Tag Archives: Loss

A Room

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A room. A window. Outside the window, an entire world that I have not moved through for so many years. Some of the world comes to me, it is true, and I am not so reclusive that I do not let it in. Marietta brought her newest baby just yesterday, and I held it as though I have held a baby every day of my life in spite of the fact that I have not held a baby since that first baby slipped away from me, into the arms of another woman I have never known the name of. That baby was ripped more violently from my arms than it was from my body hours before. I was not given a choice. No one knew. The baby vanished and then I vanished, off to another country. Off. . . .a cough. I spin around and look behind me. It is a new intruder. After so many years alone, two people entering my world. Perhaps if I’d kept the door unlocked all these years, more people would have come other than the boy who brings my groceries and the other woman with the many layers of skirts who brings me new medicine when I have need of it.

I do not know this new person. It is a young man who carries a machete in his hand. He is very tall. Very very tall for a Mexican, so perhaps he is a Bedouin or some other Arab from a tall tribe, plopped down in America in the way many of us have been positioned here by fate, by circumstance or by force. His skin is that beautiful golden coffee color of someone naturally dark who has also been in the sun for long periods of time or for a long lifetime.

“Disculpe, senora,” he says, as he moves into the room. When I speak to him in English, he switches to English. He has seen my tall palm with the fruit and the seeding husks hanging dangerously loose. He can scale this tree and cut them for me. It needs to be done, senora, and if I have no money to pay, he will do it for no more fee than my friendship. And if I have no friendship to offer, then he will do it for the good grace it will bring him in the universe and perhaps an easier ingress into heaven.

It is an omen, I think, and I surprise myself when I give him permission to trim the tree. He cannot know how much he looks like a young man in my past and he cannot know how uncharacteristic it is for me to allow anyone at all into my life, my room, my trust. Now I have an obligation to this man I know nothing about. He may be dangerous. Certainly, he carries a weapon. The branch of the pomegranate tree taps taps on my window, as though a strong breeze has come up in this still day. It is the fingers of the afternoon reminding me. Warning me. But then I see that it is the movement of the young man as he brushes past the tree that has set it in motion.

A large turquoise dragonfly rests on the branch that has stopped moving and that now sits isolated. Another dragonfly approaches it and seems to attach itself in an arch and they go flying away together in this impossible configuration—a broken circle. How two creatures can move as one is not something I have ever learned, not since the one person who was a part of me for so many months was pulled from my arms still weak from childbirth. If they’d waited, I would have been strong enough, I tell myself. I have been telling myself for most of my life.

After they took from me what was mine, we took a drive to a large place with many chairs. Many chairs and many people, then a corridor. Then I was on an airline and in spite of my terror, I fell asleep. I was a thirteen year old girl, accustomed to doing what I was told to do. I woke up in America, where I was driven to the beautiful house of my aunt. It was here I lived for ten more years. Here that they expected to give me a new life to encourage me to forget my old life, but as I sit for all these years in my isolation, it is the old life that I remember and remember and remember.

 

 

 

September is the Cruelest Month–NaPoWriMo 2016, Day 4

 

 

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Riding in luxury on a sofa in the back of Denis’s pickup, seeing the beautiful Klamath country in style. We were driven directly under a rainbow that day, so it was on either side of us as we passed!      photo by Georgia Moriarty

September is the Cruelest Month

One cruel month is January, murdering December––
failed resolutions of last year we’re now forced to remember.

February rivals it for those with lovers missing––
conjuring up memories of  valentines and kissing.

March may come in cruelly–a lion or a ram,
but it is not the cruelest month. It goes out like a lamb.

April is the the month of rain and flowering and rhyme.
It cannot be the cruelest month. It is the most sublime.

May is not a cruel month, nor June, most surely not.
July and August are most kind––luxurious and hot.

September is the month for me that is the cruelest.
September is the month where I received my biggest test

in learning how to live alone after so many years,
conquering the loss of you. Battling my fears.

September was the month you left because you had to go––
away from planned adventures down a road you didn’t know.

Setting off alone–something you rarely did in life,
where you preferred to travel with a lover or a wife.

October found me no man’s wife, November found me gone
to take the road that we had planned. I would not be death’s pawn.

Then that December–– crueler than any month I’ll own.
That was the month I had the time to finally feel alone.

 

The prompt today was to write about “The cruelest month.”
http://www.napowrimo.net/day-four-4/

After Fifteen Years

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(If you are viewing this in the Reader, poem will not be formatted correctly.  Please click on the blog title above the photo to view this post from my blog where it will be in the correct shape.)

After 15 Years

Your memory                                                   cuts so sharply
through my dream’s beginning that I wake,
gasping like a fish on the sand
left by some fisherman
too intent upon his next catch
to end it cleanly.

In its tight skin,
I gasp for air,
rise as it cannot rise
and like you cannot rise
out to that night sea air
which is the only coolness
in a month of burned days.

My memory, curving round,
pulls in the memory of you
like gills seeking to understand
the waterless air.

Landed by some bigger fisherman
whose bait you couldn’t resist,
“Oh,” you said, just “Oh,”
before you took the hook,
slipping from my grasp
as I held on, held on,
let go.

Passing Time

IMG_1162Detra de las Puertas Cerradas (Behind Closed Doors) One’s own living room can become entirely too comfortable. Shutting the drawers to the past may open the doors to the future. (retablo by Judy Dykstra-Brown)

Passing Time

The means of our escape from life are numerous and various,
and there is nothing wrong with getting thrills that are vicarious.
Movies, sports and novels are fine for entertainment;
but if you’re only viewing, there is no sense of attainment.

Looking back on your own life, like opening a book,
isn’t really living life, but just having a look
at the life of someone who you no longer are.
You aren’t really living life by viewing from afar.

Escape is necessary and our choices for it vast,
but there’s no satisfaction in living in the past.
Life is to be spent, not to be hoarded and rethought.
Better just to live the rest of the time that you’ve got!

Fond memories are something that I’m sure none of us lack,
but there’s no time of life to which I’m yearning to go back.
The only thing to do with time’s to live it and to love it.
I have no wish to turn back time, I only want more of it!

The Prompt: If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/if-i-could-turn-back-time/

If I Were Water and You Were Air

The Prompt: For this week’s writing challenge, take on the theme of H2O. What does it mean to be the same thing, in different forms?
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If I Were Water and You Were Air

I used to be restless water—
only the froth and currents
of a moving life.

Now I am still water,
sinking down to where
I can be found
by anyone willing to stand quietly
and look.

Is it true that moving water never freezes?
Is it true that still waters run deep?
Is it true that we are wed in steam?

“What if, caught by air,
it never lets me go?” I ask.

“But even water
turned to air
must fall at last,” you say.

“And what if I fall farther from you?”
I say. “Or what if I never again find banks
that open to contain me?”

I used to be swift flowing water.
Now I am a pool that sinks me deeper every year.
So deep, so deep I sink
that on its way to find me,
even air may lose its way.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/ice-water-steam/

New World Miracle

The Prompt: An Extreme Tale—“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. When was the last time that sentence accurately described your life?

Note:  For the ninth day in a row, I (along with several other bloggers) have not been able to pingback to the Daily Prompts page.  If you are able to, can you mention this poem in your blog and pingback to me?  WordPress doesn’t seem to be doing anything about this problem, although we’ve written numerous times!  Thanks.

I’ve told the second part of this story in an earlier post.  Now, here is the beginning and the ending.  One day I’ll tell the in-between.


New World Miracle
(Ethiopia, 1973-74)

Black Tiger in safari jacket
you told me
hyenas in the hills
would attack the mule if I tried
to ride alone
from the lowland landing field
to Lalibela.

By
sunset
we had reached
the high plateaus
sheep crying
miles away
shepherds calling
mile on mile.

In this high air
heard from mountaintop
to mountaintop
from valley
lifting to plateaus above
you with Afro out to here
admitted the hyenas were a lie
took my picture
tucked my camera in your pocket
pulled me up
to you
and
there was no
resistance
in
this
air.

I was
enamored
of the falling sun
the cries of shepherds
your hair
your jacket
your clean mouth
white teeth
black beautiful
tall rest of you.
I had always needed
to feel like this.
Giddy.
Your kiss pulled me in then
ricocheted
to valleys
under valleys
under valleys.
Always something
under
something else.

We were at the edges
of the world.
We were at its
cracking rims.

And I can believe
in you
standing
on the rifted rock
above the canyons
still
I can’t imagine
you
in the valley
deeper in the valley
than the valley floor.

I can’t imagine you
dusted hair
eyes closed by clods
growing trees from your navel
pomegranates from your fingernails.

When you touched me
I grew
then I grew too far.

But nothing
since
has touched your warm
your brown
your hands
your mouth
where you touched
nothing since
has quite
touched.

In your country
where names
are only words
strung together
your name
Andu Alem Tamirat
meaning new world’s miracle.

You could have come with me
to grow invisible in California.
Instead you
died a hero
of the revolution
seeding
memories.

Remember
how you used to climb
out of my dining room window
to the back yard compound
to pick orange waxy blossoms
from the pomegranate tree—
how you used to
tuck them
in my hair?

(I’ve tried many times to format this as it should be, but it always changes it back to left justified when I update, so I will center it and make it the way neither of us intends it to be!

Wooden Heart

Wooden Heart

He handed it to me without ceremony—a small leather bag, awl-punched and stitched together by hand. Its flap was held together by a clasp made from a two fishing line sinkers and a piece of woven wax linen. I unwound the wax linen and found inside a tiny wooden heart with his initials on one side, mine on the other. A small hole in the heart had a braided cord of wax linen strung through that was attached to the bag so that the heart could not be lost. He had woven more waxed linen into a neck cord. I was 39 years old when he gave me that incredible thing I never thought I would receive: his heart—as much of it as he could give. Continue reading