the rain has put me in a mood

July Rain

The rain has put me in a mood;
the kitchen is clean
and there are fresh sheets on the bed;
the dog has had a walk
between sprinkles
and down pours;

I have written three letters
and raised the red flag on the mailbox;

I thought about calling
and thought about writing
and thought about shouting
your name;

But you left,
now a long time ago;
a year passed and ashes, ashes
we all fell down.

Like raindrops
and teardrops
and late summer days
into fall.

Summers Ebb

dove

The sharp retort of the jays cries
strike the air,
his grief too much for the cedars to bear.
What greater woe is there
than summers ebb?

Yellowing leaves, spent and melancholy,
rain down
as though weeping,
for their passing will soon be forgotten
in winters bare and spare air.

The elegies of wing and wind-
the sighing trees sorrow
in the mourning doves song
of summers passing.

*revision*

true story

a man died.
a man I never met
though heard about through the family vine.

their love song, something from a dime store novel,
but true.

true love, love at first sight, love that changes things
and they were devoted for five years.
she, his great love

and now he is dead
of a sudden illness
or maybe an old deep sickness that he would have rather
kept hidden
for a decade or two longer.

I am sad for them both
but glad to know their love story
burning bright in the retelling,
enough, I hope,
to keep her warm.

at the salon

Today
when I sat in the chair at the salon
to get my hair cut,
my mother sat in the chair with me
and looked at me in the mirror

And I smiled at her.

And as I sat in the pedicure chair
with water swirling around my feet,
she was not there
but her toes were
even though she could never bear
anyone touching her feet.
And I told the pedicurist
how all her grandchildren
have her toes-
Rose toes.

And I smiled.

bar ditches (Palm Sunday)

spring ridge

Driving along the ridge,
Bright sun in a cold sky,
The bar ditch is filled with the first blush of spring.
Effervescent purple henbit covers the ground,
Weeds of childrens delight,
First bouquets of the season.

When my nieces were babes,
These weeds were their favorite flower until their father
Mowed the yard,
Decimating their wild flower garden and bringing bereft tears.

Did my grandfather tell me the story of why we call the ditches
Along the roadside ‘bar ditches’?
The dirt was borrowed ‘bar-red’
To raise the road, flattened for the wagons then model Ts
To travel above the fields.

Memory sometimes obscures the truth.

I remember that my father died on Palm Sunday,
Though it is not the truth.
But that is the memory I keep.
And it is Palm Sunday once again,
Not the date of his leave taking
But still the day I grieve.

And it is the first day of spring,
The day I remember my nieces’ grief
Over the heaped green weeds across their yard.

On this day, memory, unreliable and exact,
Borrows the joy before the grief…

Its the first of spring and all the birds sing
And little children palm frond process
Waving welcome the King.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

(revised 2018)

***This is a poem written a few years ago and revised last year. In it are the memories of my grandfathers and my dad. And, on this Palm Sunday, I also remember my Mom and my brother, Frank, the father that mowed the weeds. I miss them all. So very much.

rend not

Unconsciously, I think my husband knows its Ash Wednesday,
the beginning of Lent.
He is busy arranging things on the table top
and the smell of bleach cleaner is coming from the bathroom
where he has sprayed down the shower stall.

I need to dust, our prescribed arrangement of household chores,
he vacuums, I dust.
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, I sing song to myself
as I look for the Murphy’s Oil Soap.

I tear an old towel into pieces-
Rend not your clothing, but your heart, the prophet tells us.
My heart has had enough rending, thank you very much, and
I think it is high time to darn the pieces together again.

So this is my Ash Wednesday prayer, this beginning of Lent,
that my heart be stitched back into place, that
its brokenness is plastered over and smoothed.
That the grief of the past long years be no longer bright flames
but ash and dust,
ashes to ashes,
dust to dust.

Joel 2:12-13 Ash Wednesday 2019

in your trembling hands

October evening 2

oh! how full of love
is the world-
our minds sometimes won’t let it just be
quiet and rested
in that knowledge.

But oh yes! that love-
even in the disquiet of our times
even in the anger and hate
and disloyalty, even
in the sadness and grief-
be sure
that that Love is there.

and if you can be very still
for just a moment
you can sense it
and hold it in your trembling hands.

hold it, even tear soaked and weak,
hold it there in
your trembling hands.