A Year of Poems – Day 263

Black hair, a concentrated face
Hand held like Hamlet,
Skull replaced with a small thin brick,
The same depth of question on her mind,
And I wonder why we don’t paint with words.

They are what are running through her head,
Some carried on thin wires to her ears,
But more buzzing in between
with faster speeds than fiber.
Eyes gaze past trees into her head
at the highway traffic inside.
She walks the pavement in these stolen hours.

There is so much you cannot see,
That I no longer see as I write.
Her clothes have faded into black and white,
There was a headband, but little else remains in memory
Save her eyes, the arch of her wrist,
The phone she held like a violin,
And her hair, darker than her plastic phone.

Memory is a poor thing.
It holds less pigment than paint
Yet the words sung in her skull
Escape both paint and poems.
We paint what we see and guess
Each creating windows to the ocean floor
When we only see the ripples.

A Year of Poems – Day 261

Back curved, eyes down –
shame digs at concrete
scratches slate, seeks purchase
till the eyeballs bleed.
They should snap –
puzzles gliding on silk.
They dig frenetic,
desperate to escape
soft disparate beauty –
faces like Persian rugs no one see.
Children don’t look down…
until they’re taught.
Let us be better schoolrooms.

A Year of Poems – Day 260

“I know what it’s like to be stranded”
A boat without a sail caught on still water
The moment at night between two breaths
The mind panics, flounders, drags the body down.
If only the breath would relegate,
but if it did I’d breathe in water.
If only there was a rope,
Wasn’t there a rope,
I planned for this.
Was the rope tied?
I want to ask
But the wind rips my breath
From my lungs.
I’m falling.
Then the voice comes again
Or maybe it only came once,
It just took a second to penetrate,
“I can help, I know what it’s like to be stranded.”

A Year of Poems – Day 258

Bright Wings, bend quick to bring me home,
for I have wandered far from nest
where I felt first your warm feathers
brood oe’r me lest I leap and fall,
but I did leap and plummet fast
from plumage to the hard-packed earth,
perishing till you plucked me back
yet I persisted in falling –
a woodpecker searching metal
for the soft sustenance of bugs –
until you let me fall and fly
from the warmth of downy breast
to come and go across the lands.

But twilight stalks the singing dawn.
No teacher sung the sun awake
that I might see and learn to sing
and so my dawns were silent dark.
I, a deaf robin, tried to hunt
but tone-deaf earth brings forth no worms
and I cannot conduct the ground,
nor take wing to the bent burned stumps
when death circles to burn me down
and wolf away my frayed feathers.
Teach me to greet dawn with your song.
Show me your patch of teeming soil.
Tuck me tight between nest and wing
that I might learn to build my life
and learn to use my wings like you.