reconciling living and after-living

the corners of his mouth are whispering hymnals
he carried her body beyond its limits
heaved her form, not more than the weight of pencils
with such delicate care, as one might if shaping glass swans by focused flame
he’s imagining living alone in the home they nurtured like a precious child

just out of reach, a white sandal with silver clasps waits under the bed
he’ll grab a hanger from the empty side of the closet
to hook the lanky strap

worn but spotless, the sandal dangles from his shaking fingers
salt and sea blow so hard that his tears cascade into foaming waves
the sandal drops to the floor, he is wrecked
the strap has curved almost perfectly
he smiles at this, then draws in deep
the lemon and mint scent of her breath
almond-shaped fingernails round his shoulder
she wipes his tears
where the ocean curves like the strap of a sandal and water runs like the trickle of tears
she will be waiting
to lift him when he can no longer walk
pear fingersdrawing done to show one of my art student’s how fun fruit can be, summer 2013


Happy B’earthday

squeezed to point of pain
between plates of hard glass
body facing east
breast facing west
lying on cold, aqua-blue vinyl
covered with white tissue wrap
lower extremes spread
invasive metal instruments
sitting in bare, beige room
upper arm cuffed and pumped
tongue extended
ears plundered
I do this for you
I wouldn’t do this for me
if there are soft infants
in your bright future
in healthy arms
I’d love to embrace them

Caroline baby/oil

Caroline baby/oil

Caroline in oil, painted 16 years ago.
My delicate daughter turns 17 on Earth Day
Happy B’earthday, Caroline
Happy Earth Day, too 🙂