MY SOUL REPLIES
I wait for you to notice that I’m here—
The color that returns after the rain,
The lilac-scented air, the baby’s laugh,
The melody you hear when lost in prayer.
I wait for you to notice, but your fear
That you are all alone is all you feel.
My gentle touch you brush away. No signs
Are strong enough to prove to you I care.
I wait for you to notice that this pain
Does not belong to you and you alone.
Together we can heal your wounded heart.
I’ll safely keep the secrets that you share.
I wait for you to notice, but it’s clear
You don’t believe my love. I wait in vain.
the wild and the walls
bark falls from the maple, twigs and leaves,
casualties of high-speed squirrels running
rings around rings, plotting new bulb raids
when the coast is clear. ever daring,
never daunted, while woodpeckers drill
for snacks, running errands upside-down,
watching the world. hornets in the eaves,
new neighbors nesting. no one caring.
coexisting. we watch from dusty
windows, pollen pooling, so afraid.
all inside out, forgetting our place
is there. tell the spiders no scaring
allowed. if one fervent mouse believes,
how many more will join the crusade?
A PRAYER TO MY SOUL
Sing me star songs and lullabies,
Old melodies I can’t recall.
You know the tunes; I knew the words.
Sing louder while I hum along.
Remind me of the moonlit skies
That cradled me when I was young.
You wrapped me in a golden light,
So I would know where I belong.
But light fades, and I trip and fall
Through timeless dreams. I wake alone.
Come find me! I have lost my way;
I’ve forgotten how to sing my song.
Please guide me, help me recognize
The path I chose when I was small.
I’VE TRIED TO RUN AWAY
I left god in a Maryland parking lot
Dancing with my drunk neighbor. No looking back.
I doubt they noticed I was gone; they never
Noticed I was there. Two consumed by spirits.
I ran home to find my parents’ god had not
Aged well and wasn’t taking any questions.
They never understood why I kept asking,
When the answers were both ancient and clear. It’s
Too late to demand changes. And all you need
Is written in stone. Why did I still attack
A sleeping god? The One God, they insisted,
Though I had met many more, and knew fear hits
Hardest when the gods want to see what you’ve got.
They take my bag, and together we unpack.
NEVER AND ALWAYS
When we were young, I could outrun you,
But you were never far behind and
Always caught up when I stopped for breath.
Arms wrapped around me, you clung so tight.
So I let you stay, and we both grew.
I believed you’d never be stronger
Than me. Somehow I would always win.
Each day together renewed the fight.
Older now, we sit and talk of death,
Though I have never lived. So consumed
By you, I held back. Always afraid
I was wrong to want more. You were right
To challenge me. Life I never knew
Was always there, as I caught my breath.
AND ALSO WITH YOU
Our lives began with the death of an ancient star,
Hero of the cosmic wars raged by infant gods,
So bored playing old games in small places. A new
Game then for tired children fighting. What little hope
They held to find delight. Old gods with rigid eye
Saw nothing. But travelers return from afar
With bold tales of other worlds where rogue gods gather
Particles to play with one another. Such scope
Of life never imagined. But could it be true?
An empire built from stardust? Death strikes a blow;
Love fights back. Young gods sacrifice a star by force
That we might awaken here. Live beads strung on rope
Of spun light. May we breathe the death force, we who are
Born of war, who can never be healed without you.
”Are you happy?” he asks again.
My silence is a trick answer
He won’t accept. What’s this about?
Happiness has no place here.
He asks as if it means something
Now. As if there were a time when
It mattered. I don’t know happy,
Though sometimes I laugh at my fear.
Does that count, I wonder? No doubt
I can fool us both with a smile
And a quick laugh. Who’s pretending
Now? Who’s smile is more sincere?
Am I happy? Ask now and then.
Together we’ll figure it out.