to give gifts
is no gift at all
just a prisoned cage made
with bars of obligation
resentment and fear
so she ceases
Monday, November 25, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I was eating lunch and was suddenly struck by the perfect pattern in the skin of my heirloom tomato. The picture doesn't really do it justice. There is something fragile and beautiful about the detail that no one will ever really notice. That has always impressed me about this world. So much that was created in it has nothing to do with us humans.
Incidentally, I'm really going to miss delicious tomatoes when this season is over.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
I am preserving pumpkin, scraping the soft flesh from the delicate skin. I grew the pumpkins myself, the first year I've had success with pumpkins. I am not so secretly giddy about it. About a week ago, my daughters helped me cut our first harvest, two large, galaxy-shaped pumpkins, and three smaller globe pumpkins. Gradually, I am baking and freezing them. They will eventually become soup and pie, brownies and cookies.
My daughters have been gone for three days. Sometimes, the time without them goes quickly, other times it feels like forever. I miss them terribly. Having a house stay clean effortlessly and experiencing quiet for a change never makes up for the pure life that fills the room when they are around.
I am nervous. They are about to come back, and I feel giddy as a teenager waiting a call from a boy she likes. How will they be? Happy, sad, tired? Will they be okay? Healthy? Will I be ready for them?
My heart leaps into my throat as I hear the click of the doorknob turning. The patter of feet hit the hardwood floor. "MOMMY!" I turn and catch little bundles of energy, feeling arms wrap around my neck and faces burrow into my shoulder.
My life is complete again.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I lay on my bed, flipping through various apps on my phone, trying to wind down before lights out. Reading out loud to herself next to me, Ria snuggles close . . . closer than I would like, since I'm almost falling off the bed.
But it's worth it: the warmth of her body and murmur of her little girl voice.
I tune out her words, letting them wash over me as I occupy my mind with distractions, until one phrase penetrates the electronics, "Mommy, I want to be with you."
So I put down my phone, wrap my arms around her, and listen to her soft sigh of contentment.
"Now can you tell me a spooky story?"
Friday, July 5, 2013
When I depart the life of another
I shall not write an ode to self
I will not speak a good-bye
To the friends I loved.
Nor will I linger, hoping
That someone will see my shadow
On their doorstep.
When I drift away from my friends
I shall not plead for recognition
I will not make sure I am heard
By the friends I loved.
Nor will I look back, wishing
To see a friendly face turned sorrowful
At my parting.
When I slip out of another’s mind
I shall not scream and kick my legs
I will not cry tantrums of farewell
At the friends I loved.
Nor will I sorrow, knowing
That those left behind will forget
When I leave the place I call home
I shall walk with utmost dignity
I will lift my head in recognition
Of the friends I love still.
And I will rejoice, feeling
That I have made some unmarked change
In their making.
Matas edged around the rock hiding the small cleft leading to his home. He had never met the monster himself, but he knew it was fearsome, and despite his strength, Matas didn’t think he could kill. He had first overheard wanderers talking about the monster with an air of restrained terror when he had been drawn to a rare glow of campfire long ago.
The way by his passage clear, he carefully stepped out, keeping his ears wide for sounds of any other wanderer. Wanderers came sporadically, and one could never tell how the Madness would take them. Many tried to harm Matas, and he learned early to be wary of them, even before Alec came to help him.
Matas’ used his wide-set eyes very little. The glow of fungus-light or touch of firelight only augmented the information he gathered through the echoes of the tunnels around him. Sometimes in his dreams, he remembered another world of light and color, but it seldom troubled him when he was awake. He had been in this place since his memories had dawned and had long since learned to adapt.
He walked the familiar passages past the mound of rocks where Alec lay. Gradually, the earthen tunnels became stone. His mind kept track of the turns automatically. He walked this way often to gather the soft fungus Alec had said tasted like “bread”. He could not gather more than a day’s worth at a time or it rotted with a fetid odor, but the vast cavern in which it grew was no safe place to hide. Therefore, he made the sometimes-dangerous trek every day, alone, now that Alec was no longer there to help him.
A sharp scrape alerted him to the presence of another. Immediately, he froze, carefully judging the source. Sometimes sounds that seemed distant were close while others sounded right in his ear from tunnels away. His throat closed in fear and excitement. There had been few wanderers of late. Perhaps this time, he would meet the monster at last.
Shrinking against the side of the cave, he waited; his face flushing and heart pounding. Gradually, the sound resolved itself into quiet footsteps, coming closer. It must be a wanderer! Maybe this one would finally be his friend as Alec had been, teaching him to make shapes with clay and stone and keep track of time with deep slashes on the wall. He had become very lonely in the hundreds of sleeps since Alec had gone. As the steps grew closer, Matas’ hopes faded as he scented panic and fear in the air that flowed through this part of the caves. His heart sank. The caves had a way of making most strangers go mad, Alec had said. He wouldn’t explain why. Matas knew that this stranger would probably be like most of the others.
Suddenly, a harsh glow of torchlight shone against the damp stone of the corridor. It crept along the wall, bright enough that Matas squinted his eyes against the glare. A trembling boy-man appeared, holding a sputtering torch. When he saw Matas, he screamed shrilly, leaping straight into the air, turning, and tearing off back the way he had come.
Matas, seeing the Madness in the boy, followed after, shouting, “It’s okay! Calm down, I can help!!!” But it was no use. The boy kept running, darting down the leftmost passage. The panic began to affect Matas, too, as he realized where the boy was unknowingly going.
“Not that way! STOP!!!” But the boy increased his speed. Frowning, Matas followed, trying to overtake the boy before it was too late. Pounding around a left corner, he reached out his long arms, swiping for the boy’s coat, but it was too late. With one final, pitifully thin scream, the boy tripped and tumbled down, down, down and over the lip of the Deep. Matas braked just in time, nearly tumbling himself in his attempt to save the boy. It was too far to hear the boy hit bottom, but Matas clapped his hands over his ears anyways, wincing.
So often it ended that way. The Madness overtook them and they fell down a hole or got lost beyond Matas’ ability to find them. Someday, maybe, he’d find one who could overcome the Madness as Alec had done. Though he could never help Alec with finding the way “out” he longed for, Alec had helped him with so many things. He always wished he knew this “out”. Alec had spoken of kings, heroes and gods, sun and sky and stars. It had sounded like a glorious place.
Returning to the fungus cavern to gather his meal, Matas felt exhaustion come over him. He found his way around the twisting tunnels to his secret hole, eating as he went. He squeezed through the cleft and entered it gratefully, exhausted and discouraged. He stopped at the holding wall where all his delicately formed clay figures were, removing the one of Alec and the one of himself and holding them despondently. He lightly touched the sharp curve of horn on the head of the figure of him, and then touched his own smooth horn. Alec had no horns, but he was so small he could probably never have held them up with his tiny head. At least Matas had his safe place. Here, he was safe from the monster.