She sat beside me

and watched me struggle

as I attempted to build

an empire from broken glass and tears

with retaining walls and a moat in defiance

of the tide.  

it will never be strong enough she told me

but there is nothing more you can do

it will soon be gone and I knew that

she was right.

I wiped the sands

of make-believe from my eyes and cheeks

and we sat together and watched the ocean

swallow the kingdom, leaving only wet

clumps of a childhood dream, an illusion

at our feet.  

follow me she said, and I walked with her to the edge

of the water. We stood ankle deep in silt

and broken shells. We stood in the only silence

that can be known on the edge of the water,

the kind of silence where you know

you are not alone

and never can be. We stood together,

worlds apart for what only seemed to be

an eternity.

 

Gentle swells brought children dancing in the surf

singing and playing the games that children play,

unknowingly conjuring spirits and speaking truths

they have yet to learn

                                          ring around

                                          the rosie

                                                         a pocket

                                                         full

She smiled at me and took my hands in hers

and we splashed and stumbled in circles

once, twice, three times

                                                          ashes

                                                          ashes

We all fall

And I knew it was time to let her go.

 

I turned away, holding in my hands the remnants

of her that had woven into my fingertips

and walked back up the sand

to my daughter, who was waiting for me

with the ocean in her bucket, waiting to build

sand castles.

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Please, leave me in peace

Can you not see my turmoil?

I spend my days

attempting to weave rhymes through my fingers

with clenched fists

teasing  out knots and frays and

excising specks of dust from cobwebs until only

a wrecked whole with sticky notes remains

Nothing to show, no spoils

of victory at the end of the day

You standing here reminds me of what I ought to be doing–

Something worthwhile and productive

Something lucrative and secure

Or, something like doing laundry

or sweeping floors.

How dare you invade this room,

your hammer swinging from your hip

in perfect three-quarter measure

and trample all over my juxtaposition

with your perfect meter

This is border-line harrassment

I suppose you would like me to pick up the broom

and sweep up these broken couplets littering your room

and toss them away with the mud from your shoes

 

Just go—leave me in peace

to play my solitary game

without a full deck

 

The saw hums quietly in the distance while

The  leaking faucet you came in to fix mocks me….

Drip drip drip