Widowhood

 

Published in FROGPOND, Volume 43:1, Winter 2020:

 

 

 

 

widowhood

day blurs into evening

into night . . .

 

 

 

 

This poem is dedicated to my dear sister-in-law, Paulett Brylinski, who lost her beloved husband, Jimmy, in December 2017. Watching her learn to cope and live with grief has taught me so much about courage and love.

 

Woods Hole, MA – 3/30/14

 

 

 

All Tied Up

 

 

All Tied Up

All tied up neatly and compact
like so much of your life,
the detritus removed, just bits
& pieces, markers of your life.

A thin red string carefully tied,
a small artery of life, nothing wasted –
neither paper nor words, not
a sentence too much.

Once you were gone, we
searched, trying to find out who
you really were, your life story
unshared, no memories

or tears, no laughter at wild
faults that gather in the folds
of life lurching from drama
to drama and on to anecdote,

perhaps something true
retold and in each retelling,
the story stretched, becoming
richer, fragrant, unforgettable,

a story to listen to over and
over, anticipating the pauses,
watching your ease in building
the text up to a perfect climax

while we sat and held our breath
(even though we knew the end).
It didn’t matter—it didn’t matter
because they were your words,

your words carefully scrawled
in measured rows of indigo ink
tucked away in a small notebook
that never left your side,

while we (your listeners) waited
for something new to slip –
a clue to your other private story,
especially when your mood

shifted from a recognizable world
to a humming ether not understood,
but where we longed to follow
breathing in those tantalizing vapors.

Maybe we would be swept up
in our own story, someplace ready
to be shaped and formed into
the narrative of who we really are,

conjuring up a variety of characters
we wish we might be, a storyline
that could transform the ordinary
into something still undreamt. 

You were here once, but now
you are not, your secrets remain
a mystery, your demons and
your heroes vanished, too.

 

Two (winning) haiga

I don’t enter many poetry contests, but I do love to see what entries win or place in contests/competitions I enjoy and admire. There is always so much to learn from other writers, of course, and it is always an inspiration to see what others produce.

One competition I really wanted to enter was the Fourth Annual Jane Reichhold Memorial Haiga  Competition, which is co-hosted by Failed Haiku and Prune Juice, two of the very finest Senryu journals around. It is divided into two groups: the Traditional (i.e., with original drawn art) Category (judged by Ron C. Moss) and the Photographic/Mixed Media Category (judged by Steve Hodge). My two entries were in the second category using photographs I had taken. One was left untouched and the other was embellished by some art programs I enjoy using on my iPad.

Imagine my surprise when I found out one of my entries won First Place in the Photographic/Mixed Media Category and the other one got an Honorable Mention! Yes, I was over the moon. It’s a double honor indeed. All the other entries selected in both categories were wonderful. I really can’t imagine how an editor selects one over another, but they do. My thanks to editor, Steve Hodge for selecting both of my haiga in this competition. I am deeply honored. Thanks also to Mike Rehling and Brent Goodman who edit Failed Haiku and Prune Juice.

I’ve included the comments of the editor because it’s always great to hear someone else’s interpretation and response to a poem.

 

 

 

 

The voice I’d lost . . . (tanka)

 

 

it took sixty years
to find the voice I’d lost–
that day
blue dragonflies
alighted at water’s edge

 

 

 

Moonbathing, a Journal of Women’s Tanka, Fall/Winter 2019.      
Edited by Pamela A. Babusci

Life

Two tanka were published in

 

Eucalypt Issue 27, 2019

 

 

miscarriage—
the very word
betrays
the promise
of hope

 

 

 

 

persimmon sun
dips low and sets –
moonlight on the bed
where I was born
& where my father died

 

 

 

Dove photo by Merlune

 

 

 

Lemon oil rubbed on old wood . . .

 

Blithe Spirit 29:4, 2019 (two tanka)

 

 

 

the familiar scent
of lemon oil rubbed
on old wood –
a new cat finds a place
in your empty chair

* * *

 

 

on the ground
a nest of hatchlings
fallen from a tree –
how well you always
hid your pain