At Times ...

At Times …

I have, at times, a slight wheeze
in the back of my throat,
which, coming up unexpectedly
as if from nowhere, sounds just like
the plaintive miaow of my last cat –
my darling, my treasure –
a strange foundation
for loving memory, I must say,
yet no less affecting for that,
catching me quite like a sob….

Written in response to Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings #34: Foundation.


I am the deep subterranean ...

I am the deep subterranean ...  

I am the deep subterranean

Goddess of the Magenta Ray,

the glow in the musical dark

of unknown chords echoing

from hidden instruments.

A Lady of no name still known,

or not known yet, I come

to haunt your dreams as if

I were either enemy or lover —

perhaps they are the same.

But I am not the same as 

anything ever encountered

in the white-hot distance

of your furthest imaginings,

or the up-close immediate now.

What do you name me? Dread 

or longing? Beauty or sorrow? 

Misty lies or luminous truth?  

Useless to scream it into my kiss.

I swallow screams for dinner.

This mysterious being started speaking through me about two weeks ago, bit by bit, with days between the arrival of each verse and sometimes even between sections of verses. (Composing so slowly and intermittently is highly unusual for me.) Then Magaly's Weekly Scribblings #33 prompt at Poets and Storytellers United – to use a line of poetry by C. Sandlin: 'swallow screams for dinner' – seemed as if it belonged to this poem. And so it proved; it gave me my final seven lines! Thank you, Chrissa and Magaly.


Let Me Explain

Let Me Explain 

It was after many weeks
of solitude and silence,
staying indoors to deter
the spread of the virus; now
just beginning to go out
and only when I must.

My hair was long and wild,
needing a trim; my friend lives
close to the salon. ‘Come visit me,’ 
she said. ‘We’ll sit in the garden,
together but far enough apart.
No hugs, just tea and talk.’

I let myself in the side gate
to her yard, called her name
up the back steps. But she
had put her hip out, couldn’t 
come down. I climbed up 
instead, to her living room.

We blew kisses without breath,
mimed hugs while standing back. 
A quiet man, slight, white-haired,
waited for introduction.
I put my hands together
in prayer position and bowed.
He'd come to visit too.
We spaced ourselves 
in chairs around the room.
He asked, politely, about my rings: 
why those two, on those fingers?
What was I drawing to me?

I instinctively knew he was one  
I could tell the tales of those rings.
My friend and I agreed, our jewellery 
is never mere decoration. We spoke
some hours, of many magical things.
His few words were gentle, wise.

When I made ready to leave,
she asked could I take him home;
it was on my way. He’d walked
from over the other side of town
to come and see her. Normally 
she’d drive him back, but her hip....

I said I’d be happy. She gave me
a bag of greens from her garden.
He carried it to my car. The ride
was mostly quiet, peaceful. ‘Nice 
to meet you,’ I said, thinking,
‘I hope I meet you again.’

So that is how I finally entertained 
a possibility which various seers 
have been insisting on: There is
another man out there for me; this time 
a love not of passion but friendship.
(I most miss the mind-on-mind.)

Was that the one? I doubt it. I’m
not engaged enough to try to make
anything happen. But he was thoughtful,
kind, curious; didn’t even begin
to hog the conversation or pontificate.
A rare man. Perhaps there are more.

Written for Weekly Scribblings #32: I am explaining a few things, at Poets and Storytellers United.


Memories, like ghosts, appear at night

The cats prowl and purr – each 
uniquely loving, funny, proud.… 
Every man, too, who entered my life and left 
returns, with many details…. 
I smile and I weep.

Memories, like ghosts, appear at night.

My children – always the surest path
to joy and heartbreak – arrive at various ages. 
They are middle-aged: friends or strangers….
They are infants, running and laughing.… 
I weep, and I smile.

['On Joy and Sorrow'  Kahlil Gibran:  I say unto you, they are inseparable.]

Written for Weekly Scribblings #31: What Makes You Smile? at Poets and Storytellers United, using the 'elevensies' form where the title appears as the middle line (invented by Kit Kelen in conversation with Kerri Shying, who has used it extensively. See detailed notes here.).