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Caught between spaces, faces

fraught with beginnings and end-

ings look backward, look forward.

At our age we spin.  The dance

of light is uncertain.  There

are shadows.  Perspective lies

just this side of the line

between the still world and

the moving.  We approach 

possibilities with prismatic

elegance.


More certainly we move across

the floor, scatter and are caught

up in the skirts of mornings,

afternoons, evenings.  Free for

the first time we shed our skin

in anticipation.  Old age is

a filled stream.


The echoes of childhood, the rasp

of youth are replaced by a certain

smoothness.  We go forward because

some thing turns us like a level

in space, always that way.  We go into

our children’s maturity, wrestle with

the presumptions of our age, and slide

like something iced into

something waiting.
2h · 33
Sammy
I saw Sammy one

warm Spring day basking in the

sunshine of my life.


Plop, he jumped as I

sat watching him swim toward

me.  I was hooked.


Spring is a water.

lily shading a guppy.

I felt the shimmer


engulf me that day.

Love was floating by as

I waited for it.



Caroline Shank
8h · 23
Snow
It's snowing in flat fat globs.  

The wet from which it is born 

laughs at me.  It knows I

feel alone in my misery of 

winter. 


The cold turns my fingertips

as white as ice.  I must have

injured them sometime.

I stay in the house mostly


and I dream of big spots of 

sun like Florida summers

en *****.


I wait for Wisconsin

to spill it's tulips and

poppies.  I breathe slowly

the gray days of January.


I sit cross-legged alone 

in the icy winter, wake

when warm air permits. 



Caroline Shank
1d · 19
Philosophy
Forty five years gone by and still
the dust motes
fly from the philosophy you casually
taught her.   She paid attention and now
the syllables of Truth are battered
and worn. Your truth Ben.  You were
her  wheel steering corners of her mind
onto streets of pure reason.

She sat in jeans and tee shirt,
wrote vessels of your words
and swatted her feelings around
your black hair.  She could not
get enough of the meal and
wealth of your knowledge.

All that is left is you
crying into the phone that
you might lose her.
She who was so new
and young.

You left a message, cold
as ice.  You were gone
and she was never to
understand
your soggy
remarks.  The risk was
like magma, you never
came too close again.

You taught her truth
and slammed her
against the wall of
your ambivalence.


Caroline Shank
Neitzche said we are doomed

to live each life over and over

again exactly the same way.


I differ.  Our lives of flowers

and yes, of nails and pain

will live once in the pocket

of the Universe unshed of

all memory.


Tomorrow is not predictable.

We shovel today's minutes into

the jeans and skirts, the

pockets of yesterday.


We are trialing this day and

have not yet decided 

what to tell, and what to bury

under the rocks, the shales, 

of memory.


We will not recur 

but we will live on

together

forever.



Caroline Shank
4d · 132
Some Things
Some things are tough.

Some roads are rough.

Some horses are rode

hard and some are

put down wet.


Some lives succeed.

Some lives don't.

Some people strive.

Some people won't.


Some people give up.

Some people slow down.

Some people love.

Some people don't.


Some say the sky is blue.

Some see the colored hue.

I saw Heaven beyond the pale.

clouds, and I saw you.


I saw you in Paradise.

I saw in each other's 

eyes love

in your rainbowed arms. 



Caroline Shank
Are there too many cliches?
4d · 30
If I Could
If I Could I Would

go back to my genetic ancestry,

swim unmussed by personality

in a rain filled quarry.  A

clean shell in a pocked

landscape, prior to pain,

prior to, God knows, love

knows me.


recline in the primordial ooze.

one cell, untransmittable.

Unable to become, anything.


leave, God, this one small

organism guiltless of begetting

just this one girl in the

frozen forests of the human

future.
5d · 56
Hey Alabama
Hey Alabama.  I drove through

you half my life ago.  You were

most green and gracious.  Blue

skies foamed clouds supine on

my skin.  A thin veil of fog an

unseen future away.


I slowly crossed your planet,

picked flowers on the verge.

I remember the heat.  The red

hair of summer curled against

the day.  Nights vibrated, a gong

gone mild.  Soft, resonating, still

resonating.  I breathed air in

like smoke, holding it inside

for long seconds, a question

waiting for its answer.


Long years have veined miles,

mapped time.  I am blued with

thinking of it.


Hey Alabama.

I remember.  Your highways

still, so sweet.  You travel

soft as sleep.

Caroline Shank
6d · 63
Time Goes By
I fumble with the days now,

humbly wonder the date, 

the time. Not you.  

You move with the 

alacrity of your age.  


I wrote on the

calendar when you were

babies.  I lost you

at six. Freud said so.


The chipped diaper pin 

that I still have.  The tape

of your first words I can no

longer play.  

Your rumpled memories, 

tumbled recollections.


I traipsed through 

the days of your 

childhoods, 

slowly moved

around the nights.  


Take me gently

through your lives.  


I am alone.


I nap everyday and wake

earlier than I would like to.


Go slowly

around my life.


I have seen my own

star streak 

and I am not 


afraid.



Caroline Shank
7d · 192
The Music Plays
The music plays

on down the years.  


Her tears fall

run


a weep of 

years sweep


eras


written on pages

old memories


the stationery bold

with sorrow.


He loved her not

to lose her but


he never knew

the mind around


her prayer


for his memories 

refrain.


Her songs


are blowing 


spores


to the wind.




Caroline Shank
Experimental for me
Jan 14 · 71
Quotidian Embrace
he is still asleep

she watches television

another day starts



Caroline Shank
Jan 13 · 34
Judy
They blamed me too but

they would not say so. The end came startlingly quick.  Though 

it took your whole life to get there.


Not me. You.  I only followed

that slate path up to almost.

This is out of order Judy.

You took the pills out of the

white slide-out box.  I 

remember that part.


They blamed you too, didn't

they?  Did you miss out on the

hospital, the doctors, the oh

such a bad headache?


Your kids grew up without

you.  Frustration fingered

them.  They came to know 

the Magic, the Myth.


Pace Requiescat Judy,

over the rainbow, 

we all go somewhere.




Caroline Shank




The movie "Judy" starring

Renee Zellweger
Jan 12 · 10
Epilogue
You are very likely watching

football and I don't mean to

interrupt.  I am thinking of you

and wondering how you are?

I know great and terrible things

are occurring in your world.


My world is failing by chips and

blisters.  It's third down for us.

Tomorrow will exist as it always

does.  


But I will be glad to have some

time alone.  To feel you

not always coming in my

door.  To sit and think about

how much I want a cigarette,

a glass of Sherry.


You may not walk in 

and that matters.  It really does,

but not as much as yesterday.


Play your silent games.  

I reclaim my life. 

You don't have to look so

puzzled.  

We were not so very much,

after all. 



Caroline Shank
Not resembling anyone I know
Jan 9 · 66
Yeats
things fall apart a  
rusty wheel that man invented
crawls to Bethlehem.

Caroline Shank
Jan 9 · 63
Prayer
Kyrie Eleison

on my old and fractured
existence. May I be
released from the slavery
of old loves that pit me, that
pock me with the dregs
of all those memories.

Christe Eleison

on my ignorance.  You
who loves as the birds fly,
wildly propogating life from the
grasses between the sidewalks.

Kyrie Eleison

on me as I find the way
home away from the dome
of my misgivings.
Make me a potion, carry
me for Your refraction.

I hold onto pain as a
refusal to my remolding
soul.  Model me to an
abundance of joy.

Caroline Shank
Not sure if this is a poem?
Jan 8 · 86
Long Ago
Long ago, miles and miles
ago,  you'd think I'd have
forgotten.  I remember so
many things.

I've learned that a tree down
still remembers its first leaf.
That the moon remembers
its first sunset.  I've learned
to understand then, that the
first beating of your
existence on my heart
remembers you.

Send me a signal that I
may see the first fragments
of your hand in mine,
the first dance in the
dark, the first look
we knew as always.

Let me not go without
one signal that you knew,
once, the colors of my
name you whispered
on my skin that night
you said goodbye.

The years have frailed me,
but not so much that I
could not relive that
sole and singular summer.

Caroline Shank
Jan 6 · 33
The Blue Hour
I wait for the blue hour.
The time to open the story
into the dusk of
regret.

I am ready to read and
lose myself.  Blue touches
black.

I’m a hungry type of person.
I hang my coat on the tree
and walk into the kitchen

The same kitchen where you
used to drink coffee with me.
The same green walls with
yellow flowered wallpaper.  
Do you remember?

No?  You were
always looking at me as if
I were the only character in
your book.  You knew you
were my whole library.  I
could cover you with
my crying eyes and
you would be there,
in my world, forever.

Marry me
you said but I was
married.  You charged
into the tomb of night.

And I cannot lose
the exquisite pain of
those final pages?

  
Caroline Shank
Jan 4 · 43
When I Die
When I die I will not notice
you by the book in the room
where my ashes lie.  You
never took up space in my
life as I lived it, for you.

When I die I will not see
you not weeping for me
as you stand by the shelf
that has my name written
on it, too soon.

I will lie over you, invisible,
a scatter of memories
you won't recall.  You
left me to live without the
musk of your once,
love.

I will whisp around your
beating heart. You will realize
me in a moment.

You reach out for me,
the air, the stillness, the
forlorn echo of a
memory.



Caroline Shank
Jan 2 · 112
Now What?
Now what? You might well

ask. After the halcyon days

in Florida? After the debt

of childbearing?  After the

years of budgets?  Now what?


Back in the cold, the kids

grown, the still unsettled

finances?  I'm old and faded.


What happens to this

country song that is 

my life?  I am going to 

dance.  Still hold out my 

card to you.


The dance we have left

is slower, but the music

still travels up my spine.

Yes that's what.  I 

save the last dance

for you. 


It's just the way I roll.


Caroline Shank

1.2.20
Jan 1 · 40
The End of My Youth
I am the mother of my

youth.  I cry in places 

no one knows. 


It was the sunline to

Alabama that made

all the difference. 


I closed the 70's with

a bang. 


Today 

I enter this

decade mute.


My white hair falls

to the floor, my bent

back bent by the years.


I knew it would

end like this: 


alone,


by the tree. 



Caroline Shank

1.1.20
Jan 1 · 78
New Year 2020
It's New Year again

Winter brings another flavor

to my lonely heart.


Caroline Shank

12.31.19
Dec 2019 · 37
Myths and Poetry
I want you to know things

I never had the strength

to tell you.  I am reminded of 

Zues, of the wisdom of 

Socrates, the guts of 

Anthony.


No, I have the soul of 

a chorister.  Back and forth,

strophe and antistrophe.

I wear the mask made

by decisions and revisions

that a minute

would reverse.


I repeat  to

myself the lines from

Eliot.  They give me 

fortitude to say the

unsayable.  You are

more wonderful than

a day at the warm,

sunred beach.


You tell me how you feel

and I dare to disbelieve

you.  I am upended

by the impossibility.

My throat is a naked 

slash.  My mind is

a tan tunnel.

I implode


at the possibility that

you are truly speaking.

That you measure me

by your kindness.


I will go first before

you realize that I am

the way the world ends.


I am a whimper in the room.

To you belongs my

hollow flesh.


I tear myself in half.

I begin the way up.

Charon sends me

to you whom the 

gods have released.



Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 35
Celebration
It takes a long time to get here.

I almost didn't make it but

around every person is a

reason to get where you

want to be.


I want to get to the last minute.

To ride the carousel,

to grab the ring, walk the

soft sand.  Raise the umbrella.


Birds scatter on the beach.

Caw loudly.  I celebrate this

windshorn day.  I want to run 

through my life catching

miracles.  Godparticles

in the blowing sand.


Curl me in scent.

Lay me down.

in


celebration,

of a life lived.


I am reflected in you. 



Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 47
Christmas Morning
You wake in the morning
all alone.  There stillness is
like a quiet stone skipping
through thought.  You leave
the remnants of a life led
with noise and clamor at
the ends of yesterday.

There is time yet to resume.
Now is perfection.  For
a brief moment you are
all that is or ever will be.

Then sound begins to
penetrate the soul of
day and you fear the
reverie will not repeat
so you drink in the
remains of a moment
so fragile and evanescent
you fear the peace will
not come to you again.

The days are full of clang
and bother. You hang on
to the dawn, remember
the instance of salvation
is a wafer of  time.

Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 41
The Wise Men
the candles are lit
the wisemen travel abroad
I bow to midnight

The desert is cold
this December night across
the moon's path to Him

there is joy in the
air the angels sing out loud
sing a choir breathing

thank the Lord of my
salvation.  I have little
to give the one I love.

but He has raised my
heart to His acknowledge
He will be here soon.

three men arrive at
a stable door with gifts for
the Son of God cries

out loud love will win
and I am handed the night
the whole world rejoiced


Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 41
Loss
It was in the early spring, as
I was just waking up, I realized
that the day had lost its colors
and I was blinded by the loss.

There were shades of gray,
many tones of dun and some
paler lights where sunlight
tried to pierce my eyes, to
no avail.

I mentioned this to you as I
turned to face the empty pillow.
You were gone and nothing
I could do would bring you
and the pallet of colors
settling back in place.

I walk the city streets
unidentified.  I am unseen
in my gray dress.  There may
be activity but there is no
sound.  I float like a ghost
past your house.   I remember
when we lived there, before
the catastrophe.  

You asked me if I loved
you and I, rendered mute
by the enormity of your
request, could not mumble,
though I longed to shout
YES YES YES.  You took
me for a fool in my unthroated
response.  I became a ghost
then doomed to walk the
city's streets, a ghost of
unforgiven silence.

There is no one at home
today.  I lie supine in
my sorrow, in the bleak
gray, and all my tomorrows
crawl flatly to my grave.

Oh do not be tricked and
think me abused for my
vocabulary.  But think
of me unbounded by
the light.  Extinguished
by the loss of a sentence.


Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 37
Twenty Seven
Hard to remember the events
of a life so differently lived.
So short a time, barely cut the
grass.  She was fabulous for
half a summer.  Like a lady
in a perfect hat.  She was
glossy.

For half a summer.

Her voice cleared.  Her body
flew about the air like a breeze.
Music played constantly.  Her
humming a decible over the
bees.  She sang.  She dripped
over the sunlight like honey.

When he left she became
wax.  Her life melted in the
rain.

Twenty seven gone to
long.  She wished, her
whole life, to be twenty
six forever.

Still she sits.  
Uncomprehending
Looks for the wet
where she opens her face.

Just walking nowhere,
Bound for a song
she hears daily.
Her tattered memory
drops with every step.

Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 94
You Breathe in My Heart
You breathe in my heart a
song so sweet that I
swing on a cloud.  You
dance me around the
daylight and lay with me
during the night of dreams.

I will be on the side of your
red pleasure as you call
to me to be blessed by the
flavor of goodness.

We swing on a star.
You make me glad to run
with you, the wind, and
our song.

Together we fly over
mountains and lakes.
We grasp the promise
of tomorrow.

We are in the tumble
and the flight of wind
upward.

We are unflappable. Together.
we lay upon each other's heart
a solumn moment. The eternal
fabric of time.



Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 40
Sisyphus
Write what I know?  I am pocked with
chunks of broken moments.
Bits fall to the ground, trip me.
The terrain of my youth is a
moonscape.  I know what I know in
the craters of this place.

Born on the darkside and thirsty I was
cold.  I found the sun later when I
was tumbled out the door of my
Mother’s leaking house.  Her screams
had become tentacles of maniacal
music.  Or do not call it music for
if you had heard it you would not dance.

I am old now.  The view from my landing
is filled with sunlight and children,
“There are children in the leaves,
laughing excitedly”.  
I am rescued from this debris on
occasion.

When she is quiet,
I sweep her under the porch
where she lies drunk and unlaughing.
I do not let her out.  Yet she
steers me.  Her corpse loud
in her ***** nightdress.  

The terrain of my old age is pitted
with the debris of this haunting.  She
unsings me, makes me lie in
craters from which I climb up
daily only to tumble back down,
to have to begin again
from the bottom each new **** day.

But I sing as I crawl. And
she does not like the sound of that.
Dec 2019 · 342
Miracles
She is not gone. You have not
lost her.  She is transformed
into shine and glow and into
star stuff.  You are part of her
in some way that glistens in
the Universe.

Death is only a segment of the
cycle of which you are the
best part.  Her laugh rings
around you. Her love
transfigures you.  Listen.

The tinkling of star songs is
for you.  The sparkle in your
eye is her. Be aware that
death is a tap over your
shoulder, a smile in your
mind.

You have touched a miracle
of which you are a player.  There
is no way into tomorrow.  Today is the way to love her forever.

Today is always.

Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 189
Country Music
To my toes.  To the tap tap
tapping of my toes.   I beat to the
rhythm of Willie and Conway.
I don't look like Dolly but
I know she knows me.

My moods swing to the bars
and guitars.  I am under the
swing of stars looking for
the song under the melody.

I want you Loving me Was Easier
than Anything you have Ever
Done Before. I want you to
Lay Me Down.  I Will Always
Love You.

Country music sings to my longing
for you to whom I come with
my strings on a song. I stand
here, tears fall, longing for you
to come and take me to the
limit.

Dance with me.  Swing me around
the moon.  Believe in me.  I am
the first it was to call you to
the floor. I am your Slow Hand.

Caroline Shank
Purely experimental. Let me know what you really think.  Thanks
Dec 2019 · 188
Spring
clouds form  cold north winds
roll in  we run toward spring
slide  you warm in me
Dec 2019 · 67
Autumn
autumn golds the leaves
the cool breeze stirs the summer's
winding song to winter
                                


Caroline Shank
Completes my seasons haiku cycle
Dec 2019 · 58
Winter
wind wraps around me
I breathe in the winter air
the cold ice crack snaps


Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 384
Summer
The stream trickled on
the frog jumped in to cool off
the branch creaked with loss

Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 83
Midnight Slouches
Midnight slouches to
A Manger in a cold straw
barn where He is born.

Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 98
In My Life
"In My Life" yes she well remembers
you in the Summer of her 28th
year.  She has never seen the likes
of her since then.

She scans the air for red sunsets, for sandy beaches, for tears in the
fabric of time itself.  

You go now.  Her reverie is hers alone.  She shares herself with
no one.  At last she remembers
"In My Life" . The song repeats
and she dances around with you
in the dust of her old age.

You are gone a long time.
The only thing is,  
the music
remained.

Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 36
In Dreams
I have known you already, known
your voice in the songs of other
men.  Our history is in
ancient dreams.
We danced during
the nights of music.

I have seen you across
lamplit streets, haloed by fog.  We meet at the annointed
moment when dreams divest themselves
of surer things. Chase through
time memories in a golden cup.

I have tasted you already, the salt
skin sweat under my lips.  Kisses
during a drumbeat.  Sounds
unceasing.  

A toast
whispers to the real world.


Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 59
Why I Stay
Why should I stay?  I can
find no existential reason
to do so.

Family?  That is emotional
blackmail.  I cannot defy
their reason, but I can't
make sense of it.

I see worms in my soup,
snakes in my dresser
drawers.  Everywhere I
look there is putrefaction.

I am to be cremated.  My
Urn waits with it's label
already in place.

But! Hear the reasons
why I stay.  My God,
my soul's supporter is
not ready for me.  This
I believe.  That when it
is time for me to leave
the violence of this place
I will be shown the way.

This I believe.  That my
family is succour to my
pain and I am grateful
for them.  My children
are made of the same
stuff that gods are made
of. My grandchildren bloom
with my vision of purity.

The worms will not have
me as long as I have You
to listen.  You who are my
soul's radio.  I turn the
hymn of Your life on

and wait.

Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 37
Vines
You’ve spilled like sun on my
shoulders, like light through
a glass. Your face is in front
of me as I write.

I break through.
You are the weather
in which I have grown
so green.

The poems are fertile
vines growing out
through open windows.

You know me better
than I know
how to be.

Caroline Shank
Dec 2019 · 37
The Thinker
Thought is always with you like a child
growing in your deepest spaces.  To think
is what you were born for.  You are alive
with questions that brood in your mind
unlimited possibilities.  What do you
read, you who are books?  You
press yourself.

Thought pounds within you.  Each beat
is a hundred years of knowledge.  You
were imprinted on intelligence.  Your
selective Mother.

Thought is always with you.  Lines of
poetry choose to be born through your
fingers like red drips on the page.  You
are in labor, the constant ache of
creation.

You were born in the dark, celestial,
implosion.  You enter through a door;
access to the deepest recess of
experience.

Caroline Shank
Nov 2019 · 35
I Live You
We walked together not saying
a word.  It was Summer, the
lake was blue and we held hands.  
Not so unusual you might say.

The city was behind us then.
Tall buildings of wind washed
brown and gray lined the
streets.  You looked
at me gently folding.

I asked for one more day.  
We spent the last of
time quietly.  Tomorrow would
not be there for us.  We return
to the hologram of ourselves.
Long goodbyes, unheard chimes
of weddings that were not ours.

I mean, so much of the lives of
others are meant for each of us.
I bend my head against the wind
and whisper these words,

I live
always,
you.


Caroline Shank
Nov 2019 · 32
Close to You
I used my heart to get close
to you.  I pounded the inside
of my world.  It was magic.
My heart beat a tattoo that
you could feel a thousand
miles away.  

You knew me from the
inside.  You never turned
away.  I held you in the
palms of my hands.  Your
fragile skin translucent.

I was born to be yours.  You
marked me with your
substantial smile.  It was
never too late.  You were
a breath away from dying.
I was in the air.  

I heard the cry, I was on
the verge of living without
the blue of your eyes.  You
turned  me to breathing.
You wheeled away unknowing
that under the blanket  I
placed a breathless wish
for your heart to beat
to mine.  

Child of mud and seawater
you came at last to the
shore of my time.  

I believe in you.

Caroline Shank
Nov 2019 · 359
Thanksgiving
So long ago.    
I was always older than you.
You were stronger than I.
It was Summer, you rolled
joints in the kitchen.  I
waited in the other room.

Other rooms, other tales.
I remember the night
we walked to the tavern.
I wrote poems while you
played pool.  I wore red,
you touched my
hand.  I didn't know you,
stranded on the brink of
midnight, waiting for me
to end the song.  

You left me in the rain,
toeing the brush of your
dense backyard.  I called,
my voice thrown in the
rain, the wind's song
tortured with the sound
of tears.

This Thanksgiving.
I will drink alone,
long ago yesterdays,
linger to
tomorrow.

Caroline Shank
Nov 2019 · 44
Sadness
I cried when Rozy died.  Great
clutches of gulps.  The next two
deaths left me undone.  No tears
left in my account.  We are all
but flashes of light by Buddha.
We are bubbles in a summer
sky.

I have used up my allotment
of sorrows and the emptiness
of my soul is deep and quiet.
Hear fellow wanderers you are
not alone.

Among the stands of people
whose silence is felt to be
flannel resolution I am to tell
you to wait for sorrows too
incredible to be bourne.
You are in the company of
dryness, of desolation.

God will send you to your
knees in the Great Relief
of terrible sorrow.  Then
you will begin again.  You
will be safe, inevitably, in
the silence and quiet
contemplation that those of
us who have passed dispair
find in every day things.  

Then death Will Have No
Dominion and tears WILL
flow and water your fertile
communion.

And I? I sit alone
and quietly
reflect.  


Caroline Shank
Nov 2019 · 53
Snow
Haiku.    Snow

Winter comes early
The leaves are not yet raked in
The snow covers all.
Nov 2019 · 94
Angels
Not everyone believes in Angels
but I do.  Sweet singing below
hearing, at the heart of feeling.
Angels are wide white lace
that enfold me in my deepest
sorrow and my highest joy.  

I trust the whirl and whoosh
of them. I catch sight of them
on the side of my eye when
I am not even looking

Angels announced the coming
of Jesus and His going.
They whispered to me the day
my children were born.

I see Angels in the look of loved
ones.  They flutter above my
every day and lay me down
to sleep at night.

I see Angels in the corridor.
sweetly singing homecoming
to patients and embracing
Angels sylphing through me
as I work.

And in our sorrow Angels hold
our faces where tears fall.  Angels
kiss our souls with love and gently
bring us home.

Caroline Shank
Nov 2019 · 66
Christmas
Christmas is not going to perform
for me again this year.  Not going to send me to the five and dime for
shreds of tinfoil or hooks of candy.

Song sung blue over the white
and drifting snow.  I remain
dans la grotte.  Why?  You might
ask.  Tomorrow the Wise Men
start their slouch
toward Bethlehem,
unencumbered by gifts.

Joy is not running through
me.  Starlite, star bright,
I wish you would come
home tonight.

Far away you send sorrow.
I package it in used boxes.
I will sit for twelve days and
twelve nights.  Alone.

I will *******
another Christmas and
count to forty.  It's what
I do.  I am blistered with
the wait.  

When you come home I
will handstand myself
with joy.  It's been the
journey of my life to wait
for you. My face to the
Star, again.

Next Christmas I will celebrate
you.  Home from afar,
I will wrap myself in your
name.  You will open me.  

Please.

Caroline Shank
Nov 2019 · 35
It's a Rainy Day
It's a rainy day in the usual
cool of Wisconsin in the
dark months.  
There are  hundreds of shades of
gray and dun.

I am wide awake and missing
the sunlight of better times
when my soul prospered.
The sweet taste of warm on my
face.  You on my mind and
long walks.  I have grayed out
the summer
days when
you were the only thing on
my landscape.

Winter has turned all my
thoughts to long shadows
of memory.  You were never
gray or dun colored.  You
are inside me in colors of
radical brilliance.

Tomorrow I will assign the
sorrow.  Today the fragility
of missing you is like fine
single panes of memory I
cannot shatter.

On most days you lay
quietly in the soft room
of yesterday.
Today you are restless.
I shake myself awake but
the dream insists.

I'm old to myself while you
remain young in the roundness
of a single summer.  The fabric
of warm on my nascent love
has pins and sticks me.

Don't walk in.  I am
not available.  My hair is no
longer the color of amber,
My tan limbs are startling
In their denial of tan.

I think of you throughout
poetry. The long lines
of unmetered days return
but I get on.

Mistake me not for ignorance.
The vocabulary of my life
begins and ends in
four
short
months.

Caroline Shank
Nov 2019 · 47
Colors
I don't think you know about
the stain above the line of my
sight.  The colors that keep changing with each breathing,
the syllables that won't stay still.

There is a blot on my brain
that smears thoughts into a
puddle.  Did you ever see
yellow reach out like a
tentacle?  It grabs whatever
it can find.  Red is next, a
little less demanding but
still impenetrable.  

It's the blue that can ****.
Uncontained it flows over
my mind like a silent wave.

I can't show you because
I don't know the magic
phrase that makes the
inkblot go away.

Is it in the rainbow when God
said we are alone now?  I
flay in the flow of the thought
that we got on the boat in
the first place.

You cannot see what I hide,
from even myself.  You may
hold me, and if you can, find
the color of safety.

Caroline Shank
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