The candles want to burn
who am I to hold them back?
There is something perfect
about fire, contained
a calming sense of order
as the tiny flame hovers
above liquefied wax
I feel my own sorrow
crackling like brittle wood
at fire, released
If I burn all the candles down,
every single one,
maybe it will release me
from clinging to dust and memories
the truth wants to be known, fulfilled
holding it back won’t stop time,
but it might drive me crazy
it might destroy me
I catch each thought between my palms–
a tiny fairy with damp, burdened wings.
When I dry them off, setting them free,
the deep quiet of my uncluttered mind
frightens me, echoing the stillness of a grave;
bottomless and mute.
It wants me to see it, needs to be seen.
A place of solace beckons me
through the uncomfortable dark
where more tears and pain await.
Oh, but I’m so tired, so very tired
of the impenetrable black.
I only want to close my eyes
and see you.
Are we the things we leave behind?
The faded jeans and coffee mugs,
and dark, silent phones.
Are we our data?
I don’t think so.
All this rational thought
is going nowhere,
and that’s a place I can explore.
Nowhere is the coiling and uncoiling of stars,
expanding and contracting,
like my grief.
Nowhere is the deck of a sinking ship
sliding below the surface of the water.
Nowhere is the space where souls drift.
Is that where you are;
Halfway to me and halfway gone?
I’m looking for a place that is no place
because you’re not here,
but nowhere’s wrong too.
Maybe you’re everywhere?
When I fall from consciousness,
the fading imprint of the day
is waiting behind my eyes
I peer into that space,
hungering for the emptiness,
imagining you, a hair’s breadth away
But I can never find you
though I search until sleep descends
unmooring me with a cascade
of nonlinear thought
a false promise of freedom
from the heavy boundaries of time
as my brain reshuffles,
playing games with space and memory
I know my spirit is widest then
my awareness spread eagle
my arms, gone, yet reaching
If you sit outside long enough
you notice that the trees change,
the creek of aging wood,
the lichen on gnarled branches
even in death, the trees offer refuge
countless perches within exposed branches
a high vantage point to observe
the neighborhood cats
with their fat bodies and languid eyes
The abundance of my backyard surprises me
the tenacity of growth, as if my tiny plot of land
is on the cusp of being consumed,
swallowed by the encroaching mountainside
with its wild dazzle of swaying pines
and the tangled vines that choke
the hickory and ash
I wonder at the strength of trees,
how the wood wants to reclaim it all
this lawn, this house, this feeble garden
it’s likely to succeed
Three more days until I greet the moon
There’s no telling what I’ll see.
The moon holds no meaning of its own.
I’m throwing my expectations
up at the sky, prepared to see the moon
through the lens of my own reality,
but I’m not comparing myself to the sun;
beautiful in the harsh, dazzling way of diamonds
and razor-cheeked models with hollow throats.
last year, the moon looked sharp and ominous
a sickle moon, ready to slice me in half
a cold moon, stealing the warmth from my skin
pulling the breath from my lungs,
in billowing clouds the color of bone.
I brushed the moving seasons with my fingers
feeling the light grow heavier
as the weight of autumn pressed closer
and the moon sat lower in the sky,
squat and round and brooding.
I have no lightness left,
the terrestrial prison around me
holds no fascination
I am old, at once,
tired of missing you
afraid of bearing this grief forever
afraid of the fast turning days
afraid of my slow, inevitable decay.
I envy the dead.
If our spirits are eternal
than why do we forget?
Why do we come back?
I’m locked here
as lonely as the cold moon.
No matter how tight our grip, sometimes
the world takes them
into a swirl of dark emptiness.
I hope that death is just the threshold
a wardrobe, an oak tree, platform 9 & 3/4
in a London train station.
Can she see me
as I grope and weep and rail at time?
watching from her place in eternity
maybe she’s laughing as I count the days
which are connected end to end, a circle
I feel her reaching out
I smell her
I know the weight of her spirit,
as familiar to me
as when her infant self
was warm and safe in my arms.
I only want to watch the birds
as they flock to the feeders:
finches, sparrows, chickadees…
dropping down like strange leaves,
stealing themselves against the chill,
keeping warm with puffed feathers,
shaking the snow from their backs,
defiant with the challenge of survival.
They seem impervious to tragedy
but they must know loss.
I see it in the way the mourning doves cluster,
beneath the hoppers, cooing, wary
I scattered the seed for them
so I can watch their round bodies
melt the surface of my frozen yard.
I’ve grown brittle, inflexible
The tension straining my solid core
Skewing the notion of myself
Mocking my denial
I wonder if I shatter
Will it be a relief?
Will my broken pieces shoot into space
meteors flying past the moon’s dark shadow,
Until they sink back through the atmosphere
Pulling me down
to burn on reentry
The treasure’s lost its color
The gold long ago turned brown
With years of dust, crusted over
Like thick salt
You can’t scrape it away
Rubbing with fixed determination
Looking for the wheat yellow gleam
Of once bright coins
Hoping it will bring you back
To a place when shattered resolve
Wasn’t a goal,
Giving in wasn’t a victory