Come With Me

He said1380708_10201495968313048_1733227439_n
come with me
and I did

Stepping into white slippers
flat, satin
giving him my hand to hold
not grip or pull
but hold

We’ve danced a long journey
towards the stars
under the smile of the moon
the breath of the planets
warming our hands
clasped together
comfortable as one

The familiarity of
my fingers wrapped in his
we move
our heartbeats
the music of life
resting for a moment
here or there
one taking the lead
now
and the other
then

And as the years greet us
with challenge or a spark
a loss or gain
we reach together
to bravely touch
the gift given

For we are one
one heart
one soul entwined
a smile
a sigh
we touch Infinity

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Author’s Note:

Oh, I’ve been very busy writing and collaborating on a Celtic Celebration in honor of Samhain and All Saints Day. So I’ve made no posts this week! Thank you for staying with me.

And to top it all off, my 35th anniversary is tomorrow. Yes. I am so very blessed. So I am reposting a poem I wrote a while back. Here’s to another 35!

Tay’s Wings

While her brother, the good son, the proper child, was studying arithmetic, she gently placed her wings by the kitchen door. She didn’t want them to get in the way. They never did, however. No one ever really noticed them. The others were too busy admiring Eric’s halo to notice Tay’s wings.

Tay loved this time of night after dinner, especially in mid-October when it was getting darker earlier. Eric was, as usual, self-absorbed. And Mother and Father were always absorbed with Eric.

So when the rain began and Mother pulled the drapes so the cold wouldn’t bother her precious son, Tay slipped down the hall to the kitchen, onto the enclosed back porch, and stepped into the wet autumn night.

She raised her face to the sky letting the rain fall across her face like tears. Only these tears weren’t the hot salty ones that carried grief from her soul to water the soil with the hope of growing something beautiful. No these cold tears rained down her face, cooling her fire. She could feel their journey down her neck and between her breasts stopping just short of her naval.

Tay walked towards the little white gate that led to the forest. When Eric was born, Mother insisted Father build a white picket fence so Eric wouldn’t wander into the forest behind their house. Father did everything Mother wanted. Tay decided it wasn’t because Father loved Mother. She knew that wasn’t true. Father spent too much time away from Mother to love her. Father did everything Mother demanded, not because of the money they would inherit someday when Grandmother finally passed, but Tay knew it had to be because the family name was to be passed on by Eric. Tay never understood why this was so important. But it was. And life in the household bowed to Eric.

The little gate to the white picket fence that was only high enough to keep out uninterested wildlife never interested Eric. He never left for the forest. As a matter of fact, he never went further than the back porch with its windows looking out over the green grass and dark forest beyond. He always sat in the same place staring, never moving. He would get his notebook and write equations for hours on end, occasionally looking out the windows.

However, the little gate always fascinated Tay. Rather, the forest beyond called her from the first time Mother set her in the grass and returned to the porch to sit with Eric. Tay learned quickly how to work the gate clasp.

The first time she got out, she was about two years old. She remembered hearing Mother call to her, but no one ever came to get her. Tay wandered for hours in the field between the house and the forest, afraid to venture into the dark.

Later, when Father returned home, Tay was retrieved and spanked for being a bad girl. It was then Tay decided she would someday leave for the forest.

But it wasn’t as big a deal as she thought it might be. Soon her parents were totally ignoring her and she was free to explore as far and as long as she wished. As the years passed she would bring trinkets and blankets and extra clothes to leave behind.

She found a perfect cove where she placed some books and a few snacks she kept in Tupperware bowls with lids so the animals couldn’t get into them. Leaves and ferns decorated her forest room. Animals would pass by as she read or recited poetry or painted. They would pause and she would welcome them and they would go on their way.

Tonight the rain was falling with a fury she didn’t understand. As she walked, she kept her face to the sky. She didn’t need to see the path. She knew the way by heart. The rain left a sheen flowing down her body. Her clothes became heavy, soaked with tears from the sky.

Tay knew there was going to be sadness soon, a deep sadness that would engulf her. She could feel it. But she wasn’t afraid. She knew she had a safe place to ride out the storm. Her cove would be almost free from tears falling from the grey autumn sky. She would wait and listen. She would know what to do. Something would tell her.

After she changed into dry clothes, she settled into the cove lighting a lantern she stole from the garden house. Father looked for it for weeks after she took it and Mother laughed at his forgetfulness. Mother was sure he had thrown it away or left it at some campground hoping for an excuse to get a new one.

Tay loved the lantern because it belonged to her Gramps. It was rusty, just like he was. But it gave beautiful light, just like he did. She missed him, especially on rainy nights like this one when he would make her hot chocolate and read her poems from Whitman and Dickinson and stories from the bible.

Tay was a bit cold and wrapped herself in one of the blankets. She was opening her book of Emily Dickinson poems in honor of her Gramps when she heard it.

First, two quick pops. A pause. Then one more.

It was unmistakable. Father practiced every week and she would hide in her cove with earplugs not to hear the crisp fire-cracker snaps of his pistol. He was an expert shot and he never missed.

 

 

 

 

Selenelion

The moon glowed red orangelunar-eclipse
and the sun rose above the horizon
both at the same time in the same sky
an eclipse and a sunrise not possible
in the same morning sky for my eyes
to see, but they were there, together
I guess nothing is impossible

I drown between the eclipsed moon
and rising sun, my breath is stilled
between tides that flow from one
to the other and back again
I cannot breathe, I wander in shadows
left behind, I search for your light
a way to find where I am going, what I am
I cannot see the path, feel your exhalation
your touch to assuage the rough edges
filed into my being

You are distant without sound, I cannot
hear your sweet voice, but like the red
orange moon and the rising sun
in the same sky, I guess nothing is
impossible, to find light in the undertow
I whirl in the depths with no hand to hold
I can and will find you

Click

He left without saying good-bye. The door clicked behind him and Anna’s eyes opened. The gentle click was like an alarm to her. Big slams never bothered her. Big slams were meant for show, someone wanting attention, making a statement. He didn’t do big slams. It was the almost imperceptible click that banged in her head. Then fell to the pit of her stomach to carry it with her through the week.

Anna slid out from under the covers. With a slight limp she padded to the kitchen in her satin slips-ons, mules her aunt used to call them. She made a cup of tea. It was always peppermint to soothe her stomach, give her a little pep, and fill her with good memories of her aunt’s summer garden.

As she sat at the table, a chill seeped between the cracks of the worn window sash and frame. It mixed with the steam rising from her cup to make a ghostly swirl in front of the blackness outside the window. Anna watched it twirl and twist, a ballerina on pointe, a bit off balance, spinning out of control, fading into nothing.

She took the last sip and lifted her eyes to look through the window. She could begin to make out the shape of the perfect maple across the street silhouetted in the morning glow. No leaves, just long branches reaching out to no one. Under the tree sat a bench facing another tree across the cobblestone walk, a path that led lovers through the park to quiet spots where secrets were made. This tree, only a bit smaller, an ash sat opposite the maple. Arms still reaching but this one not so perfectly shaped. A heavy snow one winter snapped her branches leaving the ash a bit lopsided.

There they were. Two trees. One tall and perfectly shaped, the other a bit broken. Two trees not side by side but separated by a path. No one would think them a pair, certainly not by shape or genus.

He gave Anna a drawing of the two trees. Part of the drawing was above ground, two trees growing in their separate worlds. The other part of the picture was below showing the roots of both trees. One stray root from each tree grew and twisted towards the other until the two met embracing one another, coming together without being seen. That’s what he named it, the drawing, Coming Together.

The memory of the click of the door rose up from the pit of her stomach, the click that happened each week when he left for home. It would come back up and want to bang around inside her head reminding Anna that that was all there was to embrace until next week when he would visit once again to draw.

Drawing was his passion and she gave him the room. He couldn’t do it on his path outside. It wasn’t allowed in his place where it was looked upon as frivolous, a waste of his time. But Anna knew it was what filled his soul, hers too. So she offered her room and herself. Also something seen as an unacceptable frivolity.

They would have tea. Earl Grey for him. He was really a coffee drinker, but she assured him tea would do the job. She would eventually introduce him to her herbal teas, but that would come later.

Anna would drink her own mix, a love potion of sorts. Only she never shared it with him. Rose hips, lavender, and rosemary made a bit of a bitter brew, but she liked the bite. That’s what love was all about. The bite. The sting.

When he finished drawing, she would make another cup for each of them and bring out a sweet, always something with chocolate. They would discuss philosophy. Not religion, she demanded. She wasn’t religious. Just like the Earl Grey, he started with philosophy to make her comfortable. He eventually planned on introducing her to religion. But that, too, would come later.

Then he would stand to leave and Anna would touch his hand. And he would stay until just before dawn when the click of the door would announce his departure, fall to the pit of her stomach. And tea would be steeped, much like Anna waiting for another week.

There Is No Need To Weep

Find wonder
in each breath inhaled
in every step paced

Take your hurt
your loneliness
put them in a carnival
glass sugar bowl on
the top shelf to crystallize
in summer’s swelter

Did you see a star
even for a second
through the clouds
just one
how it can spark
catch your eye
amidst all the frippery
vying for your attention

Leave your sadness
your pain on the mantle
under the painting of
a forgotten row boat waiting
on the deserted beach
go ahead and leave them there

Did you see that tiny little sprout
reaching up through
cracked asphalted earth
no matter that it is only a weed
it pushed through what seemed
an impossibility

Pick up your sorrow
carry it to the willow
under your bedroom window
you won’t forget where you put it
place it gently in the shade
your sorrow can rest there
undisturbed

Did you touch your hand
to your own palm
follow the lines
curl your fingers over
hold tightly
embrace

If you do you can feel it
the pulse of life within
if you follow that pulse
to its source you will find it
Wonder

You are never alone
there is no need to weep

Connor

She took one sip, or maybe it was two sips, before it dawned on her to look at the glass of warm Pepsi she picked up just seconds before.

It was a plastic tumbler, not glass. And it was stamped with pastel blue and green, pink and yellow kittens playing with fuzzy yarn balls. Long strings unraveled into a big knotty pile circling around the bottom of the glass.

She shook her head in disgust knowing it was meant to be cute. In her eyes it was sentimental tripe. All those little balls of fluffy fur rolling on their backs or laying on their sides balancing the rounds in their paws or batting them away.

But the ends all met in a big ratty pile at the bottom, just like her life. A big ratty pile of shredded yarn covered in drool.

“Well done.” Connor congratulated herself. “Well done, like a piece of tough beef, your life and your heart.”

Connor was born Constance.

She was Connie when she was young. By the time she was a senior in high school, she was tired of the way Connie sounded. Like some sweet thing from a cornfield in Kansas milking cows and baking bread all day long pining for her man to come home.

She tried using her middle name from her grandmothers, both of them. Florence was on her dad’s side, Julia on her mom’s. Neither fit.

She kept Constance for a short while after she told her parents she wasn’t going to college. They told her it was college or the road. She chose the road.

Her first stop was Grams. Julia let her stay the first summer while she made a plan. Constance was good at devising plans and carrying them out. The trouble was it never fit in with other people’s plans. She was always doing it at the wrong time or in the wrong place or for the wrong reason, in her parents’ eyes. Although that wasn’t a hard task to accomplish. Constance knew that Grams Julia would give her the space and time she needed to make a new plan.

It was the first Sunday at Julia’s Constance remembered as she rolled the kitty glass in her hand. Hot and muggy. It was after church and lunch with the neighbors. It was quiet. All the stores were closed. Most people were sitting on their porches “wasting time watching the flies” as Julia would say.

Constance stretched out on the couch looking up at the ceiling trying to connect the little star patterns sparkling in the afternoon sun. It was a new decorating fad her mother loved. White plaster with glitter in it rolled into the ceiling with a special kind of paint roller.

Constance’s parents took it upon themselves to update Grandma Julia’s house. They did that kind of thing. They always thought they knew what other people needed. They also covered the creaky wood floors with thick carpet so it would be warmer in the winter for Julia. They removed all the glass doorknobs and “updated” them with shiny “gold-tone” ones. Constance thought that her dad probably was able to get a good price for the glass knobs at his cubical in the Antique Mall, his weekend hobby. Julia agreed and they both laughed. She told Constance that she should deduct it from her son-in-law’s inheritance. They both laughed. But Julia never complained to them.

Later, after all the work was done and her parents were quite pleased with themselves, Julia let Constance in on a secret.

“You pick your battles.” It was something Constance immediately understood and never forgot.

Constance’s eyes were getting blurry from starring into the white while the ham and scalloped potatoes were being properly digested. As her lids started to shut down for a glorious afternoon nap, Julia slapped a book onto her stomach.

“Here. Make good use of your time. You’re only staying for the summer. I’m counting down.” And Grams Julia left the room.

Constance stared at the book slowly rising up and down on her stomach. This was not a battle she was going to fight.

Flannery O’Connor. A Book of Short Stories.

From that moment on, she was known as Connor.

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Author’s Note:

Today at sunday Afternoon Writers at A Church of the Holy Family we gathered together for a prompt that led us in many directions.

We used Take Ten for Writing by Bonnie Neubauer. The prompt had us choose a word we liked least from a list of paired words. Mine were:

plastic (glass)
cats (dogs)
Pepsi (Coke)
Jump Right in (Baby Steps)
well-done (rare)
carpet (wooden)

Then we choose a number from one to ten and used the story starter that fell at that number. Mine was: She took one sip, or maybe it was two sips, before…

Instead of writing for ten minutes, we write for thirty and shared.

I hope to convince the others to share their pieces here, too, one day! Just a nudge right now.