The Old Wall

 

The Old Wall
The wall around our family plot in the cemetery
is waist high and built from local stones.
The stones are weathered
and some are missing.
My great-grandfather’s great-grandfather
built the wall when the first grave was interred –
his wife and son, both of them dead in childbirth.
Grief built the wall.
Grief holds it there.
Covered in lichen and moss,
sometimes a few fallen leaves,
sometimes a small stone added to the top
to record a visit.
It wraps around the graves
holding them in its secure embrace.
The wall was there when I was born.
It will be there when I die.

Old stone wall with moss and lichen

Haibun: The Charity of Strangers

For Poets United – Charity.

Haibun: The Charity of Strangers
Several years ago I had to drive the long distance to Tennessee to bring my mother home. She had been staying with my aunt and my aunt could no longer take care of her. It was a hard lonely drive. I arrived and visited a few days with them and then I loaded mama and her things into the car and began to drive. She was immobile and in the throes of Alzheimer’s. I had her “rolling walker” in the car and when we made bathroom breaks I had to lift her into the transport chair and wheel her into the rest area. I then had to wheel her back to the car. I had to feed her and remind her to drink. I was frightened. I didn’t think I would be able to take care of her. We stopped halfway and spent the night in a Marriott. I was struggling to get her into the transport chair and a man who had just pulled in saw me. He smilled at us and said, “well little lady, looks like you need some help.” He reached into the car and gently lifted mama into the chair and said, “I’ll take her in for you.” I was so grateful and thanked him over and over. He told me how he had looked after his father in similar circumstances.

The next day I finally got mama ready to go and began wheeling her out to the car. A young black woman who told me she was a CNA saw me again struggling, got out of her to car to help me. She gave me some tips for lifting mama that would make it easier for me. Later that day. A teenage boy took over my wheeling mama to the restroom. At the car, a middle aged woman helped me get her back into the car. As we drove I pointed out the mountains, the changing color of leaves, and the small towns we passed along the way. That night I was getting mama ready for bed and she lid through my arms. She dropped. I tried to get her up but couldn’t. I went across the street to a neighbor who was also taking care of her mother. She immediately came and helped me get mama up off the floor and into bed. Until mama went into the skilled nursing facility in January, angels along the way helped me. Many days I was on my own and lived in fear I would drop her. But the fire department came or the rescue squad came and helped me. No charge. When she went into the nursing facility, there were loving people who took good care of mama and also helped me to deal with her dying.
seasons come and go –
leaves change color – but kindness
flourishes through all

Mama

Haibun: Gold Day

For Frank’s prompt on dVerse – heartbreak or frustration.  This is a rewriting and reworking of an original poem.  In Japan, Friday is often known as Gold Day.  this is about my lover who left to return to Japan so many years ago.

Gold Day
The afternoon you left was a golden roux of fading autumn sunlight, spicy oak leaves – bright yellow, still holding on to the tree, not yet ready to fall, and bitter salt tears – like the oak leaves – refusing to fall, refusing to join the earlier faded maple leaves on the lawn. Under the trees, quiet and still. I allow the knowledge of your leaving to permeate my being. I am still breathing. My heart is still beating. The sky is still ethereal blue with purest white autumn clouds wafting their way to the end of the horizon. Starlings lift from the telephone wires to follow the clouds. I realize, I will continue on my way – leaves will change color and fall, snow will cover the sepia winter landscape – cherry blossoms will bud, bloom, and fade. Trees will leaf in explosions of green, leaves will change color and fall. Seasons and things will pass. inside, my soul says “Oh!” I sit as the gold day ends.
early leaf burning –
its incense drifts to heaven –
autumn’s voice whispers.

 

 

1000 Miles Later

for Poets United Poetry Pantry

1000 Miles Later
Seventeen days 1,000 miles later
Talequah has dropped her dead calf.
Perhaps she is no longer sad and has
accepted the inevitability of death and life –
Perhaps she was where she wanted to bury
her dead calf – perhaps her heart said
Let go.
I picture the dead calf slowly sinking
to rest upon the bottom on the sand
asleep and at peace at last.
Talequah is healthy and leaping in the ocean.
The heart can only take so much grief
before it kills you
or sets you free.
We humans saw and wept with her.
Now perhaps she is telling us to move on,
to leap with joy, to wipe our tears.
I have been carrying my dead mother
for over a year.
The heart can only take so much grief
Before it kills you or sets you free.
I am sitting on my back porch
listening to the birds singing,
taking in the warmth of the sun,
watching the clouds dance overhead.
It is time.
It is time.
It is time.

onenews.com

Painted in Tones of Argent

For the weekly 55.  When I wrote this, my mother was dying. She has since died.

Painted in Tones of Argent
My backyard sleeps under
the full moon like a drowned Atlantis.
I sit on my back steps inhaling
the scents of honeysuckle and
a whiff of pot from my neighbors’-
A faint scent of petrichor:
the storm breaks
weeping on the trees.
My mother is dying.

A Year

A quadrille for Kim’s prompt using the word cycle.  What is a quadrille?  It is a poem of exactly 44 words using the prompted word.  The title is not included in the word count. Exacty a year ago today, my mother died.

A Year
The year cycles through its paces
Summer, fall, winter, spring.
A full year has passed since you died.
Today dawns as it did last year –
warm and sunny,
deceptive in its kindness.
I sit on the back porch
listening to birds singing your name.

mama as a baby

Haibun: Yuudachi

Today at Real Toads, I am doing the prompt for Thursday. I have given different Japanese words for rain – all of them seasonal. The Japanese have at least fifty words for rain. I have chosen yuudachi – sudden evening rain. I am asking people to choose one or several and write about the rain. If writing haibun I am asking for the classic form which is non-fiction and if writing haiku, the classic form which uses a seasonal word.

Haibun: Yuudachi
It was a long hot dry summer. Plants withered, animals died. I added another birdbath to the one already in use. Every day squirrels would line the thing, sipping and vying for places to drink. Several shallow birdbaths watered bunnies and the occasional cat or dog. The koi pond was down a foot, the koi clustered at the deep end in the shadow of plants. The night after you left, I sat on the back porch listening to the cicadas doing their raspy singing. I sniffed petrichor and suddenly rain began to pour down – a loud roar pounding plants into the ground, drumming on the roofs, and washing trash down the street gutters. The koi swam to the surface of the pond opening their mouths acting as if they were eating the drops of rain. I stood holding on the porch post and getting thoroughly soaked. I whispered – yuudachi, sudden evening rain. After the heat of the day the rain was cold. I wondered if it was raining where you were.  I bowed my head and wept hot tears of sorrow.

long hot dry summer –
cicadas cease their songs –
rain mutes all sound

 

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