Beloved

Heavenly Creator
I ask this not in my own name but in the name of the One
face down near the olive grove.
She tried rehab three separate times.
Lord, I ask this not in my own name,
for I am unworthy, but I ask, instead, in the name
of the One abandoned by friends.
I was a thousand miles away when she died.
Holy Physician I ask
not in my own name, but in the name of the One
too beaten to shoulder the weight.
Drugs bruised deeply into her battered heart.
Father, I ask this of You in the name of the One
who beseeched You with His final breath:
Here is your daughter. My beautiful Jennifer.
Take her into your home.


____
Published in The Scent of Water on Mirrors, 2013
Written 2004

Written during a dream

I wrote a poem in my dream last night. A friend whom I haven’t seen in several years was walking down a staircase and several people whom I didn’t recognize were milling around. I leaned over the top railing and shouted to my friend, “Revise with me!” and then I called out a poem. She stopped to listen, but never replied.

If we start at the same time
from the same place
with my right hand
touching your left
our feet will move together
perfectly.

“Look for me. I’ll be there.”

I have never glimpsed you in the delicate
powder of cabbage butterflies flickering
across fields, nor on the frail
wings of earthy brown sparrows
who peck and scrabble at sidewalks,
not even in the gold and rosy braid
painted along the horizon every morning.


But in the torrential battering of rain
pelting grass blades and windows,
flooding streets and cities,
crashing over bridges and shifting
houses from foundations,
you shine.

Vehicular

Twice each day cars
converge on the street out front
as if there is no other journey
to travel from east to west.
Their greed to gain asphalt
is visible from the window, how
they press frontside to backside eager
to move forward. Pedestrians
prance and stride on the sidewalks,
free in the self-deception that they
are not on the same sojourn.

Growing Old With Roberta

Who thinks about being old
when we’re six or seven?
Like next Christmas, or going
to high school, or being able to read
thick books, tomorrow
is merely a concept
and concept is only
a word that small child can’t pronounce.
But here I am
old, complete with cane and grumpy impatience
and seven years old feels strange now.
One or two things are still the same
sometimes. I still wonder
about where you went those long years past.
Why you could, I couldn’t, and if I ever would.
For myself, I hope
to never have a marked place
where stray
souls come thinking to find me,
the way I sought to find you and discovered
only a grave
with a weathered stone.

Excerpt: The Exiled Soldier

“They’ll be ready the moment we vote for the fight,” Annie replied.

“Figgict voting,” one of the men called out. “Let’s burn the entire place to the ground.”

Three of Annie’s Rebels strolled along the rough streets of SnakeIn near the wharves, talking and laughing, but never losing track of what was happening around them. Two prostitutes who were standing on the corner of the street and a shadowy lane smiled at the men. One of the three companions broke off, spoke softly to one of the women, and then disappeared down the lane with her. When they were securely out of sight, the man leaned to her ear and whispered, “It’s time.”

The other two men continued walking but soon paused to joke with a group of sailors milling outside a wharf-side pub. After greeting each other heartily, one of the two men said, “It’s time.”

The sailors nodded in agreement, spoke hastily, and then split off into pairs, each pair strolling down separate streets, pausing at the doors of shops and the entrances to pubs and saying, “It’s time.”

The man and woman emerged from the lane and rejoined their companions. The woman casually smoothed down the front of her unmussed blouse and said to her friends, “It’s time.”

They moved away from the corner and then, like the sailors, they broke off in different directions. The three men continued down the street, greeting people, and telling various ones, “It’s time.”

The castle in Hilltown was unusually quiet, with only a few servants awake, some in the kitchen, some moving from room to room stoking fires and preparing for morning. When the delivery wagon from the bakery stopped by the kitchen door, the cook’s assistant hurried outside, collected their purchases, and smiled when the driver leaned over and said, “It’s time.

The cook’s assistant brought an assortment of the baked goods inside, paused beside the young scullery maid, and whispered, “It’s time.”

The scullery maid found a reason to dart outside to where a group of servants had gathered, and said to a footman, “It’s time.”

He nodded and strolled leisurely toward the stable until he turned a corner out of sight of the castle. He quickened his pace until he’d caught up with the stablemaster. He greeted him and said, “It’s time.”

From the wharves and tenements of SnakeIn to the mansions and castle of Hilltown, the same two words were repeated and carried forward. “It’s time.”

### End of Sneak Peek ###