I haven’t been able to assemble enough functional brain cells to write new material (they are all on holiday), so I’m taking a cue from the television networks–I’m giving you re-runs. The following is an assortment of previously written poetry…because I don’t want things to get too dusty around here.
Happy New Year, people.
Seeing Mars on Megan’s Birthday
The planets fall in line this Virgo night
And offer up a view of distant Mars,
Glowing like some crazy bloodshot star
Through August haze and dirty city light.
I’m standing in the middle of the street
The third late summer evening in a row
To see what sixty-thousand years ago
Ancient eyes glimpsed. I wipe away the heat
And sigh, and turn toward the house but then
I see it burning pink against the pall.
It makes the others stars look gray and small
As if to glow as brightly would be a sin,
And I cannot believe I could have missed
It there two nights before, but then, today
Is Megan’s birthday and she has a way
Of bringing things to light. I can’t resist
The wonder juxtaposed beneath black space,
How on the evening of my sister’s birth
Sixteen years later Mars is seen from Earth.
Next week it will be gone without a trace,
The stars resume their ordinary gleam,
But Megan is a light that will not dim
Like Mars, a fleeting planetary whim–
She shines in dark and day, in sleep, in dreams.
When the yelling was
particularly loud nights, days
found me hiding in the corner
between the sofa and the wall
in my mother’s mother’s house.
I could not escape
her healing gifts:
a Push-up and a damp yellow
washcloth to cool my burning
hot cheeks. She gathered me
into her lap and talked
of things I loved–
watching birds, riding PaPa’s tractor,
picking blackberries and walking
to the store for gum and pop. Before
the Push-up was gone I was
smiling again. The way she
wiped away the sherbet
and misunderstanding, I almost believed
that old yellow cloth was magic.
Seems like a century ago,
and now I find myself wishing
for Push-ups and magic washcloths
and the safety of a lap.
This girl could use
a gentle rocking, a cool cloth
against eyes that have seen
too much, and the taste
of soft orange sherbet
would be a welcome change
from swallowing the bitter pills
that life often prescribes.
I have grown up, and wise,
and I know the answers are harder
than this–but my little girl memory
still recalls the color and the cool,
the orange and yellow comfort
of a frozen treat and a cloth
so worn and thin I can see
my grandma’s hand through its gauzy threads
reaching out to touch my face.