The function of a human hand?
Writing a message, making a bed,
Opening a jar, dialing a phone,
Putting on pantyhose,
Touching the face of a child,
Or a lover.
And in its absence?
Yawning space and phantom pain,
And an oddly-shaped bandage
At the end of Angie’s arm.
PFC Hernandez, home in El Paso,
Watches her family watching her,
Writing awkwardly with her left hand,
Brushing her black wavy hair,
Watching Dr. Phil
Wearing an old gray-green T-shirt
Bearing the faded words
“Proud to be a Marine.”
Gasping and choking,
She wakes from thick, dusty dreams
Of shimmering, endless sand,
Echoing hollow with hatred,
And the feared but half expected
Roar of fiery amber heat,
Breaking the angry stillness,
Searing through the night
And Angela’s right hand.
I believe in angels
I saw one just today
She sat beside a mother
As they took her child away
She wrapped her wings around her
She listened while mom prayed
Through coffee cups and flowing tears
And yet the angel stayed
Nurses, doctors came and went
Daylight turned to eve
Mom sat alone or paced the halls
And yet the angel would not leave
Scrubs of green approached the doors
With paper shoes; mask hanging free
The angel stayed because she knew
The news was bad, you see
A little boy was draped in light
He joined the angel by her side
They held mom's hand as she was told
Her baby boy had died.
She pranced barefoot in the park
Caught fireflies in the dark
Believing every day a lark
From the moment they begin.
Joking of smoking like a train
Sucking cigarettes as if sugarcane
Strolling with one down Lover's Lane
Accompanied by a violin.
She knew who played that fiddle
Yet to the end chose to diddle
And find answers to the riddle
Of what waits once we've shed our skin.
Having no faith in oncology
Trusting herbalists and astrology
She offered no apology
As the minister came in.
Last rites were said and thus she died
By then all of us dried-eyed
Most aware of how hard she tried
Without any real chance to win.
Artist, musician, lyricist,
Sister, wife and mother head the list
Of memories that shall long persist
In the hearts of her surviving kin.
May 30, 2014
You lay in the wooden cot,
a broken sparrow,
Crushed. Bony. Frail.
Hair once plumed gold,
greyed to clumped feathers
like ragged trampled wings,
strawed out on the dank pillow.
Face once blushed pink plump,
Jolly kind of soft with life,
Sucked to bone. Nose to Beak.
Echoes of the mask it will soon become.
I stroked this woman
now bent back to foetus pose.
Once sworled to shell,
wrapped inside myself,
Now boned to carcass stick.
I wanted to hold one more time,
frightened the last air would puff to nought from its hollowed breast.
But my sparrow turned and smiled,
a grimace to crack open any gates of envisaged hell.
Macabre teeth, once glowing love and laughter to the skies,
Now pecked to ochre stalks.
The pitiful bird pained to move.
Mucous mouth clacked open wide
To receive some lasting morsel of life.
Only its beady blue gaze
flashed a soul of its former self,
eyes to haunt the sea.
I swallowed back my tide of tears,
waves of memory flooding sands of life we’d shared,
from fledgling dawn cry to this,
the final nesting box.
I wanted to stuff this cot with down
of a million eider.
To cosset and hold soft this scrawn, gnawed through.
Pluck teal, goose, swan.
‘Who would have thought it would come to this?’ it croaked a laugh.
I matched smile with smile.
I held the tiny claw.
Desperate not to cling too much to pain,
too much to past.
I wanted to wrap up this dying bird
Limp, in my hanky.
White folded white, fold on fold.
Run through the streets
shouting at the world, at some unseen power.
She’s mine. She’s safe. Take me.
What cruelty did I do?
What evil must be stuffed in this maternal breast
To hold this daughter dust in my arms?
Haley gave up the ghost today,
all we could do was cry and pray.
She'd suffered so long, her whole life,
disease had wracked her body with strife.
Cystic Fibrosis did her in,
choked her lungs and kept her thin,
poor little child, we knew her well,
spending so much time in hospital hell.
She barely made twenty-one,
and now her short life's said and done.
We cried for her mother, in such grief,
but to Haley, by God, death was a relief.
a dory caught off guard in the billow of a wild frontier,
the south paw always an adverse of nature,
tranquil can be the fire,
but the the sparrow will mature,
a dormant trammel becomes earsplitting when broken,
now freedom promised as a perpetual token,
in the splendor of the petal the truth does not appear,
cripple the word and clarity becomes obscure,
deception weaved from inner fear,
not even gone and the cinerarium is in the picture,
oh! look at the view, raw are their souls preaching such an unholy scripture
Her husband was a kindly man,
never thought himself too grand,
fought hard and long in World War II,
what he saw there, no one knew.
They raised their kids to be good folk,
and, Lord, that man could tell a joke.
Two years ago, he got real sick,
and wound up in the hospital quick.
Two years of chemo, and radiation,
he fought like he had for his nation.
His sons gave marrow, the pain endured,
and, God be blessed, he was cured!
When he came home, he seemed depressed,
convinced his finances were a mess,
no one could tell him otherwise,
though his bank books were right before his eyes.
Last week, he took his shotgun to the shed,
and that's where poor Hope found him dead.
You came into my life unexpected.
I don’t enjoy your company.
I never asked for you in the first place.
You have bought me nothing but sadness since the day you arrived.
I cry every night because of you.
Why did you pick me out of everyone else?
I can’t stand the way you make me feel sick and nauseated.
It’s like you knock the wind out of me.
Now I’m trying to get back up and I will because I’m strong, powerful, and I
believe in myself.
You’re just a word that starts with the letter “C” and when you say it out loud its
I want run away from you I’ll fight you until the end.