Archives for posts with tag: poem

Two families wait

A mom in her 30’s cradles her son
Two elementary school girls sit by her side
Silent on the concrete bench
Hair pulled back tight
Pale pink lace dresses, two pairs of new sandals
One red, one white
A miniature white button-down man shirt on the baby
Tucked into pint-sized pressed navy shorts

Baby boy bounces from knee to knee
Tiny fingers pop bits of cereal into hungry mouths
Immaculate, contained, quiet

Greying father and mother sit in the front
Two pre-teen girls sit with their chocolate puppy behind
Parked at the curb in their restored vintage van
Hair wet and stringy tossed everywhere
Damp bathing suit underneath a faded junior lifeguard sweatshirt
A cat t-shirt stained with spots of paint and food
Over outgrown blue shorts
Hand-me-down flip flops, bare feet

Dog wrestles in the back seat
Hands shove sandwiches dripping with shredded lettuce and mayonnaise into uninterested mouths
Relaxed, loud, bored

Both families wait for permission slips to roam over borders and return home

Numbers are called
One family enters
One walks away
One White
One Latino

Which is which?


Be still. Think.

Rolling the words around on my tongue, they feel swollen, slippery and cumbersome

Like pieces born on the bottom of the ocean, they taste simultaneously sweet with pleasure and sour with decay

“What do I want?”

Sadness. Loss. Confusion. Wonder. Nothingness… like searching in the fog for the hint of an outline of a building or a tree.

Consider the act of wanting? Consider objects to want?

No. Consider me.

To know what I want suggests to know who I am.

Who am I?

Who is asking the question?

Who is answering?

A reflection of time. A compilation of 43 years of thought and action. A force in motion, moving not because of desire or motivation but because of habit, momentum and expectation. Ticking forward from minute to minute, second to second. Overwound on the day I was born and set in motion,       waiting for the movement to stop and another winding to start.

You do because you should. You enact because you’re here.

What do I want?

Do I want? Do I?

I do want. I desire. I aspire. I exist.

I want to matter. I want to be heard. I want to have meaning. I want to love without fear. I want to accept love without consequence. I want to know me and love me. I want to know what I want, and know that I deserve to want. I want to be creative and feel justified in my creative pursuits. I want to leave behind the hurt. I want to laugh more. I want to let go of pain. I want to forgive and forget. I want to sleep for a very long time, then wake up refreshed and happy to not be in the dream any longer. I want to know God and see Her everywhere, and feel Her within me. I want to believe that I too am God. I want to live as an inspiration for my daughters, so that they may never not know what or if they should want. I want to see me as my daughters see me. I want to believe that my husband is a good person. I want freedom from my judgements. I want to have an answer when asked what it is that I want.

What do I want?

I want to want.

Swirling thick, a tide around my ankles, dragging me into dark suffocation where I cannot breathe the rushing tide of you drowning
calling out.

How can I save you and save myself too?

Thick the wet wall of despair
crashing down – bottom becomes top, light becomes dark, head over heels
over and over
I spin.

Anger, fear, desperation, escape.

If I save you, I have lost me forever.

There is guilt, shame, love, pain.  A scream trapped inside with ears pressed to doors waiting to hear what cannot be said.

If I let it go, it will consume us all.

Silently I sit
I breathe
kelp forests moving with the tide
I am a vessel for washing your energy away.  

I step back and let waves of fear and grief crash on my shore, pulling my heart grain by grain into your raging sea.  I hold on hoping that when your storm has ended, there will still be something left of me.

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken

by Rainer Maria Rilke

English version by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
Original Language German

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

There’s a custody battle raging
Each side desperate to win
Our love, our devotion, our approval

They tell us they know best
Through the shouting
and the lying
to prove that their’s is the care
the protection
the guidance that we should seek to lead our future

After all of the fighting
the stories
the tears
The time has come to pick sides
Which one do we love more?
The one that sends us to bed early
But kisses our hurts and listens to our fears?
Or the one that buys us candy and
paints pictures with us of days playing in the sun?

You know I love you
They say, looking past us
You know this is all for you
Then they kiss us on the head
and send us into the courtroom
where we, the children
must declare our allegiance
pledge our love
and determine who is fit to raise us