words

If you were a book, I’d slip upon the page

and write you a hymn: To Love

The text, an alchemy of lost, of found

Shed tears and tangled blooms.

 

I’ll write you a boulevard cradled by oak

Swept up in a crescendo storm

In an empty room, beneath an altar of glass,

Captive, we’ll pray.

 

Words dance through pain, tussle with greed, as we swallow shots of shame

To shiver in the reckoning: Love never fails

 

As you gasp, breathless

Upon rumpled hope

I’ll soothe your sleep to dream.

 

In the still of morning, you’ll reach for me

Words beneath the cover.

 

 

~Seraphs’ Blush

Draft

 

edges

“Listen,” she said.

I am in love with you.

To this day, you linger on the edges of my mind, clouding my lens. It’s that simple.

You’re my first thought in the morning, my last dream at night. Any time, anywhere. It’s all you.”

 

 

Wonder

Pay attention, darling.

Pause in the slightest movements of the universe, the subtle nuances, the unexplained happenings that you call, “lose threads.”  Like a ball of tangled yarn, these very moments twist and turn, specific to you, alone.

Pay attention, darling.

Stand brave and alone at the crossroad of life. Stay unflinching on the page. Allow the truth of time to heal you. When tears fall like rain, know that the seeds of joy awaken to see you smile again.

 

Known as Athena, she holds a vessel of ancient wisdom, beyond that which we could ever know. Trust her vision for you.

Pay attention, darling.

Trust the journey you’re on

As she knits the story of a beautiful life.

 

 

About A Door

Tears slip behind doors. Slammed. Sorrow’s shelter from Storm.

Love reigns behind doors. Quiet, stone still. A soft head against a shoulder.

Doors close. Locked. Listen as our footsteps flee.

Doors whisper, tell the stories of a life.

 

I’ve fallen hard for old doors. Chippy paint, cracked glass,

hand-hewned architecture . Bespoke.

~ A Sunday Moment

• Photographed  by my sister x

Fathers and Daughters

 

I’ll cradle you in my arms like a small child sleeping

Holding fast to your lost flesh

Your once muscular body, feather- weight, gone

Your heart beat, silent

As I carry your ashes home

Where is home?

An island, Vancouver, Toronto, Australia?

It is anywhere we were, anywhere we are.

 

It is time to set you free

To know with certainty, you’ll return

In a child’s gentle touch or a stranger’s crooked smile

In a fairy tale mention of an ever- after land

In a scotch and water moment.

 

I am resolute; I’ll find the perfect spot

To lay you down to rest

A place where first light surprises darkness

On the razor edge of time

When Moon kissed Sun.

 

A sturdy tree your marker, a shelter from the wind

Yes, I remember. You sailed through storms.

A tree trunk to support me

As I collapse into the folds

The strength I seek, not found

I loved this man who died.

 

My charm, a ruthless hunter

I wish you back to life

My arms an anchor hitch to hold your heart

I beg you, “Say it.”

Speak the words you kept from me

In turn I’ll share a moment

Of a time you slept unaware

I whispered in your ear,”You are a good man.”

I kissed your forehead

Walked into our good-bye.

 

You say, “Hush.”

Rain mixes with our tears; I bow my head and crumble

And tell you, the years have been long

That I miss us; I’m sorry and know that you are, too

I speak love over and over

Love. Love. Love.

Until we believe it

Until you show it

 

You’re not here.

 

My fingers claw the earth

To find each broken bit that was once you

I’ll assemble you from pieces, return you to the day

Hold on closer than before

I ask you, wait for me.

 

Time has made me wiser

Aware of all I’ve lost

So I’ll tuck you in a pocket

Make you of myself.

 

And when it’s hard to sleep

I’ll offer you back to the night

Toss you to the sky

Sing a lullaby to the stars: this man with the gentle soul,

bless his broken heart.

 

My words form our story

Tender lyrics soothe your soul

A song of mercy

Sung from the book of grace

And I won’t forget to finish that which you could not:

to remember to hold each other up.

 

You must leave

I hear the rustle of wings, marvel at your strength

You glance back, see me wave

Soar heavenward.

 

The eyes of the deer watch me

I close my eyes to pray

Lift my palms skyward and whisper,

“This is the holding of a father and his daughter.”

 

It is time to leave you

See. I am walking away with all of my strength

I am almost there.

 

I am singing. If you listen you will hear me.

x

 

~ Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moment

Their moments were fleeting; at times, raw. This, was that moment.

“Annie?”

She giggled. A child’s head popped up from beneath the table. His daughter, a sprite of girl straightened and met his stare. A paper doll dangled from her fingertips. The style of  doll was familiar; he knew Jacqueline had sketched it, had painted in the model like features and cut it to form.

“I didn’t see you,” he laughed. “How long have you been here?”

Annie shrugged.

She was his light beam; her smile tamed darkness.

In that moment she charmed him. Feet planted, Annie straightened and dared: stay. Her ruffled blonde hair, wide bangs cut short, and one off- centered, green eye, opened wide; he had noticed her tricks.

Instantly, Annie lowered her head and the spell was broken.

He crouched beside her. Gently, his fingertips smoothed the tussled strands of her hair into place. He cupped her dimpled chin and waited for her to look up. When she did, he traced the freckled path along her cheekbone. Surgical tape stuck to the skin above her left eyebrow. One edge of the tape had lifted. Carefully, his fingertip pressed the errant corner into place. He knew she hated the eye patch, always picked at the edges to get free of the gauze covering.

He lingered in that moment. She was his black cat bone, his good luck charm.

 

 

Layers

~ vintage blanket
~ vintage blanket

 

It snowed this weekend and the world became just a bit more enchanted. Layers of water and ice glistened over the street. Ribbons of snowflakes tumbled and bedecked the boughs beyond my window. Lights twinkled, evermore bright, as darkness dropped a veil atop the blanket of white. A hush settled upon the land. The world was beautiful to behold.

I’ve learned to look closely, to appreciate the layers of a life.

Everything layers. The snow that buries treasure. The cut pine boughs that house an errant spider. The branch of Winterberries that feed the birds. The words we write; the silences we keep.

Look closely.

My eyes scan the room to view a mother’s treasured sideboard. Once it stood stained and polished, waiting for Sunday. On that sacred day, she’d set out the silver and china serving dishes. Her best effort. And we would celebrate family.

Look closely.

A patina of paint and wax covers the oak sideboard. The top sanded, the edges worn. The silver stands in a cast iron urn, a twist on up cycling.  The china serving bowls rarely make an appearance. I see the candle burning down. A daughter’s attempt to hold on, let go, to illuminate the night.

Look closely.

My fingers lift a gilded frame. The sepia photograph is of a woman. I trace her portrait.  She is standing on a deck, leaning against a railing, looking out to sea. Dressed in her finest clothing, her fingertips hold a hat. A lady always wears a hat. She was a believer in proper etiquette. Beyond her rolls the Atlantic.

Look closely.

I recall her eyes, shades of indigo grey. Behind their depth is another layer. Doubt. I imagine her pausing, pondering, “Should I leave England?” I dust off worry and discover bravery. Carefully, I lift another layer to expose joy ~ he is waiting for her to cross an ocean.  On another continent, he goes about his life, planning, constructing, beholden to a dream.

Look closely.

A certain magic fills the room. A whispered breeze kisses my forehead. I see my Grandmother; she is still beautiful. Time has gently taken its toll. Her once bright eyes have paled. They  glimmer, wet pools of faded blue. Her finest dress, threadbare. A pin of pearls is elegantly placed beneath the collar of her blouse.  Beside her armchair a weathered curtain hangs, the faded Irish lace rustles.

Look closely.

Everything is layered, weathered, chipped, cracked and broken. Be still. Pay attention to the forgotten. It is within glorious imperfection that we find beauty. Lift the layers gently, see beyond the cracks. Everything and everyone has a story to tell. The magic of the world works in whispers. You only need a heart that feels to see the wonder that surrounds us.

A Lady and A Crown

FullSizeRender-2

Sometimes it’s the small things that hold the most meaning in our lives. They show up as everyday actions, expressed through the simplest gestures and the gentlest of comments. Yet make no mistake, this is what love looks like.

This Mother’s Day my mother wants only an ice cream cone. She says, “that will be enough.”

Mom opens the passenger door and slides onto the empty seat. She smiles from under her new straw hat. “Do you like it?” Her words sound timid.

My fingers reach to adjust the brim of woven straw. “It’s jaunty, Mom. Wear it lower on the forehead.” She pulls back. In that moment I catch my tone.

A memory returns. It is of a different mother.

This mother waited in the car or stood on the street. This mother adjusted and rolled the brims of her sweet babies’ hats, made certain they were safe.

This mother’s children scampered down the steps from school or daycare, their small heads bobbing, their hats askew. Her fingers reached forth to roll and adjust. She was the mother who smoothed the cloth, caressed a cheek.

Voices warbled as chubby little hands rifled through backpacks to produce a rumpled painting or a sample of schoolwork. “Do you like it, Mom?”

I always did.

There is something achingly similar in the whispered words of young and elderly. The shy questioning notes that search for reassurance and approval. The eyes wide, searching.

My mother’s voice calls me back to the present.

“Do you like it?”

I nod. “It has flare, Mom.” I smile and tug it closer to her ears.

A truth snags hold. Some days, I am mothering her.

While I steer, Mom shares a happy story. She speaks of a friend. “I was just about to sit down to eat when the phone rang. It was Francie.” Breathless words continue, “ She tells me there’s a new park bench across the street and insists we go and sit on it. Christen it.”

At first she resisted this adventure. There were excuses. The dinner, the six o’clock news- Francie persisted.

My mother sighs. “I told her, dinner could wait.”

I nod. “Good choice, Mom. Sometimes we need to lose the plan.”

My mother’s world is small. She plans each day around breakfast, lunch and dinner. She eagerly awaits the Friday paper, the daily news and me.

She explains how they ambled to the nearby park and sat on the wooden bench. “Two old girls,” she laughs. “Francie told me I needed a straw hat. When I told her I didn’t own one, she pulled a floral pop up umbrella from her bag.”

Mom acted the part, raised her hand above her head, lifted her hat and shook loose her fine grey hair. In that moment she was twenty-five. I glimpsed the shimmer in her eyes and felt the swish of hair.

She is beautiful.

My hands flutter and smooth the top of her head. She eases the hat into place. “Francie held the umbrella over my head,” she says. “I felt like royalty.” She pauses and raises one hand. Fingers lower the car’s visor.

“I’m looking for a mirror.”

I lift the cover to reveal one.

She gazes at her reflection. “Do you like it?”

“You look pretty, Mom.”

Sunlight streams through glass. She looks in the distance. Swiftly her fingers reach. She shuts the cover over the mirror and lifts the visor.

“We’ll do something for Mother’s Day,” I say.

“Nothing fancy, just take me for ice cream. That’s enough.”

Silence fills every bit of space. A silence so vast it reminds us of all we never said. A veil of crepe settled over memories, the years spent tip- toeing around the shards that filled up spaces. Somehow we managed to hold to one another. I told her, “You are worth so much more.” I vowed that she would never break again.

The car pulls to the curb and I watch as she walks the short path to the front door, see her turn the key in the lock and notice that she looks back to wave good- bye. This is her signature.

It is the hug I will not receive, the kiss on the cheek that is missing and the spoken words I will never hear.

I imagine my mother walking through the lobby and checking her mailbox. She stops at the elevator and pushes the button. As the door opens, she smiles.

Her finger touches the second floor light. She stands and absorbs the familiar creaks and groans of the pulleys that lift her higher.

At the second floor the elevator stops and the door clunks open. My mother exits and begins the short climb up the three stairs to her suite. Her veined hand grips the rail as she slowly places one foot ahead of the other. She hears the familiar sound of voices chattering down the hall. Laughter rings, a television booms. She inhales the spiciness of turmeric and smoke that seeps from beneath a door. On her head is perched the new straw hat. She smiles.

 

If I wait long enough my mother will appear in the apartment’s window and look down upon the street.

Our eyes meet and I see her, a beautiful woman wearing a straw crown.