Poem Sixteen

 

Consequences

 

Sprinting through the street, my heart racing,

I spot the entrance. Hidden behind a wall of ivy,

the wooden door is embellished with brass scrollwork.

My hand shakes as I fit the aged skeleton key

into the lock and turn the handle. Slowly, the door creaks

open, revealing a strange reddish light emitting

from somewhere deep in the cavernous room.

I step inside and am instantly enveloped by a sickly-sweet

odor. My eyes water and my breath catches in my throat.

I know what I’ll find if I open the box sitting on the table,

but I can’t seem to help myself. Sweat trickles down my back

as I reach for the lid. The hand inside has decayed

to the point of being nearly unrecognizable.

I don’t even notice as tears begin cascading down my cheeks,

soaking into my shirt. I was too late. As the scene begins again,

I realize that I will always be too late.

Poem Fifteen

 

Bone-weary

 

So tired, can’t think,

must sleep, focus gone,

eyes scratchy, head floaty,

bed warm, pillow soft,

lights out, night night.

Poem Fourteen

 

Hats on Heads

 

A fancy fez or beautiful bowler.

A capricious cloche or fastidious fedora.

Whatever the topper, be it plain or extravagant,

hats keep our heads warm and sunburn free.

They dazzle the eye and shade our faces.

Whether large as a ten-gallon cowboy hat

or small as a feathered fascinator,

our caps help make us who we are.

Be they baseball, panama, or safari –

the tops of our heads will never be boring.

 

Hats off to the hats that keep our lives interesting.

Poem Thirteen

 

Shades of Thought

 

falling stars shoot across my vision as I fall headlong into the abyss

rising from the mist, the colors of my dreams vibrate through my mind

the only place I feel known yet knowing this feeling will never last

until the last thoughts of this time have passed away in endlessness

Poem Twelve

 

Blocked Ideas

 

When the words won’t come and the deadline is looming,

I just start writing. Whatever comes to mind, goes on the page.

It may not sound pretty or look polished, but it’s still progress.

And progress is important – especially when the well is dry.

Getting the creative juices flowing again is worth the agony

of staring at a blank page and feeling panic rise in my chest.

I know if I simply begin, something will happen. While the end

result might belong in the bin, I feel better for having accomplished

a degree of writing. Pen to paper is a beautiful and terrifying place to be.

Poem Eleven

 

Kālikā

 

She gives me strength when the world makes me weary

She lights the night when the stars are dim

When my eyes are unfocused, she gives me clarity

When my hands are shaking, she holds me steady

All the times I couldn’t breathe, her being filled my lungs

All the times my steps faltered, her spirit was my crutch

 

She is destroyer and creator; life-giver and death-bringer

Two sides of the same coin, chaos and order –

In all things she breeds balance, she is finite and ever growing

The extent of her affection pulsates in every beat of my heart

Poem Ten

 

Autumnal Shifts

 

When the days are ninety and the nights are fifty,

you know a change is coming. It’s that beautiful

time when summer warmth is mingling with autumn

colors; when pumpkins and sunflowers both vie

for attention. It’s officially fall, but summer is refusing

to let go. The best is knowing that Halloween

is just around the corner, bringing with it the cooler

winds of true autumn and the boots we all love to wear.

Knowing that comfy sweaters and leggings will be

everywhere in a few short weeks makes this sweet spot

all the more enjoyable for its fleeting, ephemeral nature.

Bring on the pumpkin spice and apple cider, fall is here.

Poem Nine

 

Night Terrors

 

Trapped in a body that refuses to move.

My breath is stolen. Sleep pulls me under,

again and again; time passes strangely –

an hour or ten minutes, it’s all the same.

Beating at the confines inside my mind.

Desperately I try to wake, to will my limbs

into action. I strain my muscles to no avail.

Feeling like my torture will never cease,

my leg twitches and the spell is broken.

 

Panting from the exertion, my forehead

gleams with a thin film of sweat.

My joints protest as I slowly unfurl

my arms, extending my legs inch by inch.

My back creaks its disapproval as I make

a Herculean effort to sit up. The last vestiges

of sleep cling to my body. The room feels

unreal, unstable as I finally stand.

 

Making my way forward, I head

for the kitchen and the cool water

that will drench my parched mouth

with sweet relief. I shake the last cobwebs

from my brain. Continuing on with my day,

I devote no thought to the terror I escaped

from or what lies in wait for the next time,

because there’s always a next time.

 

Poem Eight

 

Tookie

 

Dancing, bouncy birdie – you bring joy to our lives

with your exuberant personality. Crown up, wings spread,

bobbing along to your favorite song. Your brightness

shows through your yellow under feathers and the sunshine

you radiate when he picks you up. Snuggled up

against his chest like a puppy, your kissing sounds

can be heard from across the room. We’ve only had you

for a year, but you’ve become an integral part of the family.

 

Three dogs and two birds: a cuddly

alternative to the children

we haven’t been able to have.

Our hearts will always be fuller

for having you nestled in them.

Poem Seven

 

Locks

 

in the middle of my back

past my shoulder blades

resting on my bra strap

painted a faded copper

sometimes wavy

most times straight