Category Archives: Poems about women

Almost a Miracle (Monologue) NaPoWriMo, Apr 15, 2019

 

Almost a Miracle

I need to explain to you how it happened.
I know you don’t require it, but I need to tell you,
much as a good Catholic needs absolution from her priest or her god,
I need absolution from you.
It began with a simple mishap—the gas left on after cleaning the stove.
I do not remember this action,
yet it must have been me who left the dial turned not quite shut. 
A dark part of me, because with God as my witness, I do not remember doing so.

I did remember that every payday Saturday night when he came home reeling from the tavern, he went to turn on the striker to light his cigar.
If I had actually planned it, I could not have planned it better. 
My mother and the other children had gone to Talpa
for the four day pilgrimage to the virgin
and it was my night to stay with the children
of the people whose house I cleaned.
We did this weekly to afford them the chance
to be together with their friends,

away from their demanding children.
And it gave me an opportunity to avoid my father. 

To avoid the sound of his entrance at the front gate,

the heavy pounding of his boots upon the cobbles,
the creak of the front door and his slipping the bolt
so that I knew once again that I was in the prison of his making. 
His footsteps upon the tile stairs as I lay still, my lips moving in rapid prayers,
“Our Lord, dear lord, help him pass my door tonight. 
Help him to proceed past the doors of my sisters and my brothers
and let him move to visit my mother. 
Help him to relieve the cares of his week in her presence. 
Help it to be his wife who smells the tequila of his breath,
to taste the lime on his lips.
Help me on this night not to be the partner of his sin.”

Rare was the Saturday night when my prayer was heard.
But this night, perhaps I had answered my own prayer. 
Later on, the villagers would talk about the night they heard the boom—
saw the streaking image of a man run from the front door aflame
to run down the street screaming.
“Such a tragedy,” they would say,
“but how fortunate that his wife and children were not present.
God must have been watching,” they would say,
“but then to have blinked a moment.
It was almost a miracle,” they would say. “Almost.”

 

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a dramatic monologue.

Cruel Question


Cruel Question

It bothers me, I must confess.
What happens to a wedding dress
after it’s had its opening day?
Is it simply packed away?
If so, you’d think once time has passed
they’d finally reappear at last
in church bazaar or resale store
or other places where things of yore
emerge from attic, basement, closet
or other area of deposit.
(In whatever dark place they’ve all lain,
thinking they’ll be used again.)

There should be rooms filled with selections
of these nuptial confections.
Warehouses stuffed full of them,
varied in neckline, cut and hem.
Why do we not see huge barrages
of wedding gowns sold from garages
along with strollers and kiddie toys
cast off by grown up girls and boys?
Surely every aging bride
has a wedding dress inside
a trunk or closet—way up high.
What happens when their wearers die?

Garments of satin or nylon net—
what could be the etiquette
that guides a family in such matters?
If the gown is not in tatters
and worn away by age and mold,
surely it would be resold.
If so, where are the warehouses
where gowns bereft of brides and spouses
lie stockpiled awaiting chances
for other wedding vows and dances?
Where is the wedding gown museum
where we might journey to go to see ’em?

I’ll now chance being thought abrupt,
unsentimental, cold, corrupt
by saying what I have to say.
Do families throw these gowns away?
Buried under hills of trash
is there a wedding veil or sash?
Satin bodices and trains
diminished by decades of rains?
Do gowns once virginally snowy,
and spectacularly showy
now lie buried like their dreams,
slowly decaying at the seams?

These images, you might guess,
seem calculated to depress.
Who wants these pictures in her head
as her wedding vows are said?
This poem is meant for crones like me,
bent of back and stiff of knee,
who’ve run out of memories to ponder
and so must journey over yonder
to the macabre side of pondering
for their mental wandering.
That said, past brides, will you confess
what happened to your wedding dress?

The prompt today is abrupt.

The Legend

Maiden’s Dilemma

Each myth, legend or fairytale
from “once upon” to “fare thee well”
shares some elements of story
be they sad, uplifting, gory.

Always a damsel in distress—
Rumplestiltskin’s name to guess,
for straw once spun out into gold,
or another story to be told.

Too much sleep may be her curse,
ugly stepsisters, or worse.
Murder, treason, sloth and pox
were emptied from Pandora’s box.

These troubles spread from near to far,
(although, in fact, it was a jar.)
Zeus forgave Pandora’s shame.
The imp revealed his own strange name.

But the other women described above
were saved by cleverness or love.
Scheherazade escaped the hearse
with stories, legends, tales and verse.

Cinderella rose from hearth and ashes
and Sleeping Beauty opened lashes­­––
both maids saved by daring-do:
one by a kiss, one by a shoe.

So whatever might have been their fate:
loss of child or murderous mate,
wipe tears and fears away with laughter.
They all lived happily ever after.

 

Another rewrite from four years ago. The prompt today was legend.

Burning Your Journals

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Burning your Journals

Who knew fidelity’s even stance
could be mitigated by circumstance?
That a subtle smile, perchance,
exchanged between you at her advance
would wind up in a swift romance
that flourished in that small expanse
between us and her winsome glance.

Who knew that you would go freelance
when love became our ritual dance?
And that I, still in loving’s trance,
would only learn it later, by chance.
Reading your words, caught twice askance.
First by your death, then grief enhanced
as I suffered loss anew
with this further death of you.

 

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The prompt word today was trance.

“I Imagine” dVerse Poets, Prose Poetry

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I Imagine

I imagine one more holiday.
My mother sits at a large picture window
looking out over a broad beach,
watching dogs fetching sticks.
Then, because she cannot help it,
she takes her shoes off to walk through packed sand.
I imagine her sighting the offshore rock
where puffins nest.
I imagine footprints—hers and mine
and the paw prints of the dog—
someone else’s—
who joins us for the price of a stick thrown
over and over into the waves.

My mother could count her trips to the beach
on one hand,
and most of those times have been with me.
Once, in Wales, we sat on the long sea wall
under Dylan Thomas’s boathouse.
A cat walked the wall out to us,
precise and careful
to get as few grains of sand as possible
between its paw pads.
As it preened and arched under my mother’s smooth hand,
its black hairs caught in her diamond rings.

The other time we went to the beach
was in Australia.
We stayed out all afternoon,
throwing and throwing a stick,
a big black dog running first after,
then in front of it,
my dad sleeping in the car parked at the roadside,
my mother and I playing together
as we had never played before.

My mother and the ocean
have always been so far divided,
with me as the guide rope in between.
I imagine reeling them both in toward each other
and one more trip.
My mother, me, a dog or cat.
Wind to bundle up for and to walk against.
Wind to turn our ears away from.
Sand to pour out of our pockets
to form a small  volcano
with a crab’s claw at the top.

So that years from now,
when I empty one pocket,
I will find sails from by-the-wind sailors
and shark egg casings,
fragile black kelp berries
and polished stones.
The bones of my mother. The dreams of me.

From the other pocket, empty,
I will pull all the reunions I never fought hard enough for—
regrets over trips to the sea we never made.
And I’ll imagine taking me to oceans.
Walks. Treasures hidden in and hiding sand.
Someone walking with me—
someone else’s child, perhaps,
and a dog chasing sticks.

Note: I never took that last trip to the ocean with my mother, but I think of her every year when I come to stay at the beach on my own, and this year in particular, every time I throw the stick for Morrie and every time children come to play with us. Here is a link to my favorite photo of my mother, plus other stories and poems about her.

Written for the dVerse Poets prompt, Prose Poetry.To play along, go HERE.

Wish List of a Youngest Daughter


Wish List of a Youngest Daughter

Off and on, I’ve been wishing
my dad and I could go fishing.
I guess my sister could go along
so long as she does nothing wrong
like catch a fish bigger than mine
or tease or hum or brag or whine.

Perhaps she’ll sit back in the bed
and not up in the cab instead,
so Dad and I can be alone—
the truck a sort of “private zone.”
He’ll hit the bumps real hard so she
will wish she was in front with me.

Just like I always pray and pray
her friends and she will let me stay
with them, when they come for the night
and play without me, door shut tight.
Marvelous fun had down the hall,
but not with me.  I am too small.

That’s why, when Dad tells me a joke,
I’ll laugh real loud until I choke;
and my sister, sitting there behind
might feel left out, but I don’t mind.
And when we get to where we’re going,
to the stock dam, cattle lowing,

Dad will bait my hook for me
and sister, too, and then we’ll see
who will catch the biggest fish.
I guess it’s obvious that my wish
is that I’ll catch the biggest one,
and sister will go home with none!

The prompt today is “Fishing.”

Tete a Tete

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Tete a Tete

She seems to have made a career
out of practicing “sincere.”
Her trembling lip, her balanced tear
as she murmurs, “Oh, my dear,
I’m sorry, I know how you feel,”
work better when they’re meant for real.

In fact, she only lends an ear
because of what she hopes to hear––
shocking, scandalous or queer.
And oh, my dear, she’ll persevere.
Huddled over a drink or meal,
she can hardly hide her zeal

as she brings up your greatest fear––
your erring child or spreading rear,
the lover who’s been gone a year,
that bank loan that’s now in arrear.
She only asks because, you know—
just because she loves you so!

In patience, she is without peer.
She’ll face you, rapt, her face thrust near,
and ply you with another beer.
She is your confidant—your seer.
And though she says her lips are sealed,
her oath will too soon be repealed.

Her parting kiss, it would appear,
is offered to the ionosphere.
It makes no contact.  Does not adhere.
It seems like she’s shifted a gear.
The next time she dines out, it’s true,
she’ll be dining out on you!!

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The prompt word was “sincere.”

sincere.