elegance of old

when I saw her last, she was walking a bit slower
her gait still jaunty yet slightly bent
she moved with familiarity of her body
the memory of how she moved in youth
pivoting, twisting, stretching
all in quiet grace
fluid
but now she was forced to hesitate a bit
wait for her body to catch up with her mind
still sharp and bending
adventuresome
her eyes were a bit cloudy
not with tears of remembrance
but with aging melancholy
peaceful
she saw things now in a softer focus
knew what mattered
in a way she never dreamed or thought through
when she talked, it was a slower process
for her prose to come through
and when she sang
it wasn’t the cool higher tones of spring
but the warm dulcet tones of autumn
still beautiful in its season of color
wise
her time with her instrument was limited
for her grip was not as strong
but she could still sketch truth
better than anyone I have known
imaginative
she still insisted upon baking her bread
and growing her garden
until she could create no longer
for though these things seemed to me fleeting
she knew that’s what I’d remember most
tangible
she looked askance at her photographs
that filled the wall behind the sofa
some yellowed and torn, some dusty, some worn
and felt no sadness for those that were gone
but a new calm at the idea of seeing them again
anticipation

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Free Memory

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I liked the room as soon as I walked in. It looked special and fancy to me, with matching woods in the tables by the sofa and in the frames on the wall. The sofa looked prissy but cozy in a regally-formed velvet way. The walls were the first I could remember that weren’t painted white. They were an oddly compelling green, like the tufted bench at the polished piano. The wooden floors looked spit-shined and were silent, no squeaks. There were crystal bowls and vases filled with colorful flowers and sparkling water. The bowl I remember most held my manna, little wrapped chocolates.

As the old lady slowly led me to the sofa, I could not help but feel I was in a dream. Certainly the home looked like a stylish ranch outside but was a veritable palace inside. What struck me most was the feeling of stepping into another world; a world of clean lines, soft cushions, sweet air, kind smiles, and chocolates. A block or so away was my house- never a home- with shabby furniture, cracked dishes, mismatched glasses, stale air, and angry, cold words.

I wished this lady would keep me longer. I wanted to hear her genteel voice tell me of the beautiful things I had read in children’s books. I was very reluctant to leave. I think she was confused by my hesitation, but she was just one of many who thought they saw my life as a pretty portrait. It’s easy to hide most hurts when people don’t want to see.

Surviving in that other house down the street was partly made possible by the brief views I had of Louise’s home. It often costs to look back but some memories are free.

Summer Pines

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Could it be so much time has passed
Noone remembers that summer?
Walking through the woods
At the edge of town
Children’s laughter echoing amid treetops
I was but a child myself
Curious how you would go about slaying my dragons which I had imagined but didn’t realize you thought were real
I was not ready for the single, beautiful flower you gave me that day
And how I wish I could take back the surprise and confusion which shown on my face when you were just looking for acceptance
How it pained my young soul to see that glimmer in your eye waver
How I wanted to fix that bridge that led from innocence to awareness
We didn’t stop talking that summer
And I am so glad we ran into each other in the fall
I didn’t want you to go
I was a child and didn’t understand
Why I wanted to draw you nearer
But by winter you were gone
I found out while dancing
And I couldn’t stop
But my heart cracked
All over that icy street
Leaving me without breath
For days, weeks
I’d never again be able to ask anyone to slay my dragons
Or see rugged pines
Without thinking of that summer
And you

Looking Now

Shadows that came after
Hid discovery and laughter
It was all new once
Before views were dimmed by others
When imagination was shiny and new
When fun was fun and blue was blue
Before I knew the backstory
It was simple not labyrinthine
Now overgrown and hidden
Logic erupts unbidden

Ghosts of who we were emerge
Dreams we once thought were plenty
Tearing away vestiges of youth
We hope but come up empty

Returning each season
We suspend most reason
Look for magic
Ignore the naysayers
Those who look for patterns
Those who look for answers
They dwell too much it’s true
In the past or the future
We enjoy words, shapes and lines
Travelling in the now of time.

A Tight Grip on Remembering

 

Words can’t fill gaping holes in rock
Rebuilding doesn’t bring back the past
Only echoes of feeling remain
Only shadows of memories
I can’t bring myself to talk to a stone
Or visit a quiet place that smells of mothballs and platitudes
I would much rather visit you where it’s green
And the river sounds like your laughter

Others want to bring flowers or wear ribbons
While I want to run and run until I can’t stand it
To be so tired I can’t think anymore
So I fill up on other things

I read but the smell of the page reminds me of you
I sing but I choke on any words that try to escape
I walk and know you’re nearby and waiting
So I shiver and hope for more time

Tripping into mansions full of bird songs and breezes
Grasses nearby sway in the wind
The musty attic inside me is swept neatly under the rug
So many shades of dust swirl together
Are forgotten when I step outside
My skin drinks up the sunshine but my hands stay cold
Trying to keep my grip in the present but it’s hard to even want to let go
Because I don’t want to remember almost as much as I don’t want to forget