where is he now? (for Anthony)

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where is he now
the gardener of souls?
his “good morning” silent,
cardinals wonder why
sun, looking for a reason
summer holding on,
flowers broken without his songs
the gardener of souls
where is he now?

 

When Mother Gets Angry

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When Mother gets angry, the children are not safe,

clinging to walls that collapse around them, crushing

childhood beneath her wrath.  She roars at us, and throws

our things about, for they mean nothing to Mother

when she is mad.  She’ll unleash torrents, and we will try

to hide, but Mother knows all the hiding places.

She will knock them down or flood them with her rage, until

we are gasping for air, begging Mother to forgive us.

And when she calms again, Mother is nearly silent.

She never apologizes, only watches us through cloudy eyes

as we try to pick up broken pieces of Mother’s fury.

We hold the children and shake, and try to explain, but

we can’t.  Haunted by the cruelty Mother has unleashed

on some, we whisper and hope, and glance up warily.

Do not make Mother angry.

 

 

The Girl in the Purple Dress (for June)

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Her name was June, but she left in May,

before the sunflowers could bloom and ask

for more days.  In the stone church, whispers

spoke of the claim: cancer, a brain tumor.

Stolen summer laid her cold, draped in flowers

taken in their bloom. They would die soon. 

I kept my head bowed, listened for June,

waited for the preaching, sobbing, and hymns to end.

In the front of the church, in a purple dress

with a black bow in her hair, June’s daughter sat;

I knew her well. She looked straight ahead and made

no sound, and that is why I kept my head down.

And when the cars were gone, and I was alone

I wept, and I wept to the church and through June.

The last months of her life, when the brain tumor

grasped and haunted her head, June had changed.

And her daughter, so many days, so many different

colored bows, would tell stories of the crazy things

her mom would do and stay. And it wasn’t June.

It wasn’t your Mom. I cry because we have lost

part of summer, but I weep for her girl in the purple dress,

and the June she remembered as she sat on those steps.

beneath the violet

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all along i’ve been not knowing

so i could see the violet in the sunset,

but i missed the moon rise and the

wishing star. i captured the violet

but lost the music of the wave break,

waft of salty air, and the hollow feel

of you, walking away, beneath the violet. 

The Sea Still Cries

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Listen, hear, I am but a gull whose feathers

raise against offshore winds, but the sea,

the sea sent me with words for you.

I waited by the shore break, passed

many days, tides, and angry rain, for the sea

spoke, called forth the sun. As I rode

his rolling surf, he sung of his love for you,

the furious storms that frightened you away.

He knew you trembled in your sleep, dreamt

of being swept away under his dark waves.

He quieted, and waited for your sun to return.

“Gull,” he cried, “She will come back. Tell her

not to go. Look upon my gentle calm.”

And I was part of the sea, and believed.

You sat with the sea all that day, felt, heard,

listened his song of calm, until the clouds

pulled across the sun, though he fought them,

they were angry, and dark.  The sea tried,

and tried to hold his calm but the dark

clouds and wind were joined, and the waves

swelled, and louder, crashed, higher and soon,

you were trembling again, and left. I was sorry.

And the sea still cries for you.