Friday, June 27, 2008

sidewalk chalk

the sidewalk.
the driveway.

they absorb the chalk colors.

the swirls.
the scrawled lines.

the sun fades the brightness.
and rain washes away the time spent sitting on concrete.
tracing shadows.
outlining bodies.
supressing giggles when tracer taps tickle-spots.
time spent face upwards to the sky
bluer than any of the colors now left dusty on your hands,
the smudge on your cheek.

belly to the sun.

eyes to the sky.

arms and legs sprawled outwards
ready to embrace the round, colorful world
softer than this cement support.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

by their fruits

She almost died on an Easter Sunday.
My great-gramma.

Heavy waiting filled the air
At her daughter's house,
My gramma's house.

We unconsciously half-celebrated;
Grampa still hid the eggs
We'd colored with crayons and dye.
We still searched the yard for them,
But the knowledge of Gramma Roth's shape
Weighed the backs of our minds
And the bottoms of our hearts.

She died a week into May.


She used to be the top of my living family tree.

my gramma,
my dad,

A tree.

She raised three boys and three girls.

Her little house must have felt
So empty all those years
With them grown-up and gone.

Then we'd come tumbling in for a visit.
Building lincoln log cabins,
Sleeping on the trundle bed,
Squashing box elder bugs,
Weeding her flower bed.
Her old home managed to hold us all--
Back to its old self.

Great-gramma had a fruit cellar.

I loved swinging open the creaky door
And stepping down into the cool dark.
I would stand, eyes closed, for one breath,
Inhaling the deep air of packed dirt,
Before pulling the naked light bulb's string.

Every shelf contained similar glass bottles
All housing different preserves:
Floating peaches,
Beans snapped and suspended,
Colorful jellies and jams,
Dark grape juice,
Beautiful raspberries,
And rich tomatoes.


She still is.

I walk now into my parent's basement pantry
And witness the dead are still with us
As we fill jars with applesauce, sauerkraut, pears, apricots.

A family's tree.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

still there

dry throat.
hot head.
trembling tongue.
standing there,
feeling it in my heart,
not knowing how
to say it through my mouth.
somehow spitting something out.
sitting down.
breath slowing.
heart still feeling
the truths of words spoken
and unspoken yet still felt.
how does my small and simple testimony
bring on all this?
I don't know.
I don't care.
it's fine with me just because it's still there.

first sonnet: circa 2002

Blood circles round my heart, making it tight.
Forgetting to breathe, I suck deep for air.
Images of you crowd and blind my sight.
I like to pretend I am with you there,

But conjuring you can't erase these fears.
So this is to you, the one out of reach,
Though it will never sound in your ears,
I'll keep it here inside, my little speech.

You are the one whom I think of at night.
You fill me up like a rush-roaring wave.
You'd make everything more than alright.
For you this first kiss of mine I would save.

But these things of you I never could speak,
So words rest here for now; I am too weak.

Beloved, Fear Not

A found poem, taken from the following passage from Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton:

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs from through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

Beloved, Fear Not

Beloved unborn child,
Love deeply.
Fear not.
Give heart.
Fear not.
Laugh gladly.
Fear not,
Inheritor of our earth.