Everything

You may recall

in years to come

this feeling, this place –

home, yes,

(we all think of home)

but I mean home right now,

today;

at some vague, future time

something like these sweet smells,

brandy-soaked fruit (Christmas cakes)

and the lingering memory of breakfast’s bacon,

might bring you back to now,

you might hear the comforting melancholy

of winter jazz playing quietly on a radio,

and recall the way the winter sun infused everything

as it slanted through a filter of snow-clouds and bare branches,

you might feel the deep warmth of home,

of us, here, together.

*

Oh, right now

I know it’s just another day

a regular, lazy Sunday

a day of idle movies

of someone somewhere cooking –

peripheral,

hardly worth noting.

*

But if ever you ask me then

whether I remember now,

I will smile slightly and say

I remember, and

it was everything.

You (I will sit with myself)

Do you still indulge your memories
explore thoughts twisting in the breeze
follow their leads, unravel the knots
allow yourself to dream
those old dreams of revolution?
They are hidden now
tucked between basement dust
and damp walls;
let me sift them from
the words you once wrote,
we’ll pretend the ink’s still wet
and read them till the dawn breaks
again over the crumbling city.

 

Inspired by a poem that was part of but not the actual prompt from NaPoWriMo day 11, James Wright’s Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota. What a title!

Unspoken 

Gird the heart and dull the tongue
so these vivid feelings we breathe –
like living though memories awakened –
don’t spurn hurtful words
delivered without thinking
driven by grief and bittersweet heart-strokes
(loss and love and, after all, just life)
and the uneven terrain of our perceptions.
Thoughts of places now disappeared
of people no longer here (seen but in dreams)
these memories haunt us when we gather,
like ribbons, their voices, faces, unfurl
and curl into the spaces between us
we look through them to find each other
reach through them when we try
to clasp hands, to seek familial warmth;
they are with us and yet far
we never cease to conjure them into our midst.

This life feels precarious
but precious
as we grasp each other
afraid to let go
yet ready to run
from the emotions
that ebb and flow and
crash each time
upon our souls.

Train tracks covered in lottery tickets

I can’t work out whether we checked the lottery ticket on the same day the car got stuck on the train tracks or if these are two stories I’ve stuck together with the glue of memory.

It wasn’t far from the house, the pharmacy, but we drove anyway. You had to pick up a prescription but, more importantly, you had the lottery ticket you wanted to check. For some reason I stayed in the car while you went in. I remember that because I can still see the look on your face from across the parking lot as you walked out the door. You had won – $75 I think it was –  but it wasn’t the amount, it was the winning itself you said. You were as giddy as a little boy, your eyebrows raised, your blue eyes twinkling, face flushed.

I don’t know if it was then that we drove down the street that crosses the train tracks, if it was that day that the car stopped on the tracks. Maybe it doesn’t matter. In my mind it is the same day. In my mind, it isn’t 30 years ago.

It must not have been long that we sat there, though moments like that always feel like they stretch out into forever. You got the car running – I don’t even know now whether there was ever any danger of a train coming. We must have gone home then, down the fabled streets of my mother’s youth, wending our way through her stories, walking through the storybook of her life. I used to love hearing those stories, driving those roads.

We must have gone home and had something to eat – it would have been bacon sandwiches for lunch or chips (plain) if it was happy hour. Then you would have relaxed into your chair to listen to music, or gone out to the back 40 or the garage, and I might have played inside at your feet or, if you were outside, near you.

Just another day, another day that floats back to me, triggered by unexpected forces, bringing me back to you in the only place we can meet now, in my imperfect, treasured memories.

Bittersweet

Wagon-red memories of childhood trundle down ore-rich earthen paths, disappearing in clouds of what was, leaving wisps of dreams and clips of songs to fade on the summer wind.

I could still be that girl in the wagon, lemonade sparkling in sunlight.