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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
autumn golds the leaves
the cool breeze stirs the summer's
winding song to winter
                                


Caroline Shank
Completes my seasons haiku cycle
(I've seen fire and I've seen rain.
No wait that's been used.
I always knew someday you'd walk through my door… no not that either.)

I walk downtown and there
you are.  I watch your long
unseen smile catch you
unaware when you see me.

There are fragments of that
smile in the shop window.
You reach to catch
my hand.

My memory flickers with the
walklight.  Four seconds to
caution.  Three, two, 1, I run
slowly to your waiting arms.

I float, no wait, I glide to
the other side of the street.
Trust is flung aside, the
movement of air on my face
brushes the air on your
face through the sunlit
afternoon.  

I am a ripened Autumn leaf.  
I slide into the present
moment aware at last
I am a dreamer in a blue
lawn chair.

Caroline Shank
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The wind is cold, the night is long.
I never sleep.  You are gone.
Swirls of pain
surround me and I leave my
body behind.

I cling to the fastness of thought,
somersault through millennia
to witness you through the
blinkless eye of light.

Time is an illusion.  We met
in the unformed moment of
creation, chased each other
around the universe.  A
cosmology of wonder.

Now, at the last,  
moments of my life
collapse down  
death like ivy on
winter bricks.

Caroline Shank
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
There is in the wind a name
so strong, so implacable as
to pass through the strongest
resistance.

There are in the sky arms so
warm they capture the prayers
of everyone.  The nuances of
language are known as a
thought blown to Heaven.

There is a star for each person
that outshines even the brightest
glow.  

Stars are born on the cusp of
love.  There is the whirl and twirl
of cosmic dust which brings
names to things.  

Your name was sprinkled on me
before the beginning of
the bang from which cosmic
destiny emerged.

It is only through the dancing
of dust that we find
each other covered in the
molecules from which
we are all born.  Through
which we will incarnate
together forever.

It is the cosmic dance, said
Maude, that "there are all
kinds of observable differences"
which makes every moment
ineffably perfect. Every encounter
unique.  We are all there ever
was or will be.  A swirl of magic
wrapped around us.  

We are all borne on the breeze.

Caroline Shank
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
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
Everyday I look for you.
You navigate me.  

What I am
afraid of is simple.
Will you notice me in the
millennia since then?
Will the white hair
camouflage me?

It's better if I stop looking
for your red curls
along the sidewalks
of my past.

I am going to go to the
god of past bells to stop
the ringing of your name.
I will have no luck there
but I will try to get to
tomorrow without you.

You warm me, like those
summer steps in the rain.

Caroline Shank
I studied a little mythology, some Jung, a tad Freud.  I've read Durrell and Robertson Davies among other things.  I am in tangles over
myself.

My Id  is full of archetypes.  My
Ego is aware of my upside down
Superego.  My parents were
Very ******* up. It's no wonder
I lick my fingers before I eat
the soup.  It's the Golden Bowl
thing.  I think that's it.

I am populated with fantasies.
I can fly around the sun w/o
melting, visit Grandma and slay
dragons before lunch.

I save my children from the
Gorgons around them and
clean their faces when they
are done.  It's a hero thing.

I can ****** Poseidon when I
feel like it but that ****** trident
undoes me everytime.

I was your Anima when I was
younger now I am your crone.
I could never get Siggy to
realize that.  It was in a coke
cookie moment I gave my
soul to Shakespeare and
died old and unrepent.

It is in mythology that
you love me. Only me
and Forever.

I am Everywoman.


Caroline Shank
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
.

I cannot rival your blue eyes
Or the whirling
winds of your infinite skies.  

Windworn leaves tumble at
your step.  Winter turns to
summer where you are.

Walk to me slowly that I may
savor the trail you leave on
your way to my page.

I write you into time.  I hear
the bells ripple.
I have seen you travel in dreams.  

You leave me always wanting
you more than there is air above
me or ground below.

Stay where I am for now.
Use me with love.
Your song.

Caroline Shank
11.19.1 9
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.
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
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
We have ridden camels
in the Kalahari,
Flew Eagles over Canada,
walked across the Niagra.

We have boated up the
Nile and pierced the
catacombs of Rome.
We made love by the
red rock in Australia.

Our adventures overlap
memory.
We've spun the Sun and
tossed the moon,
walked on coals,
groomed gorillas and
climbed to Lhasa.

We were married in Tibet,
among the Chinese stalls,
made our way to India
and slept with tigers.

The planet swings
as we kiss, and spins
to the rhythm of Joy.


Caroline Shank
"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
We met in the early days of the planet.
I remember the radical color of your
amber hair.  There were curls there
that only the gods made.

I remember you.  I loved the simple
act of breathing your name.  Prehistory
awakened in me the sovereign blessing
of your inimitable love.

I remember you, do you remember me?
Someday you will be here again and
we will know the depth of the night,
the height of the day and the
remembered purr of our bodies.

I wait here on the divan of day.
You will breathe my air again.

I wait.


Caroline Shank
We met in the early days of the planet.
I remember the radical color of your
amber hair.  There were curls there
that only the gods made.

I remember you.  I loved the simple
act of breathing your name.  Prehistory
awakened in me the sovereign blessing
of your inimitable love.

I remember you, do you remember me?
Someday you will be here again and
we will know the depth of the night,
the height of the day and the
remembered purr of our bodies.

I wait here on the divan of day.
You will breathe my air again.

I wait.


Caroline Shank
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
It's when the tears dry up,
when the arms are no longer
feeling the loss, when unkissed
the days end that sorrow becomes
memory only and the flat back
of yesterday loses color.

Try harder to replace the moments
strangely forgotten, to remember
the trust, to relive.  Wrapped in memories that once slayed
the dragons of doubt only to
find the pieces of a life unloved
after all in simple shards incapable
of stinging that the ends of
believing are achieved.

This ceases to be a cause for
fear, this lost labor at last
unexpected but tired with
unstrain and blurred with
yesterday's tears.

To lose is always a shock.
To cease to be moved
is a thud in the soul of time.


Caroline Shank
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
Karma brought me here.
I meditated long enough
to realize the sun beyond
the gloom.
I found in the **** heaps of
a life only crippled a piece
of light.

Karma is a whisper.
caught and warm.
It is the song
through which I dance.


Caroline Shank
Karma brought me here.
I meditated long enough
to realize the sun beyond
the gloom.
I found in the **** heaps of
a life only crippled a piece
of light.

Karma is a whisper.
caught and warm.
It is the song
through which I dance.


Caroline Shank
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
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
(A portrait of a Lady
brushed across time.
A fragment of life one
afternoon in a poem.)

She drops through your
memory like music from
a farther room.  Her death
is filtered.  Colors
are flowers on the grass.

You are a prism or a vessel.
You come and go.
Time goes into stone.
Pain is a fossil.  It will
be here a billion years.


Caroline Shank
Written several years ago to commemorate the death of a friend's wife.  Published in the Cincinnati Review
Midnight slouches to
A Manger in a cold straw
barn where He is born.

Caroline Shank
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
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
It's New Year again

Winter brings another flavor

to my lonely heart.


Caroline Shank

12.31.19
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
I miss the real photographs.
The leaves of pictures I turn
over. The names and dates.
The high school graduation
memories.

My babies growing up when
film was their reflection of
summer and school. The
birthday parties slightly
blurred, a little out of focus.

The didital cameras next
with their zingy zoom.  A
little clearer now blurred
by tears.  

I hold these images to be
self-evident memories. I
hold them to my face to
smell the suntan lotion
and the scents of pine and
snow.  The birthday candles.

I choke on school pictures.
New haircuts each year. The
leather of first days.

The photograph albums are
stored for space.  I miss the
luxury of turning leaves. The oh wows of yesterday's Kodak
captured babies little butts.

My phone has a thousand
pictures In the palm of my
hand

I never look at but can
share in email in a
solipsistic minute and
click to the end.

Caroline Shank
Tomorrow creeps, no wait the
Bard already used that line.
Let me say that tomorrow slings
it's way into me. It's like an
arrow from the Promised Land.
Tomorrow whips across me. I
wipe the sweat of it with
a damp hand.

Panic wets me like rain.  It
waits for tomorrow which,
collides with today and my
fists ball in terror.  Sleep
never soothes this breast,
it barely makes it in the front
door.

I breathe deeply, or try to.
What will help is greatly
misunderstood.  A prescription
for today to stop tomorrow.
Which will slam me to the
floor anyway.

I shake myself awake.  

It is always today.
I stumble on.

Caroline Shank
Tomorrow creeps, no wait the
Bard already used that line.
Let me say that tomorrow slings
it's way into me. It's like an
arrow from the Promised Land.
Tomorrow whips across me. I
wipe the sweat of it with
a damp hand.

Panic wets me like rain.  It
waits for tomorrow which,
collides with today and my
fists ball in terror.  Sleep
never soothes this breast,
it barely makes it in the front
door.

I breathe deeply, or try to.
What will help is greatly
misunderstood.  A prescription
for today to stop tomorrow.
Which will slam me to the
floor anyway.

I shake myself awake.  

It is always today.
I stumble on.

Caroline Shank
10.27.19
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
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?
I am reminded of your face
when the wind blows over me,
when the sun's light shifts
to summer.

We knew each other
in the solstice of our
lives once.  You turned to
me and the light streamed.

Remember me in that light.
My hair not yet quite white.
Remember me in the
while of time.  I was the
wine in your glass's
reflection.  You were
the glass in my
Waterford world.

Run to me.  But know I am
fragile, still afraid.
You left me in the rain.
Come to me now
in the sun
of your returning.



Caroline Shank
he is still asleep

she watches television

another day starts



Caroline Shank
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
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
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.
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
Haiku.    Snow

Winter comes early
The leaves are not yet raked in
The snow covers all.
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