Unfair that I should
on a comfortable chaise
next to a clear, blue
pool of running water,
a sound to calm my nerves,
steady my heart,
settle my head,
reconcile what is left
of a rather long life.
Unfair that a mother
her young son,
a father should
bring his daughter
home to Pakistan
in a coffin,
a birthday party
should be cancelled
in favor of a funeral,
the boy turned 17
still hugs his
creation laying silent
on an art room floor.
Unfair that death
to others is the answer
to self loathing,
revenge the choice
for an unkind word,
no matter the tool —
fist to the nose,
trigger to the head,
stab to the heart —
killing the answer.
Unfair that funerals
beget more funerals,
a killing ground for
the lonely, desperate,
the baby born
with no mother,
no love, no compassion,
no enthusiasm for life.
Unfair that life
is over when
it is over.
No second thoughts.
No second chance to rewind,
reconsider the action,
about to unfold.
that one sad person
ready to pull the trigger.
Cup without a saucer
First name without a last
Activist without a handmade sign
Monkey without a banana to eat
Home without a state
State without a name
Hand without a finger
Nowhere is home
No place is mine
Where a heart resides in peace
Accepted by rulers
who prey upon strangers
and do not tolerate salt
Toes have lost all feeling.
Trigger finger feigns sleep
as night approaches for
the fourteenth time.
Wait for something new.
A stir under a bush,
light in a wet jungle
unwilling to relinquish
hidden eyes revealed.
A faraway cough
threatens my dreams
of playgrounds and
A flash of fire
disrupts the cloud of
greenfinches bedding down.
All Hell awakens.
Weep not for me, sweet redbud tree,
Thy leaves will take no chances
Each heart resides most playfully
Upon thy silken branches
Dangling in the wind they sing
Hearts ready for damnation
Search for love against the wind
And hope for procreation
Young ones be the shiniest
Deep ruby red reaction
Thus what creature dare resist
So lovely an attraction
Seeds strewn about with local help
Assures that love will grow
New heart-shaped leaves thus soon to sprout
Come melting winter snow
Wouldst that my own heart sing so loud
And dance to its own tune
While suitors called upon my door
In light of harvest moon
These ruby lips await the kiss
That stirs my dormant soul
Much as the weeping redbud waits
‘Til she achieves her goal
Be patient, she advises me,
Love grows at its own pace
The kindest words, a gentle touch
That make a red heart race
When redbud leaves remain too long
Their red begins to fade
In favor of a dulling green
That hides beneath the shade
Younger leaves retake the stage
Flash colors in the sun
As older ones accept their place
Their usefulness now done
Yet hidden behind a shady branch
Old lovers rekindle a flame
Dull green, a few new dents perhaps,
Still loving all the same
–Victoria Emmons, 2017
While visiting friends in North Carolina, I discovered a Weeping Redbud tree in the yard. The tree’s red, perfectly heart-shaped leaves fascinated me. Then I noticed the older leaves were solid green, having lost their brilliant, red color. It reminded me of the joy of finding love.
The invisible line is cast across the river,
across the canyon, or the ages, obstacles
that find us as we travel dusty roads, always
searching, forever unsure. Pleasure in
windblown branches hobbled against the slant
of a craggy mountain, predicted to lose,
yet they blossom, somehow gaining strength
from light and the occasional storm.
Rain is approaching current location
and is expected within thirty minutes.
The line reaches out, centuries compelled
to forge a lineage unbroken. The invisible line.
Our heritage. We cannot see them, nor they us.
Mere black and white images painted by the
hand of a craftsman or a Brownie Instamatic.
They smile or laugh, more often
furrow brows within the frames of their lives.
History recorded in a frown, perhaps too serious
the thought of the invisible line.
Rain is falling now.
The burden remains. Casting the line is all
too frightening, creates a link in a chain that
cannot be undone. Populate. Procreate. Pass.
The cycle begs for renewal. And so we perform.
In our innocence and duty, the people perform,
create the invisible line that stretches from
one generation to another. The line sends all
our oneness to the next and the next,
on down the line.
The wind blows harder.
Never an end of the line, just a passing
of the wonderment of life, love, creation,
knowledge, laughter, responsibility, inspiration,
thoughtfulness, caring, tolerance, joy, simplicity.
Never an end. Always a new beginning.
The invisible line is not broken, merely
reflected in the crystal blue eyes of a child,
the exploration of a scientific discovery,
the digital painting of a sorrowful face.
Black clouds ahead.
Cast your line. An ocean awaits. Sandy shores
reside amongst the clouds, no matter their color
or shape. The line must be cast. Too late for
indecision. Stretch out your heart to the next
in line. Leave your trace of glory to be retold
in story after story. The blessed line.
Follow it and find the softest space in Heaven,
find those who climbed in before you.
Rain clearing by tomorrow morning.
–Victoria Emmons, May 2017 for Uncle Jim