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This collection are poems of mourning and grieving – when I became a widow. Many years I said I wouldn’t ever marry. My Grizzley changed my mind – and 18 years later, I lost him … or rather let him go. Wehad our good times, we had our bad times; the worst times was when he ended.
- Prayer Shawl
- Waiting Room II
- Behind Closed Eyes
- Winter’s Horizon
- How I Carry You
- The Day Your Cat Died
(published in (The Widow’s Handbook”)
Worn carpet, smelling of
body sweat & animals,
bright red shawl – soft soft yarn –
draped over bowed head;
this is a ritual since December
Feet on carpet. Knees on raised stair.
Low tune from the heater as warm
current brushes thigh, back;
keeps cold from distracting.
Forehead resting on mattress,
I do not pray for my sins;
that would be dishonest.
I do not pray for your sins;
that would be arrogant.
I pray for the courage of another day
and the company of angels.
Could not let you go.
Please forgive me, as you lay,
me begging you “Wake!”
Waiting Room II
I am walking through the land of dim lights
through the sparten halls of muffled noises;
walking away from your room –
that room –
that we are both living in
the smell of body sweat and distillation
we are both living in this waiting room.
Me – wondering What? When? How
will I know?
I – not knowing if
and if so – what?
It distills down to not knowing
as I hold your hand
waiting on the choice I think you would want
you will have to live
with it. Muffled fears kept dim
close in, holding my heart in
this waiting room, this holding pattern.
Who do I trust
when I don’t trust myself?
You held that trust
held it in your capable hands
those hands that held my baby’s
held your grandbabies.
You trusted me with this decision.
I’m feeling time leach away
draining, as I impotently move your muscles
as I impotently watch
your eyes, searching in the dim lights –
hot and feverish or cool & quiet like now.
as I impotently wish my face will hold your eyes.
As I impotently wait for a sign
I can hold as progress
It is the added significance of December
that has me doubting
that sends me walking away
the waiting that slips time away from us
holding your hands
when I want to hold time still
as I impotently watch you not holding,
you not waiting,
you slipping away.
The last theater production, Arrin was involved in was ” So Snow White” and his granddaughters’ were in the play. So fairy tales were often the theme at home that year. While he was in a coma, a DVD of the play was played often as an attempt that he could hear & that his girls’ voices would keep his spirits up.
Behind Closed Eyes
Behind closed eyes he sleeps
his arms, that climbed mountains, lax.
Victim to a modern betrayer –
himself – he failed to reach his potion in time
and I, his queen, waits – no Lovers Kiss does waken
no Lovers Kiss brings rose to his cheeks
nor breaks the spell of his sleeping.
Behind closed eyes he sleeps
he is now cast as my Sleeping Beauty,
my Prince and my Beast.
Yet there is no modern Repunz,
antibiotic can only ward off the infection
not bring him back and wake the castle.
Morphine can only dull the pain
not defeat the dragon.
And as much as I shake him there is no
poison apple stuck in his throat.
Behind closed eyes he sleeps
I call out his name as though through a mirror
“MyLord, wake up” varying its tone & inflection
like some sorcerers apprentice – “MyLord,
open your eyes” Our kingdom is rapidly failing
and Fairies do not exists in your world.
Alas, I have not devised a happy ending for my Prince.
And so he lays sleeping, a machine breathing
reality into his lungs, Needles
thinner than Rumplestiltskin’s gold
conjure up food and water through his hands.
His chamber: an ice cave to battle fever’s fire.
And I, his Queen, watch impotently
unable to wake him with a Lover’s Kiss
as he slowly loses the battle
behind closed eyes.
We’re driving down the road
we wandered with you
simply because we wandered it
the weather no deterrent.
When the road detoured uphill
we followed, as you had,
past waterfalls, full with winters runoff
walked into forests now winnowed with snow;
we can still discern your footsteps
where you pulled over
where we held hands
where you looked into the horizon
where we talked of the coming year.
We didn’t know then
the window was closing;.
Who could have shut out
the chill of death?
How I Carry You
At grief support, they gave me
a piece of petrified stone,
polished, to comfort me;
I wrote “adventure” on it, for that is how
I want to remember you –
or so I said.
But that stone speaks so much more to me;
when we would creek-walk
you would pick up stones, wet so they looked polished,
all their colors revealed,
mused as to their stories and how it ended up there.
wood, rock. water.
A palm size fragment
shaped by nature.
This stone tells your story
though it never cradled in your hand;
it started as wood, malleable,
the sapling grew, a child of the earth
lived in forests – as you did when you ran
breathing scents of douglas fir.
It was a companion of deer, of elk, of bear.
And when pressure came to bear down on it,
it became more stable, more solid
changing its substance but not its body
Its grain is still there
but it will not give way.
Then polished, all it’s color, its grain revealed
as if just picked up from the water.
Wood. Stone. Water:
transient into something almost eternal
that would endure.
I imagine that it is a fragment of you
nestled in my palm;
That is how I remember you.
The Day Your Cat Died
Tomorrow another September begins
the leaves will begin to flame,
but there will never
be another like this.
I’ve been sifting
through the ashes,
forgetting I still burn,
my heart blackened on the edges
but the center burns white.
The days begin to shorten and
the nights turn chill;
what can I say
that hasn’t been said
But this time will
be the first September;
not new but a
a different temperature –
a flame you could hold
your hand above.
the countdown in August.
Three weeks ago
I packed your jackets.
One – your pants pulled
off the hanger and folded.
Now I send you your cat, she’s missed you.
She’s turned cold.
is a strange amalgam;
part only me,
part still “us”.
When I’m alone
I toss & turn in the ashes
‘til I fade with dawn’s ember;
during the days, I scatter myself,
at times remembering
I scattered you in June.
This was supposed to be a love poem.
Tomorrow September begins;
my year burning towards this