Molly and Thomas

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Molly and Thomas

Apropos of very little,
Prompted by the need for a historical, declarative, emergency statement in the event of my capture,
My mind builds a vignette
Molly and Thomas.
A grey tabby lady with a calm demeanor and a thin tail,
A grey tabby boy with a white chest and long whiskers.
Sitting next to me on an ugly brown couch, Dad’s favorite.
We’re watching “A League of their Own.”
I get so frustrated at the end I slapped my hand down and sent Molly skittering.
My mother scolds me for my temper.
I wonder – will this mise en scène be so clear when the camouflaged men stand over me and ask me authentication questions?
“What were the names of your cats in 1990?”
Will I remember that raggedy brown couch?
Will I feel that tuft of white fur?
Or will I simply stutter out in fear their names like anchor points
Holding my mind down in chaos?
The crystalline historical certainty of Molly and Thomas,
Reaching through time to verify me as their human.

Three minutes, forty-six seconds

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“Would you like to go out tonight? Said Tristan to Isolde…”
I am sitting in a corner, writing
Looking at an old cranberry couch with two brightly striped pillows
Fiesta-ware fabric resting after the festivities
A dining table covered in bottles
“God I love you, but you trouble me…”
Two dingy socked feet, sticking out from under a cream-colored blanket
A beautiful, untouchable arm grazing the floor
And a poor girl, unable to do more than gaze and write
“It’s ok I guess, but that story’s pretty old…”
Sitting wistful in a sunny patch of a small room
Afraid of time
The perfect length of a self-preserving memory
A curio-cabinet feature in the making
To be dusted off for future cherishing
This memory should not last longer than a song
“Said Tristan to Isolde…”

Phantom Fingers

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I cannot have your phantom fingers
On the nape of my neck,
Rolling over my earlobes,
Running parallel lines down my spine.
I have responsibilities.
I have schedules, calendars, deadlines.
Your hands, and their lingering indentations,
insinuations, and general implications,
need to find time in the aforementioned schedule
when I can devote the necessary mental energy
to reveling in their phantom touch.
As it stands, they are an annoyance,
a reminder that I was more agreeably occupied.
Now I have work to do.
I cannot afford to be distracted
By the ghostly sensation of pleasant pressures.
This is me, not being distracted.
Not being tempted.
Not remembering.
Am I succeeding?
No.
I am not.

Setting a Table for Death and Memory

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A mirror near a wine glass,
Black iron forks and knives,
I set a table brimming full
Before the guests arrive.

I need not write out place cards.
My guests will fall in line.
They know their roles and stations
At the table that is mine.

I string the beads and baubles,
Lay hyacinths and vines,
Put out the pats of butter,
Warm the bread ahead of time.

I set a place for Memory,
Who needs a silver cup
To better hold her many tales
And fill the goblet up.

Grief asked for nothing on her plate.
Lust asked for cherry wine.
Love wished to never sit alone
So that she would not pine.

For Pride, the gold-flecked salad plate.
For Wisdom tea and grain
Creativity required all the spoons
For Reason coffee plain.

I paused a moment at the chair
Of jeweled gray stone and sand,
For Death had asked for nothing
But the pleasure of my hand.

A lifetime’s work completed,
The table long and fair.
And all the guests arrive in time
Each is awaited there.

Memory sits at the far end.
Death sits at my right.
The guests discuss and chuckle
Bathed in beeswax candlelight.

The mind is a proper hostess,
And so she bids them stay.
But as the dawn commences,
The ghosts they must away.

The body then awakens
To the calmness of the light,
Without a thought to all the work
That went on through the night.

—–

GRRR – Ok, I know I have a better ending in my brain somewhere. This poem is wily, and does not want me to put it down.

Soon though, it’ll come to me.

Stone Necklace

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Stone Necklace

There remains a bit of sun in the stone around my neck.
A touch of sand, a hint of breeze upon a sunburned deck.

I catch a flash of turquoise sea, a wisp of sapphire sky.
And if I focus really hard, I hear the waves roll by.

And in the weight that sits within the stone around my neck
Settle dreams and scraps of hope in every little speck.

How fortunate, I realize, on days when I sit still
I have a stone around my neck whose memories never will.

Scent of an Ex

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Scent of an Ex

This room smells like a good kisser

With a collection of liberated street signs.

I’m caught in the fragrance of my ex –

Old denim. Facial hair.

Glasses and a knack with computers.

Slightly clammy arms and machinery.

It’s the scent of a difficult but correct decision.

I had thought smell was individual, like fingerprints.

But perhaps, to memory, a person is a collection of tiny smells,

Each carrying a memory to the nostrils of the unprepared.

It passes with the gaggle of boys walking by.

Replaced by the scent of brisket, whiskey, and promise.

Passing a House

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Passing a House

Returning to work I pass a house.
Repainted four times, that house.
I remember when it was white.
Sort of.
What I really remember is the moon –
A sort of full moon
And a few dwindling stars in a sky full of slate.
The sun was not up, but we were.
I felt the heater’s hot air on my tiny arms
And I looked up at the cold moon.

I could not tell you the name
Of the family that watched me those early mornings
When Mom had to go to Chicago to teach,
When I had school,
When Dad was off flying helicopters in a war.
But I remember their maple wood table, deep amber wood,
I remember chocolate chip pancakes.
Dry pancakes, moist chips,
And a sort of full moon.