The pond

The pond is open now.  The cold

of winter’s grip no longer holds

the water’s gently pulsing scroll.

Surprised, I watch the spring unfold.

Surprised, because I feared the toll

of losing you would break the whole

and leave me lost in endless past,

beyond the touch that might console.

But now the darker months have passed

And spring’s return to life is fast –

My walking’s gained a stronger pace –

As if from death you’ve come at last.

The pond is now a sacred place

Where on the waves I find your face.

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For my mother

In spring, the wind blew over you so fresh,

so full of hope, it seemed to be the breath

of dawn itself.  In summer, warmer winds

of sun and rain aroused the sleeping life

you knew was yours to give.  And in the fall,

the wind brings you the fragrance, sweet and strong,

of the fruits so gently nurtured by your hands.

Before the winter nights approach, and you

fend off the cold and cutting snows with coals

that glow in memory of fires past, lift

your face into the wind and feel the spring

again.  And if it may, allow the breeze

to speak my heart in whispers soft and brush

your cheek with my most tender, filial kiss.

A quiet light

The city lights looked coldly in at her

through jagged lines of the frost that gathers on

the panes in empty rooms.  What kept her eyes

from giving back the gaze was the naked bulb

that hung above her head.  What brought her to

that creaking room was dread–and aging locks

that fastened only when they turned just so.

She stood, at a loss amid the dark decay,

and worked to keep the night beyond the door.

And having scared the hallway rats with her steps

(a willful weight to each) in coming here,

she tried to scare whatever ears may lurk

in the shadowed streets below in stomping off.

The city nights have sounds–the highway’s whine,

the sirens’ scream, the cries of angry men–

that strike severely against a mother’s ears.

The locks are hurried to guard the inner night

against the outer, and tender songs are sung

to guard the children’s ears against the din.

She feared they might become easy neighbors

with it, and stroked their sable curls to ward

off any dreams the outer sounds inspire.

A light she was to no one beyond this room

where now she sat:  a quiet light amid

the gaudy glare, a gently warming glow

against the flashing neon ice.  She pressed

her lips against their tiny mouths, one kiss

to each of two faces scented with soap.

And then she slept.  The child closest to her

turned over in the bed, disturbing her,

and she shifted, but the day hung long

and heavy, weary on her and still she slept.

One young woman–alone–can’t keep a home,

a family, a dream, or if she can,

it’s thus she does it on a winter night.