Daddy

Your handsome face stares
out from a weathered picture frame
into my life, the life you created.

More than creation, you lifted me into
a world of puppy dogs’ tails, fish
at the end of a pole, and sharpshooters.

Your aim was straight and exact, calculated
so you hit the mark in your patient way, forever
waiting for the rest of us to follow.

You remain my tower of strength, a stable rock
upon which I can depend, the blessing
in an otherwise churning river of disappointment.

I imagine you perched on a stool in my kitchen, sipping
a cup of instant coffee, no cream,
listening to me talk about dreams and lovers.

I picture your advice to me this day, when
fathers everywhere are exalted just for being, for
their love, kindness and understanding.

To feel the comfort of your hug right now, Daddy,
just one more time, would revive my faith in men
and erase the pain for yet another day.

–Victoria Emmons, Copyright 2015

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

Sometimes a Light

Passes through
The morning haze
Signals dawn
About to emerge
In tandem with
Faith and courage

A light so bright
That eyes close
Thoughts reveal
A stillness
A kind of wonder
About life

Sometimes a heart
Peers through a door
Hopes for tomorrow
And breathes anew
As solace for tears
Left behind

A heart so strong
Overwhelming joy
Random love
Kindness filled
To the brim
With tragedy

Sometimes at dusk
Night escapes
Our grasp and
Forfeits sleep in
Favor of dreamy
Peaceful endings

—Victoria Emmons © 2015

The Sting

of the palm
as it reaches
the cheek,
the innocent
cheek, all
glowing and pink.

The pain
of the sting
as it crosses
the lips,
the sensuous
lips, so
worthy and free.

The wrath
of the world
as it crushes
the head,
the pulsating
head, once
brilliant, now dead.

The sound
of the crowd
as it mimics
the man,
the jabbering
man, once
noble and proud.

The hush
of the wind
as it drifts through
the hair,
the beautiful
hair, all
silky and clean.

The joy
of the girl
as she opens
the lock,
the garden
unlocked, now
sodden and flush.

The birth
of the bud
as it carries
the sting,
the heart-wrenching
sting, all
hidden and fine.

The cry
of the babe
as he wants her
to stay,
the boy not
at play, so
tearful and pained.

The sting
of the palm
as it reaches
the cheek,
the hardening
cheek, all
knowing and deep.

The pain
of the sting
as it crosses
the heart,
the withering
heart, no
longer a part.

— Victoria Emmons ©2013

Urchins

Purple urchins tossed
Into seaweed mountains
Crushed by a wave

Sandy coins washed
Ashore under driftwood
Sculpted by the sea

Shards of blue porcelain
Chiseled over time
Piled by change

Castles of sea foam
Dance in ocean meadows
Vanquished by wind

Nature unleashed
Through powers unknown
So who sculpted me?

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

The Legacy of the Sisters

Be that as it may
They came
With no warning
Just like the cancer

They raked
They cooked
They sat with him
In his loneliness

They laughed
At TV game shows
Puzzled through
NY Times crosswords

They worried
They fretted
They gave their time
And their love

And they brought
The small, white
Plastic trash bags
For the remains

Neatly lining
All five of the
Small, round cans
In the bedroom

They dutifully
Emptied each bag
Once a day
Of its toxic contents

Their legacy
Of love…
And then they
Said goodbye

-Victoria Emmons, © 2011

One Ticket

Is enough
Two too many
To find a date
To wait and wait
For him to state
His intentions

One lonely ticket
Two far gone
To hear a sound
Of my past life
With my old man
His favorite song

One is okay
Not two or three
Or even four
Just one
One lonely life
To hear the score

Of violins and
Saxophone dreams
A piano note or two
Blend the cacophony
Of life together
With a single tune

–Victoria Emmons, © 2013