The light

mid-march, the light

a feverish wound
inside my eyes

burning the end
of a story
I took all winter to write

Spring in Goscieradz: Leon Wyczolkowski

A connection between soles

All the inversions: friday night and I set a
memory on a skin of spilt beer, feet touching
feet, head two body lengths away, unseen,

suddenly truth is a connection between soles.
Every morning for twenty years, mama took
three buses to work. The radius of childhood,

measured by wheel on wheel on a clouded film
of yesterday’s rain. Which wheel is real when
we talk of the past? Later, putting me to sleep,

the night reflected in her tears: two formless
skies collapsing into one. A false singularity.
Darkness, a perfect mirror of darkness.

 

VV-Feb-2020-Omid-Armin

Image by Omid Armin (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 07, Chapter 4)

 

Finally sent something out this year and am glad it found a home. Visual Verse has great picture prompts and I love ekphrastic poetry but it also pulls together a gorgeous contributor page ! Just realized I’ve had 14 poems published there!

A hoarse ripple

Sometimes a word or two would
break the surface, a hoarse ripple,
as if a frog had sighed in a dream
or a fish had stretched and yawned
and then the water would straighten
its creases, the silence separating
us, sometimes, fusing our bodies into
one, the muzzled light opening and
closing wounds like a flautist on
a distant stage. There wasn’t that
much left to say. Not that night. Not
in that place. Not with words, anyway.

mountain-lake-1024x829
Mountain Lake: Salvador Dali, 1938

Collecting blossoms

I pluck flowers from that painting every time
emptiness shapes itself into a room, into a bed,

into a voice. I hide them where you cannot see –
at the bottom of my teacup, on that window

sill where the light can’t reach even at noon, on
my shadow that never falls in this unerring

darkness, in my closed fist. Come very close,
closer, can you see a petal plotting an escape?

It has been trying for thirteen years now. And
still I pick flowers from that inexhaustible tree. It

smiles at me even as I reach for it, as if we are
sisters, dressed alike for the harvest festival. I tell

her I am collecting blossoms for my grave. She
smiles wider. Bends lower. Is this kindness or

chicanery? I dream that every time the emptiness
shapes itself into your body, another flower blooms.

1024px-Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Almond_blossom_-_Google_Art_Project

Almond Blossoms- Vincent Van Gogh

Used to be easier

There must be many gods up there, yours, mine, the god
of unbelievers. Used to be easier. All people wanted was

to be safe from life, from death, from gods. Now infinite
prayers litter the space between lips and stars. But

prayers are not gods. They need feathers and hollow
bones and ways to breathe. And ways to survive till they

find the right god. The skies are crowded like the
vegetable market on Sunday morning. We slithered and

jostled through curses and shoulders and sweat to find
the best mangoes. It was the lunar new year. We prayed

for twelve months of happiness. We got two. That prayer
must have broken a wing or run out of air or died in a

stampede of buoyant yearnings. Maybe you were saying
something that day. Maybe I couldn’t hear in the din.

Even gods can’t hear in the Sunday market with every
single person crying out for something. Used to be easier.

VV-March-2019-1

 

Image by NASA (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 06, Chapter 5)

As large as a truth

we build bigger
so we can feel smaller –
somehow the small are not accountable
for their smallness, benevolence
is the burden of the unsmall – our gods
are big, straddling skies and
holding up universes,
anything as large as a truth
is more than we are
obliged to bear: lies, on the
other hand, are weightless.

plazawieza_sc

The Temple by Tomasz Zaczeniuk
Used with permission.  Instagram fotowizjer

 

Written for a picture prompt at Real Toads that requires a 55 word response.

Corollary

There are mornings, more mornings
now, when I try to separate love from
myself. I describe my face to the silence
as a stranger would, to another, after
a brief encounter. I describe my love
to the mirror as a bird would explain
light to another, in the dark. I describe
our time together as a fish would
talk of wetness to another, not knowing.
Your fingers comb through the lines,
trying to distinguish reason from craft.
But a poem is only a corollary. A
consequence that has subsumed its
cause. The glass in our window is
neither inside nor out. The sky becomes
a sky only when we look up. You
describe distance to me as a road would
to another, as a beginning or ending.

512px-Edvard_Munch_-_The_Kiss_-_Google_Art_Project
The Kiss, by Edvard Munch (Norway) 1897.

 

Published today in The Ekphrastic Review. Many thanks to the editor, Lorette C. Luzajic

 

Afterwards

Afterwards is the number of steps it took to
get home, afterwards is an empty home.
Afterwards is washing that has to be brought
in before sunset, dinner that has to be
cooked, bills that have to be paid, afterwards
is hearing the word ‘obituary’ as if for the
first time and wondering why words like
it – estuary and sanctuary – are about peaceful
places. Afterwards is falling asleep on the
couch because the room you slept in for 27
years is suddenly too cold, the TV still on
because silence is no longer a choice. Afterwards
is breaking the present into tolerable pain and
denial, recasting the past into unrelated
memories and denial, framing tomorrow into
impossibilities and denial. Afterwards is a
phone call you cannot make, a god you cannot
forsake. Afterwards is every moment you spend
forgetting that the blood on the officer’s uniform
came from a body you can no longer hold.

Norbu-Gyachung

 

 

Anticlockwise

Isn’t it strange how things unravel anticlockwise in the
night, as if thoughts, blindfolded, spiral homeward into

the past? In the morning, even in the half-glow of dawn,
you can float away from yourself, changing their direction,

the end of the trembling dark clutched tight in your hand,
deliberately unwinding pain through a labyrinth of forced

possibilities. Time, then, is just a cruel trick of the light.
Or maybe, love is. I remember lying on our backs on the

sand, the sky close, beginning at the end of our skin,
stars finding the hollows under our nails, clouds moving

in dextral whorls around a proximate moon. Or maybe we
were just looking at it wrong. Maybe it was day. Maybe it

was us whirling and there was one nebulous cloud in the
centre blurring the sun. Maybe we weren’t next to each

other, a deception of trajectory and distance and touch,
the twisted path a long way to reach an inevitable end.

 

VisVerse

Image by Anthony Jon Tyson (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 05, Chapter 10)

A Crow That Became A Line

It’s supposed to be a book, a story, but I wish I could start with
a poem instead, there’s something about leaving things half

said, something about a handful of metaphors and line breaks,
that wear their brevity proudly, there aren’t that many words

in the beginning anyway, just an uncertain awkwardness that
stumbles over ellipses, saying little, saying a little. A verse about

a day that wasn’t supposed to be, but was, about a time that
wasn’t meant to mean anything, but did, about the big things

unremembered, about tiny details that stay in the empty frame
like disconnected dots. There was a crow outside the window that

day, watching, as birds aren’t expected to, but do, like a sadness,
an inadvertent new moon, a crow that became a line in the sky,

in the beginning anyway when there were no words. With a poem, I
can stop here. You never speak. The poem becomes the whole story.

 

crow
Toril Fisher Fine Art

 

For the ekphrastic prompt at Real Toads. Also for Poets United Pantry.