Mud

A gift of mud
From a dear friend
Turns my head
In a new direction

Not just any mud,
Of course, since
This mud traveled
Long distances

Through customs
Weighting down an
Already heavy suitcase
Of trinkets and souvenirs

This mud revered
By millions over time
Anecdote for pain
Soothing an ache or two

And now mine
To ease the hurt
Of an aging body
And cloudy mind

The mud draws me
Closer again
Pulls me toward
The clear water

Falls tumble
Over the edge
Like so many
Nights I remember

The sound of the flow
As it eased his pain
Warmth the only remedy
For his affliction

All these years
I could not go
Near the water
Or the memories

Of that huge tub
Filled with pain
And agony
Loneliness and sorrow

At night I hear
The faucet running still
As it was those dark
And deadly nights

Awakening me with
The reality of a cancer
Poisoning life as
We once knew it

The mud equals
Renewal and healing
Fifteen to twenty minutes
Is all it promises

Skin renewed, soft
Gentle kindness
Rinsed away in
Warm waters

I can do this
My aging flesh
Will accept the hot
Pool beneath me

No longer must I hide
From the bathtub of death
When life beckons
Me to play

Ironic somehow
The birth of
This renewal mud
The Dead Sea

—Victoria Emmons © 2015

Rhyme

Sweaters too large conceal self-control
About to deteriorate into a pool of blood
Razor sharp threats pierce the softness
Barking orders to run and hide away

Run and hide away while you watch
From a distance, your height in charge
Of keeping calm and stone-faced despite
A crumbling world of madmen and goons

Madmen and goons shake the very core
Of what is goodness, charity, love, hope
As flagrant lies begin to believe themselves
Cherish false words, worship a dead horse

Worship a dead horse to make a fake point
About being serious enough to die together
End everything and everyone before it’s time
Because your life and mine is nothing but rhyme

—Victoria Emmons © 2015

Morning of a Different Kind

Wet nose nudges me
In the morning
Tells me a new day
Is about to launch

I groan for it is early
My brain not awake
My body too heavy
To face tomorrow

Dawn will not allow me
To linger too long in
The comfort of my pillow
Warmth of my covers

Outside of the bedding
Lies grief and pain
Too much sorrow
An empty world

I hide in my blanket
A castle of safety
Far away from
Impending storms

Wet nose a memory
A mere dream
Of what was
Will be no more

So on this day
This new year
Mourning
Of a different kind

In memory of Allie, 2001-2014

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

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Rings of Time

In the middle ring
The oldest of the circular
Bands of time that surround
My life in the kitchen
Lies the center of my world

Lively areas encircle me
Hug the very middle in a
Friendly way that feels calm
And loving, comfortable
Yet in need of a dust mop

Yellow fur balls float
In mid-step on a staircase
Filled with 20 years of
Family ups and downs
To nowhere and everywhere

The middle ring houses
Sizzling salmon or steak
Teacups for a visitor
Books packed with recipes
A loyal sleeping dog

A door swings open to
Tables and chairs awaiting
A friend or someone else
Who cares enough to listen
To my pounding heart

Loud voices fill the next room
Strangers in a digital frame
Tell me to swallow a pill
To cure my heartbreak or
Headache or incontinence

Bottles beckon in a dance
Of red and white and brown
Along the well-stocked bar
An adjoining ring of hope
To splash away worries

Beyond the walls lie the newest
Of the circles, those that tell
A story of love, nature and loss
Under an umbrella of shade
That covers my acre of life

Fear prevents me from scaling
The walls to the outer rings
Unable to risk failure
Or satisfaction,
Worse yet, a grand success

Safety is in the middle ring
Protection under glass
My soul divided must be scorned
Shame hidden deep within
Paralyzes me with laughter

Beg you, come out and play
They always try to coax
Knowing I will refuse
In favor of the inner prison
Where I must live to thrive

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

Open Doors for Baudelaire

BaudelaireI will not be ruled by my cat. No more is he allowed to curl up in the warmth of my lap. No longer is he invited to live under my roof. I brought him home five years ago when he only seven weeks old. The cute, little champagne kitten stood out from the rest of the litter in the cage that day. I only needed one kitten. That’s all. But the volunteer with the pet shelter convinced me I should have a pair. This kitten would need a playmate, she advised.

I have had cats for over half a century. I know all about cats. Or so I thought. I did know the volunteer’s suggestion had merit. Kittens like to play with one another, especially when I am off at work and they would be otherwise all alone. Having a playmate helps keep them from climbing curtains, scratching furniture and other untoward behavior.

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Rescue

Birdie

Birdie

The Saturday morning market attracted the usual crowd eager for organic vegetables and people watching. My shopping bag was heavy with zucchini, golden beets, white corn, a potato or two, and a paper bag of Cremini mushrooms. The farmer’s market is the best place to buy fig vinegar and some of Sister Sarah’s homemade canned tomatoes. I couldn’t take home much else. Or so I thought. Continue reading