Mar 17

The railroad

I followed the railroad home

with the wind and the earth beneath me and
the gilded stars dotted in the opaque sea
above, stars of pearl beads scattered 
across the floor, tied together 
with Mama’s old broken 
necklaces like starling’s eyes staring 
back at
me.

I followed the railroad home
with the stirring sea on my right and 
the faltering bits of city peeking through the
strawberry hills to my left, as the rain 
melted city lights into a watercolor
and soft dreams that 
came and
went

like the dream I had with the eight-year-old girl 
on the other end of the railroad, for a home not 
haunted by the everlasting smell of dead 
cigarettes and vodka, no longer having to play hide
and seek in the closet or asking, 
can I sleep over tonight again?
to her best friend

like the dream I had with the Ukrainian boy
Nov 14
poem challenge: Urgency

Mama

When I was 6 years old,
Mama and Pa took me to the lake
just four miles away from 
our home.

We’d drive up a tiny hillside
with the windows down,
the air sweet,
and we’d park near the golden pin oak
on the very edge 
of town.

Mama on my right, Pa on my left,
hand in hand,
we’d hike up a narrow dirt path
as if only meant for wild rabbits and deer,
zinnias and rosemary abloom,
fleeting explosions of color 
dancing by.

At the end of the path, through 
the cluster of horsetails and ferns
there was a lake –
a lake of glass.

It was where all the herons and wild swans lived,
where fireworks of pink salmon danced to the song of the wind
like a million ballet slippers,
all beneath the surface of the delicate glass.

Mama picked me wild roses
and Pa would collect rocks for me,
each pebble smooth in my palms like sunken teardrops
Oct 24

Blackbird

yesterday, I saw a blackbird die

I saw its eyes, 
veiled by a thin sheet of frost
unstirring 
beneath white satin curtains
like the ones we hid behind one summer afternoon
to feel the soft folds of silk
against our skin.

I saw its beak,
slightly ajar
amber bleeding from the sides of its jaw
like the sugary sap
that we would have gathered 
together
when winter whispered her first breath
to fallen autumn leaves.

I saw its nape,
throat shattering 
into a million stars
like the night you told me
that you loved wild roses 
and seahorses,
and all the stars listened
beside us.

yesterday,
I saw a blackbird die.
but I did not weep
because it 
died 
too beautifully
and weeping is only for
tragedies.

today, 
I stand by the vermillion honeysuckle
and snakeflowers
that mark his coffin,
Jul 27
poem challenge: Love Poem

Goldfinch

Yesterday,
a goldfinch on my heart fell in love

it fell in love 
with a stranger
in the grocery store
when he offered to help me
pick out some apples
and a batch of cinnamon 
cookies

it fell in love 
with the way he complained about the prices
and the way he talked
about honeycrisp and fuji apples
and the way he explained how cinnamon 
was made

it fell in love 
with how he could make
the most boring subjects sound interesting
and how each word that came out of his mouth
ignited a tiny flame in my heart
healing the past wounds
that I’ve hidden inside 
for too long

it fell in love 
with how his hands gestured in the air
and his imperfect smile
and the way his eyes
seemed to sink into mine
as we momentarily 
locked gazes

to him it was just another careless glance
but to me
Jul 23

At the edge of the world

I sat at the edge of the world
my legs swaying in the air
my arms hugging my chest
my eyes watching wild ferns  rustle
my breath warm

I sat at the edge of the world
looking
for
the six year old me
in smooth round pebbles
like silvery tears
that I would have collected
if the six year old me were here now

looking for the six year old me
in frost-glazed holly
hanging on pine branches
like the smell of Christmas Eve
that I would have picked
if the six year old me were here now

looking for the six year old me
in wisps of clouds glowing
in sunset gold
like crystalline glass
that I would have pretended were alive
if the six year old me were here now

looking for the six year old me
in golden  treetops
showered with sunlight
and wonder
that I would have climbed
and called out to the world
Jul 22

Night in Paris

Jul 20
poem challenge: Freedom

forget me

I lied down on the dampened earth
beneath the moonless sky.
shadows of invisible things
pervaded the songless night

I stared into the empty air
counting forgotten stars,
but to me they burned like crimson fire
and a million broken hearts

I felt the touch of forget-me-nots
as petals rippled in the wind,
forming an ocean of seafoam blue
soft flutters against my skin

I clutched a blackbird to my chest
but it flapped and quavered and cried.
“It’s okay,” a voice whispered in me,
“I’ll hold you close and tight.”

The blackbird said nothing to me
but we both understood and knew,
so we let silence hold our bond
the blackbird stopped struggling too

And just when I seemed to drift away
into a land of the blackbird’s home,
a streak gashed across the sky
and white blood flowed like veins –

a shooting star, a shooting star!