The Back to School Aisle in the Grocery Store

back toschoolSliding from the fancy roadster with the light-colored leather seats, I  dash into the shop, careless of the time of day and season of the year.

Like a panther lurking,  feelings gnaw, snap sharply with strong teeth, the pain spreads quickly from my heart  to each unsuspecting nerve within my body.

I enjoy again your tiny hand, so gentle, soft and trusting within mine;  fingernails, not quite clean, ice cream stains still tracing  near happiness.

Your lively eyes, wide with wonder, perceive the judgment  you must make tonight for times of  rain and snow, through golden days of autumn til the springtime gives you release again to summer.

Which color shall you choose, the rainbow of spring or the child’s bold primary colors? No prince or princess engages you. But shall you choose some other player to consort with  at meals?  Or, shall some mix or shape, and stain and form, instead,  foster your gentle and precocious imaginings?

With intensity,  you deliberate; like a diplomat  commencing  peace negotiations.  I honor your  bravery and intelligence:  the belief, still living, in a perfect choice.

Again,  the softness of  your hand disarms me.  More  exquisite, smooth and tender  in my memory, no doubt, than ever truly known. And the sweetness of your scent, unwashed after a full day of summer play: chlorine and french fries, sand and dirt,  sweat and river water.  Lingering, the smell of morning toothpaste and jelly from the sandwich that I made; your friends at play, their evening soap, and your brother’s brand new sneakers. And the dog.  All of you trotting just behind her  late this afternoon.

Rather,  a physical blow to the powerful tear of memory.

(Is this just the in-between time?  The days when you have gone into the world and we are all adventuring? Will other days inhabit time with other life and visions?)

Satisfaction and fulfilment.  Clarity: my existence has a meaning when your existence is such perfection.  Perhaps, not truly generosity. Perhaps only covetous love celebrates dispensing someone else’s need…

Tears,behind the eyes, closed throat perceive the absence of the little hand.

Clatter of a shopping cart and the moment fades.

The store chills.  Evening recedes.  I  purchase and resume my solitary journey home.

 

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Missing You

Sometimes, when deer and rabbit, raccoon and woodchuck recede within the generous mantilla of summer, and warbler and cicada celebrate the close of another day, the light that falls from that searing scarlet scalds my heart with the sadness of missing you, who first presented this array.

Scorch of fire as puckered lips graze the coffin; seething tears trickling onto steel; staggering, as strains of “Danny Boy” levitate above you (a tune you did not call an Irish air).

In the end, too true:  arid canon of cult, not creed, coheres the torpid keeners corroding your wonder.

Eyes reach no focus, colors run together; the  stranger  with fraternal blood, too cold, or suffocated in the sun,  speaks. That Holy Man,  the turnkey, postures with your offspring jailers; swelter, perspire, steadfast mien of heartbreak, every one.

The burned flesh on my heart, throbs and blisters. Pain pulsates with each steady beat. We love, we learn, we are often less than worthy.  The arabesque we make, so rarely fine.

In the sun soaked stillness of a summer evening, so many poses, so many words remain to speak.     2013-10-05 07.19.58

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  

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To Welcome a New Life

Just after midsummer, a new baby will be born.

Love penetrates the heart  before the eye discovers. Already,unknowing, I have selected  a fine, wide cloth, now waiting adornments. The tapestry as yet unknown.

Joy, anticipating him….

I cherish his velvet skin, delicious, pure for so brief a time. The tiny fist so tightly clenched inspires the effort of living.  His baby smell, effervesced, but still sublimely sweet, exhilarates.

Hair matted against his face, heat of day too much;  his sweat, as all his little life,  extreme.

Whispers of wind, (or call of birds? ) rattle giggles from him.  His busy, boundless journey remains singular, for a time.

He and I do not share blood, or cells or chromosomes.

But he is kindred, still.

Will the unspawned babes of my own young grow up with him,  grasping vibrant  mantle of childhood in accord?   Will attic rooms reverberate each season once again, snickers, shrieks recalling silly scenes of the holiday table? Will summer tents contain their giggles and their shouts when scary stories are unleashed in the darkened wood? Will they  join with him, the oldest one,  when they  denounce the demons of the life they find themselves confronting?

Or will this baby merely be, first, the infant,then, the child, and finally, the man  I love dearly from afar, whom I know not well enough to fill my life?

Time holds the answer and it will be one way or other other.

Joy.  Expectancy.

Now I apprehend his weight, his  warmth, the soft pattern of his breathing.

The reminder, once again, that we can be our best selves, sometimes, when we allow ourselves to simply live.

 

   

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2013-10-02 05.08.42

Lost things..

Just last week I fretted for an hour about a favorite earring I had selected in the morning but discovered in the evening I had lost. Frustration bedeviled my moods. Until I walked into a park and saw a little girl. She was about two or three years old, sable hair, healthy, baby fine.  Her sound returned me to sweet hours in a cloistered tent upon a wooden beach.  Her laughter was the restless air and the cooling mountain stream along the rocky trail.  Her doting parents will never  find the words to show the love and joy the three of them were feeling in that accidentally observed moment, no matter if a telephone recorded every frame. The delicacy of loving bliss cannot be digitized, uploaded. It comes and goes as does the sunlight which etched softness on my heart.

 

   

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Remembrance

20140531_074719Cornflowers sketched on porcelain  reminded me of you that humid afternoon. Anticipating our conversations, the stuffy Philadelphia store, smelling of mustard, onions and incense, too crowded with overpriced goods  from “exotic” lands where poor artists  turned their craft into a trade to feed the village from dollars spent by the good-hearted and  comfortable consumer who likely will never see the suffering, oppressed me .

And more so as I envisioned the early morning clouds rising, your sparkling lake, calls of water fowl, whispered conversation,  strong, strong coffee in that porcelain cup, and you, your reassuring friendship stronger still  than coffee and with no bitterness in all the many decades. Cornflowers,growing freely in your field, is so like your heart, brave, persistent, secluded; any reference to your body then blissfully unknown.

And after. I have never known a love to grow so strong in the face of certain ending.  I have never known a love to grow stronger still each day as I discover new places in my heart I kept you with me.  It is true, each day I find a piece of me which you alone allowed  power to discover; and finding that, each day I feel again how much it is that I have lost since the morning I was told that you had gone.

The cornflower sketched on porcelain greeted me the first time there, the late spring light and all the glories of that place now seeming somehow truly an afterthought, a place for children’s play apart from intent, adult attention, a place for animals to run, but not, any longer, no more, the unifier, the center stage.  Could it be that, without your love, the magnificence and splendour, the healing power we, each, could find in nature diminished itself in size and power.  No god were you.  One bears the stain of your stubbornness and another still grieves the consequences of your full autonomy.  Love that is rich  and generous is god-like enough for me. Life changing.

It was one of the few you loathed, but I suppose, it could have been another.  Carelessly, he cast the cornflowers and porcelain upon the stone. My eyelids burned.  My throat felt there was a fire.  My brain searched and searched for meaning that this late gift had been destroyed.

I sought solace again in nature.  Your empty chair in the shadow of the sun reproves me, and I walk on.  The waters greet me so much sooner than they would have done before, the wide grand yard seems eaten up by lake.  I close my eyes, steady breathing to the sound of small waves that are arriving. I again regard  clear, clear cold northern waters, and turn away. The house appears unchanged.

Inside, he sits venturing a life without you.  His face, bereft, conveys such sorrow, a fragment of what he feels. I love him more than ever. There was that time and now there is another.  We will hold this sorrow the remainder of our days.

There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have been long extinct.  There are people whose brilliance continues to light this world even though they are no longer among the living.  These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark.  They light the way for humankind.

Hannah Senesh

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