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.
So simple the design of a drawer,
pull and push, search for something lost,
a ribbon, a jar of ground cloves,
zebra-striped pasta long and narrow,
a green marbled heart meant to
give away, but kept.
Drawers contain books to read, journals
to write, secrets to hide or discover,
an entire family history stored for
at least a decade or more waiting
to hand down to the next generation.
The empty one my least favorite, second drawer
of the tall dresser, the one he used to fill
with socks. Now barren, the drawer’s
cedar wood frame houses a familiar scent
that lingers so I won’t forget.
Crown of the hillside stretches beyond
imagination farther than vision allows
to a divine world of plenty,
too precious to be mine.
Sparky and I follow the path across
a grassy meadow teeming with life that
foretells spring, falling snowflakes
a reminder that change comes with pain.
Bearable silence surrounds us, stunning and real,
envelopes us as if a cloak of solace has risen up
to engage. We stand amidst Heaven on Earth,
breathing in its glory and wonderment.
Creatures of all colors reside in harmony as sunset
overtakes the day, surpasses our wildest dreams.
Wildlife define their routines as we do ours,
cautious, yet equal, we walk similar paths.
A dozen white flags rise up on the horizon,
quiet and still at first, eyes watch, ears listen,
then tails wave madly, thundering out of fear
down into the valley the herd flies.
We stop, creep closer to the edge, observe the show
as ten or twelve deer race to safer ground.
Sparky raises her own little, white flag in tribute.
In silence, we walk on together, surrender to the hillside.
I remember the 13 x 9 x 2 aluminum version
Carving out perfect brownies for a crowd
Or the glass model 8 x 6 x 2, the smaller size
For the rare few who stayed up late
I remember baked-on grease forever embedded
Into the fabric of the pans, creating their own
Modern artwork in a chaotic kitchen
The result of motherhood gone awry
Baking meant sustenance, but more than that
It revealed ingenious fortitude, cleverness and pride
Combined with creativity that surpassed all else
I remember that creativity, that strength
And I remember the love that went into each egg
Fried into a perfectly shaped circle inside a slice of bread
A circle that we called breakfast, along with crisp bacon
And always a glass of whole milk or juice, our choice
I remember taking turns at the bar, slipping onto a warm stool
In front of a previously occupied plate still wet with yellow yolk
That she shoved aside to replace with a new, warm toad
One that would be consumed in time to catch a school bus
I remember the burnt days, too, clouded with emotion
Fervent spirit doused for an hour or two, yet
Toad-in-a-hole breakfasts kept flying out of her kitchen
Into our hearts and souls, all four of us children
I remember her pans as I retrieve my own small one
From the dishwasher, not as clean as I would like
The glass still living with some of last night’s meal
My carelessness, the wrong machine setting
I remember we had no dishwasher then, a luxury,
Washed by hand, each greasy skillet or brownie pan
Thus why the grease remained, no doubt, what strength
Do children have to scrub away the toughest stains?
Tools at my disposal, I begin to work, fingers dry and sore
From steel wool combined with cleaning powder that
Lasts as long as I do to see every last speck of memory stain
Removed forever, or until the next chicken Marsala bakes