to bum cigarettes off of. Silly really. Still, when grandma Stein says “jump” you say, “How high?” 

Spying an oaken trunk under some quilts, Sophie glides towards it. The MIA yearbook might be hidden there. (You know, for safe keeping). With careful hands, the lock is undone and the lid swung wide. Frowning, the granddaughter is disappointed. All she finds are old letters and pictures. 

Feeling defeated, curiosity then takes its hold instead of blind purposefulness. Sophie rummages through faded penmanship, scuttling past old time photographs and leather bound diaries. Eventually, her green eyed gaze settles on a bundle of correspondence. It’s in another language. 

The paper smells of exotic perfume; the various messages are bound together, carefully, in pink ribbon. Delicately these mystery letters are brought to rest upon Sophie’s lap. She peruses their contents. Ah, love letters. 

Though the scrawl remained alien, the story of these notes rung loudly. A lock of raven hair in one envelope (Grandma Stein’s) was a symbol of fidelity. The pictures of two youngsters (one in uniform and the other a swing dress) displayed puppy love. The way this man looked at Sophie’s grandma was breathtaking. As if grandma were the only woman in the world to him; as if she were a goddess divine and he a devout follower. 

More letters, more evidence of a past life Sophie knew nothing about. Dance cards with his name repeated over and over again. Ticket stubs to plays and movies they must have seen together. A tear stained paper, official looking, mentioning a word Sophie did know “death.” 

This gentleman (no, kid) must have died in action. Suddenly ashamed of her snooping, Sophie hastily discarded these mementos back inside Grandma Stein’s trunk. Slam! The closing of the trunk reminded Sophie of the closing of a coffin lid. 

It was easy to forget that your parents (and their parents) had lived long winding lives before you knew them. Grandma had loved and lost and laughed and despaired with another before marrying Grandpa. Was that why their union had always seemed a cold one? Had Grandma settled? Losing all of her hope after he had died on the battlefield? Far from home and fatally wounded? Sophie couldn’t say (though her heart seemed to know). 

“What is taking so long?” It was Grandma Stein (or Margo once upon a time). “Nothing,” Sophie replied. Her voice was shaking. “Just can’t find your yearbook. Sorry.” The sorry came out defeated and weak. There was a pause then, “No worries child. Let us eat some cookies. I’ve got plenty of cookies. You come down now please.” Sophie nodded, following the airy voice of a woman she hardly knew, but was going to make an effort to know now. 

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