When the immortal became mortal…

I was eight, maybe nine, and it should have

changed my world to see that my father was

a mere mortal – flesh and bones and blood,

but it only made him more of a superman

to me, impervious to torn flesh and oozing

blood – deep red and opaque seeping from

the gash on his knuckle, layers of skin torn

away by a trowel as he gardened and I played

nearby; “Look,” was all he said and I peered

into his wound to see the bright white of his

bone exposed, a little knob of pearl between

the serrated opening, he bent his finger

and it danced, and for once I said nothing,

for almost fifty years; such a display should

cure the myth of paternal immortality,

but it’s effect was the exact opposite.

All that is right…

ladybug.jpgHow inconvenient the pause
which made everyone stop
for a child’s whimsy because
she saw a ladybug on top

of a black-eyed Susan just now
and with hands behind her back
she stumbled to a stop to spy,
wide-eyed I heard her purr,

as adults shifted impatiently
around the wonderful youth
cursing awe as she aimlessly
worshiped all that is right.

It was nothing special…

A grandfather took his
granddaughter to church today,
and it was nothing special;

he sat aside her as she refused
to leave his side as strangers
came close to wish her peace and
she clung tightly to a small toy horse
as grandfather’s hand rested on
her shoulder – showing bandages

and bruising and new scares from
the kind of things that come to all
who live so long to live; his suit fit
him once, I imagine, but today it
overwhelms his diminishing frame

as his granddaughters best dress
will soon be outgrown, and the words
they shared were few and
inconsequential it seemed to everyone
of us ignoring them because
it was nothing special.

Folding laundry…

When it’s past late but not yet early,
she stands aside a table searching her
laundry basket, folding towels and
matching socks by feel and fabric in the
dark and imagines all her children – all
at once – all now so far from her and
they’re all safe; it was so long ago
and everything else has changed,
the house is gone but she can still
hear the tap of their feet sneaking to
one another after bedtime, conversations
of no consequence crisscrossing dinners,
the splash of baths and the wet tangles
of exhausted heads on her shoulder,
and damp towels dropped anywhere,
gathered to wash and dry and be folded
in the dark alongside dozens and dozens
of socks matched by feel and fabric.

When she leaves to change the world…

leavingShe Will Not Always Come Home

From the very first there were clues
that she saw the world as her own,
her realm, home, hers to rule
with benevolent whimsy alone.

Off she’d go to play, learn, fly
charming allies, everyone’s queen;
every hello with an attending good bye,
assembling delight in her daily routine.

More she wandered, more she went,
the more she loved as she explored,
new and old with equal content;
a gypsy girl for journey’s reward.

Proud and pleased, by her she swirled,
unapologetically she’s set to roam;
off to change this amusing world
and she will not always come home.