In the library,
the woman walks,
cane in hand,
bundled in a red coat,
green scarf over her shoulders,
her husband beside her,
in his slate coat and cap,
a checkered scarf
tied at his neck.
She pushes her white hair off
her forehead and peers up
at the paintings on the wall,
splotched and messy and bright,
the work of elementary students.
Paused at the paintings
they think of times when
they were that young too,
under the open sky--
her leaving clothes on the line
him chasing his dog back home.
They didn’t know each other then,
or maybe they did.
The details slip away
like summer into fall.
It doesn’t matter now,
but there was a time when she
held his hand on their walks
instead of a cane.
Oh, the watercolors
ones Dan and Janie made,
he’d said he’d call,
or did Janie?
They can’t remember and think
of disintegrating paper
and blue drips on the table.
Instead, they finish their stroll
and both agree--
Lovely, wasn’t it?
A piece of furniture–
wooden-framed or not
with a mattress
or mat long enough for a human of any size
with cloth coverings and a pillow.
Small or big, puffed or flat.
Quiet, empty, unmade, made
Yet this is where we are born,
where we pray,
where we lie,
where we love,
and where we die.
Where we begin our day and end it.
We may spend a third of our life here
in sleep, in tears, in joy.
Like with a lover, we hesitate to leave--
or like with a mother that promises cover from the world,
we cling to her skirts and breathe in linen
while she pads our dirty heads.
But like children, hesitant and weak we go
stumbling over our foal feet
and blink at the newborn light through the blinds.
Day is dawning.
The world continues to spin, and with it
day grows longer.
Spring promises to knock on my window
and wash me clean in the first rain.
Winter is gone and took her shadows.
The world alive outside calls me
But still I come running back,
to the feeling of softness, closeness, my mother’s hand
on my shoulder as she tucks me in
or you beside me, your arm around my waist
and voice in my ear.
So tell me, what is it
that brings us back
you to me,
me to home
to this piece of furniture?
To this bed.
Mom doesn’t like poetry
since it’s not clear like how things should be.
Until you write her one,
and beaming she’ll put it on the fridge with a magnet.
Mom likes things sorted and clean, papers off
the table or in the bin, dishes in the sink or the cupboard.
What is this? Why is this here?
If it’s clutter, it’s just stuff. Don’t save it.
In her room she has 37 years of photos
and sometimes tears up when she thinks of her parents
but she would never admit it.
So, she laughs and means it
when her grandchildren dump the box of toys across the living room
and the dogs slide down the hall past the family photos
and bang open doors after a bouncing ball.
Most of the lines on her face come from laughing, crows’ feet dotting her crinkling eyes.
Her birdcall laugh hangs high above any room
like a day-warbler or a hooting night-owl over the treetops.
So much of her is rocks and earth and order,
but every bit of her speaks of beating wings and blue skies.
Mom’s favorite color is blue, deep like the ocean, bright like the sky.
Don’t tell her blue’s a sad color;
she dressed her baby boy in the ocean and then his sister
when she could fit his hand-me-downs,
and then laughed when the disapproving daycare lady sent her daughter home in pink.
She lives with her husband of 36 years in a light blue house
and relished painting skies on her kitchen and living room walls
after 10 years of white and little time
and laughed again when her children protested at the blue walls, rugs, and curtains.
Time may pass,
and the blue curtains, rugs, and walls may have disappeared
and her children may have had children,
but blue is still her favorite color and her children are still her children,
and she still doesn’t like poetry.
I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; It’s just not their task
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness. I believe, I Believe.
-Mary Anne Perrone
Photo: Ingmari Lamy
Via Sacred Dreams
Sometimes I think of long lace hemlines, following a trail of white petals
and tree branches arching to form a dome,
sunlight dappling the green leaves like stained glass in a cathedral
But that’s not what I dream of.
Instead, I dream of black nights that turn into dim mornings
where we crowd the couch
And you play your guitar while we sing, voices cracking
and when we look at each other with blood-shot eyes,
we can’t help but laugh.
I dream of rain slapping our skin when we run, arm in arm, for cover,
my jeans are soaked, I shake from the cold, but your hands are warm
I dream of alarms ringing in the apartment, smoke billowing from the pan,
Because I burned the eggs again, the steam and smell of soap and grease
when I scrub the pan and make toast instead–
and you insist you don’t care—
but I make up for it with coffee later.
I dream of long trips, arms out the window and arguing over who’s going to drive
or who gets the radio station this time
because I’m tired of your folksy rock and you really,
really don’t want to listen to Beyonce
but we both do it anyway.
If I dream of a white dress, it has stains from the coffee we shared.
If I dream of petals, they’ve been drenched by rain and torn and trampled by our dancing.
Don’t tell me what I dream of isn’t beautiful because it’s messy and flawed.
For a thing of joy is a thing of beauty forever.
When you woke up today,
did you take your mask off?
Did you inhale the oxygen
of uncrowded air
and drink water for a free mouth?
Did you eat and taste foods
that you haven’t tasted properly in long time?
Did you mark the blue veins in your wrist
and remember you are alive?
Did you breathe out the monsters
that stirred your dreams?
After all, they were the reason
why you wore the mask.
Maybe you can’t help
but put it on again,
Or maybe take it off just a second,
and remember who