outside echoes

almost frightens me, returning to these older pieces and rewriting them entirely, save a salvageable line or two
what’s scary is how I thought the originals – when written – were halfway decent
I took this photo off my back deck a few weeks ago

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for Karole

in memory of my dear mother-in-law, Karole
June 29, 1933 – February 7, 2018

solitary fish

She keeps her Siamese Fighting fish in a glass bowl
Gravel glimmering in aquatic blues and mermaid greens
A solitary fish might believe lake, or better yet, ocean
The pet store suggests Sammy live alone,
otherwise he might kill his friend
The red-orange Betta is fire under water
She is fire under water too
Her lavender room is a glass bowl
She and Sammy swim in tiny circles in small worlds
A wooden peace sign beneath her bed
Painted with glitter and all the paint jars within reach on the picnic table
Long wooden benches occupied with sweaty kids who whittled words into tiny canoes from two-by-four scraps
The wood, leftover construction from a nearby development
She swims in a luxurious new home
many rooms, many spaces, glass bubbles, no air
The peace sign is tacked behind Sammy’s bowl
It reminds her of summer camp, a happy temporary time
fair-weather friends
She grows into autumn alone
The seasons, solitary
A huge house and a small fishbowl
one mother
one daughter
one fish

Hair Hiding

latent images

You press my eyelashes to my face, so I can sleep
You understand how latent images frighten me
Linger-ers of things no longer here
Specters of visions previously forgotten
My REM world has no room for ghosts,
when my daily world explodes with spiriting insanity
The floating muses who once fed me fire are burning away my soul
Half the time, I want to die
The other half, I need you
You hum my favorite song to me, even though you think a tune from,
Mr. Magoo’s: A Christmas Carol, is ridiculous
“…millions of grains of sand on the shore, why such a lonely beach…”
Taunting demons keep the headless roosters raving in my head
I badly need your sweet notes, like cotton clouds, to muffle these assaults

There is an empty slope on your side of the mattress
I smell your assuring body in the pillows–
beautiful lips in the sheets
Your undisturbed water glass has collected my tears
Singing silence, is a sound worse than death
Death, is a sound the earth hums when her children return home
I’ve sliced off my eyelashes
Shoved broken toothpicks against my sockets
Stare at the television without blinking
Click the remote
Latent creatures slither into my eyes
Crawl up the sides of my brain–
rip at the cracks of my skull
They whisper horrid things to the better part of me
I will dance with demons
I will romance angels
I will scream at the Holy Spirit
I will allow all manner of vindictive specter–
every hellacious image of the night to dwell within my soul
I will not desist until you rest beside me again
I am not supposed to be here without you