An Absent Departure

   for my grandmother

I came to see you last evening
but you weren’t there.
The sun pouring through the window
spilled my shadow across the tile.
A white room

locked and empty.
I had wasted your last day
at a beach kitesurfers played
like cherubim glittering in a birdbath
the wind in their harp strings. All day
you must have rocked in pain’s cradle
looking out this window
waiting for a visitor

your feet hardly touching the floor.
Finally one came and took you
in a blue convertible
picking up your husband on the way
and drove among the pastures
green as spring

to a banquet hall where
faces stood and cheered
charged with love
you thought had been forgotten.
In our sorrow you triumphed
coasting past our shining smiles
through a plain back door
hinged like a hymnal.

I cannot follow you
to where we’ll meet again
only think of us as porcelain angels
immortally fragile
we protect in dark cabinets
until our hearts are steered
into letting them live.
They alight and circle
the old roost
until it diminishes
and make their own.

I thought your light I followed guided
when it was actually a destination –
a tonic chord poured through clouds
to lift me from the deepest furrows.
From the warmth of a dying giant’s
cradling hand

the life inside a dove’s egg stirs
the galaxies. You have moved between eternities
and I could never be more proud.

Featured art: “The Traveler” from the Birds of Light series by Gretchen K. Deahl.

Image used with permission from the artist.

The New Shoeshiner

I cut my teeth
on a pair of shoes
a blind man wears

knowing this makes failure
and success meaningless

blind his whole life he says
how he imagines they shine
through my cowardice
he must feel
I can’t tell

but even black
polished smooth enough
gives back light

he was told
he says and feels
the dull coins out

holds my hand
to place them in my palm

and walks away
along the dusty street

his silver cane
tapping before

each step

Featured art: Shoeshine – Mexico
Watercolor on paper, 14″ x 21″ by Thomas W Schaller.

Image used with permission from the artist.

after ‘Pade’s Star’

after Pade’s Star, by Jenny Mellings

Larger stars
the jealous sun
hides down the well

each cold cell in constant alarm
wringing the brain dull.
Through a window

split into triptych
inspiring poison pours
until the ears of our eyes
acquaint with our bones

and open into echoed loops
sparking fuses
tapping far and deep.
Our bored fingers memorize

exploding brick horizons
redestructing music from
tatters of nightmare’s dream.

Heaven in the moon’s dark pocket
roars a yawn and fidgets in a straight jacket
forgetting the colors it tasted
while we mold wavelengths
in static pandemonium

square meals
square quarters
the rhythms beneath
which time molts wings
and mountains melt.

Featured art Pade’s Star, by Jenny Mellings,
chalk, printing ink, oak gall ink and mica/pearl lustre on watercolor paper,
136 x 100.

Used with permission from the artist.