The stories I might live

I tried to write the joy
that has overtaken me
and somehow, mostly
bitterness came through.
Bemoaning the body
I once had, the appetites
that now seem foreign,
the stories I thought
I might live. The sun, moon,
and break from headaches
seem like lofty ideals
like the romance of star maps
or endearments I’ll never feel.

Have I been swallowing
great big gulps of sadness
too long? Is it disappointment
twisting my stomach into
a chronic condition?

Web MD says it could be stress or
menopause or food sensitivities
or latent trauma rearing its head
like Nessie refusing to be caught.

I watch the flowers bloom and wither
and feel I’m keeping pace
with things that are too fleeting.

Storm over the field

Carved into the side of the day,
something shaped like a woman
yet moving like a river
crosses his fields of billowing grasses
and rumbling bees.
They await some moment
that feels inevitable, as sure as
sunset at the end of the carnival
and as full as the apple tree
just before summer’s end.
Her hips push the clouds
further west while her laugh
makes it rain in the next town.
He holds steady at the edge
of the porch, scanning the horizon
for the gathering storm.
They both imagine their hands
full of each other as they laugh
amid the harvest.

By way of a cracked sidewalk in Winston-Salem

The old lady in the grand house
used to dole out little candies
which seemed most special
because they were small, infrequent,
and welcome to a lonely little girl.
I remember sitting quietly and chatting,
feeling lifted by her elegance and wondering
why she was so alone
amid her gleaming floors and fancy piano.
It was shadowy inside even on a sunny day.
Somehow I imagined this woman
an eccentric mystery I would one day solve.

There have been times I have felt
so damn empty as a grownup,
I take big handfuls of those candies
and aside from a few moments
of delight, am still empty afterwards
-and a little bit alone. It occurs to me
I am diluting a pure memory
by the sheer volume of comfort I seek.
And it occurs to me that not only is she
still a mystery, but I am on my way
to becoming an eccentric old lady too,
full of stories and candy to share.

Marching on

The days blur together
as mice march on
through fields of wheat
in a drought, no complaints
as long as they have direction.
The wind is a tease, carrying rain
further away like a shimmering
mirage; none of us stand a chance
when thirsty. The moon takes pity
on those burned in the light
and soothes worries away in the dark.
Marching will continue tomorrow.

Listening to nightfall

Once the sun has gone,
trees break free
of their static shapes
and make all sorts
of dynamic twists
in the moonlight.
Frogs sing hymns
to their circles of
flowers as they can,
knowing their roots
swim with lost tails.
Sleepy flowers sway
in breezes, taking the night
from petal to petal
without reaching,
a dance of quiet delight,
all lovers and dreamers
embracing in shadow.