Carla is part of this self-portrait since she helped me develop the character for a monologue. People loved Carla. I loved Carla. There are no words for such loss except ALS sucks! and hers:
Possibility of Hands
I hold your hand
palm up, lace your
fingers with mine,
stretch the palm wide
so my thumbs can press
tight muscles into pools
of softened warmth;
open, your hand could
slap a child’s face,
brush away crumbs,
press the sternum for
shape the sides of
a porcelain bowl
while fingers curved could
pull a trigger—crosshair
parting the bridge between
eyes, press rounded keys to
blow jazz through
brass, suture severed
flesh with catgut and needle—
within this skin
no purpose but life.
Thank you to the editors of Poets for Peace and http://lit.carayanpress.com for publishing this poem.
Dark in Light
Wanted to show you the moon
but cruised off the wrong ramp
and wound up in a war zone
where there is no curfew:
men standing solo in the middle of the street
or huddled, talking beneath burned-out lamps;
wanted to show you the soccer moon
but drove down darkened roads with bars
enclosing windows and doors,
barbed wire spiraling a hardware
store and nursery—planks and daisies
out of reach;
wanted you to count the seas
across that haloed orb
but drove alone
through neighborhoods as treeless
as that dog-song moon;
beat-up cars driven
beyond unmarked borders
pulled over by uniforms
with clubs and guns,
jagged tension cutting concrete air;
I want to know who
declared this war of Americans
children peer from sheeted windows,
women hide behind hollow doors,
a man looks up from an empty street,
each of us equal
distance from the sun’s reflective sphere.
Thank you to the editors of Something Like Homesickness and Literary Well/Pozo Literario for, respectively, printing and then reprinting this poem.
There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is a miracle.
When you touch me—I am
breath rather than a woman breathing.
One thousand wings, a single beat,
split sky with summer rain.
Breath rather than breathing
fills the empty glass.
Split sky with summer rain
to reveal horses carved in stone.
Fill the empty glass
with wine of roses, lilac, heather;
reveal horses carved in stone
but not hands that formed their symmetry.
With wine of roses, lilac, heather,
toast grass that fractures concrete blocks
but not hands that formed the symmetry
of streets concealing streams.
Toast grass that fractures concrete blocks
beside the woman reaching towards you;
on streets concealing streams
she begs for food, shelter beyond grasp.
There is a woman reaching towards you;
her face is old, possessions few,
as she begs for food, shelter beyond grasp,
and I see you, I see myself within her mask.
Her face is old, possessions few;
she came to laugh—she came to love,
and I see you, I see myself within her mask
reflecting how the earth breathes.
We came to laugh—we came to love;
one thousand wings, a single beat
reflecting how the earth breathes
when you touch me.
~ Thank you to the editors and staff at Screbendi http://scribendi.unm.edu/ for first publishing this poem.