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How does

the sun protect itself

from scorch

The ocean

not drown

The mist

drift

without becoming lost

The rain

fall

without breaking

The silent storm

held

within each raindrop

spilling sorrows upon my skin

Drenching fabric

that clings

to soul

revealing in transparent wonder

the beauty

within the flaws

of what lies beneath

There is no respite

from the rain

for even an umbrella

may shield you from the soak

but not the story

that becomes a song

in a relentless rhythm

of

one another’s pain

1974

Six thirteen year olds

held hands

boy girl boy

and waded barefoot

through ankle deep water

hunched over

through the sewer pipe

behind the abandoned house everyone thought was haunted

walking slowly

enjoying the touch

of  electricity

in close proximity

and anticipation

of reaching the clearing

underneath the giant buckeye tree

Several feet up

bright yellow dandelion heads

began to fall

from the  pinhole of light

in the center of the manhole cover

tossed in by Ann

just 6 years old

while singing “Ring  Around the Rosy”

Waiting quietly

for song’s end

without a word

said between us

We began as a low rumble

building to a loud moan

and listened as she ran

screaming

back to her house

as we ran

laughing

splashing loudly through the  concrete cavern

back to the field

that held cows

behind an electric fence

as the wind

carried our laughter

across every summer

thereafter

Somewhere …
perhaps where the breeze ends
or where it begins
a field of wildflowers
rises through parched earth
to bask in the glory
of a sun
without a single cloud
scenting the wind
with colors
calling to those
who struggle
in a wilderness
to see beyond
to a place of transcendence
where gold seeps softly
into the horizon
that dreamers long to touch
and poets dream to know
Take me sweet wind, please
to where the wildflowers… grow

Naked and afraid

she curled into him

exposed

raw

expecting him to leave

everyone else did

but he stayed

and showed her the beauty

she is

and always was

Did the river know

the exact moment

it carried the sun in its currents

because all I am

was forever changed

when your light

became

the breath of my tides

A pewter clock with Roman Numerals hung on the brick wall above the console TV.  A  dark  stained pine couch  and love seat faced each other both with thick navy plaid cushions  leaving  just enough room between them for four small bodies to lay on their stomachs on the braided rug to watch Saturday cartoons, each girl with their own red or tan corduroy pillow to prop their arms on while our parents sat in chairs on either side of the room faces hidden behind the morning and then the evening paper.

Above the love seat was a metal map of the world as if its surface had been peeled like an orange and flattened in segments showing the continents how they were centuries ago. Within the frame atop the map, an illustration of a solar eclipse and on the bottom a lunar eclipse.  I would spend hours, mostly when sick, sipping orange juice looking at the eclipses wondering if I would ever see one in the sky without risk of blindness.   The love seat was the perfect place to look out the large bay window behind the couch into the back yard especially on rainy days or to watch the first flurries of winter float down to melt on the still warm ground, dreaming of laughter summer held in the above ground pool.

The braided rug rich in colors of autumn was also where my mother would lay on her stomach, head resting sideways on a pillow, shirt pulled up, bra strap undone. I would sit on her butt and ever so gently scratch her back, not to relieve an itch, but to create goosebumps with cursive movements in small waves, taking great pride when she said I did it best. I didn’t earn allowance for my chores, but this calming ritual for both of us was a way to earn a trip to the ice rink or maybe even the movies and is one of the few memories I have of her where we were at peace with each other.

Separating the kitchen and the family room was a desk and hutch in the same soft dark pine of the other furniture. No one ever sat there that I can remember or not sure there was even  a chair to which to sit.  On the three rows of shelves, hardcover books written mostly by Edgar Cayce and Ruth Montgomery. Intrigued by the cover, I did take Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus up to my room one night when I was was 13, and was careful to replace it fully read the next  morning to its proper slot before she would notice it gone.  The desk drawer on the right, underneath faded pieces of construction paper in colors no one used, dried up markers and pens without caps was the wooden toy paddle that one of us begged be purchased at the check out line. The one where we competed to see how many consecutive times the red rubber ball could be hit without missing.  The one my mother beat me with leaving welts on my skin after touching an egg the color of the sky in a nest she told me to stay away from. While there are no physical scars where the thin wood repeatedly stung my skin, the emotional scars of  the abandoned eggs lingered years later along with the terror and dread that surfaced every time that drawer was pulled open in anger.