Prompt #12: we gather together

We gather together ~

We ‘gather’
in echo chambers,
scorning the company
of the ‘other,’
that dangerous believer
of untruths, of fake news,
of demagogues new & old…
We gather to scorn and mock.

And yet mothers still love
their children, red & blue alike.
And the young still cradle cats
while their elders stroke the fur
of rescue dogs, the feathers of birds.
We are still the children of love.


post #11: in the temple of the banyan tree

In the temple of the banyan tree

set within the circle of a zoo

where men were kept in tiger cages

and children held out sugar cane

to friendly elephants

I saw where gods lived.

On the fragrant curls of incense

deeply smoked into the banyan’s

ropy branching coiled walls

god(s) floated, whispering

a name I did not recognise

from church.

This, I knew at once,

was where god(s) lived.

Here among the tree’s silver

grey limbs, cradled in its coiled branches,

mystery and wisdom played cards

bargaining for knowledge.

Nothing has changed

although memory patinas like an amulet

and I am trying to remember

what I heard so long ago & far away

in the temple of the banyan tree

just beyond the boundary of childhood


prompt #9: tea and memory

My grandsons ask for tea ~

Tea, GiGi! Tea!

They like it English fashion:

hot black tea with milk & sugar

served in a Beatrix Potter cup.

The way my own two sons drank it

the way I drank it as a young woman

long ago & far away. Before

there were rabbit cups & saucers.

And strong mint tea, served

in ornate glasses, gilded traceries

along the rims. Syrupy with sugar,

held carefully between fingertips.

And cool herbal teas, tall & frosty

with condensation, sweet with fruit

& Demerara, stirred with my mother’s

sterling spoon, on my grandmother’s saucer.

Tea’s steam rising    curling

winding around us like a daisy chain

holding us together. Memory

blossoming along its links.


prompt 8: roc eggs gigan

They might have been eggs     pebbles of sodalite or chalcedony

nestled within wooden cups        three and four to a family


It’s what they looked like: eggs lain by some prehistoric bird

bright of wing and long of beak, legs drawn up like cranes do

soaring over unmapped lands long since lost to us


While the fierce mother of these unhatched rocs (mythic, stifled)

waits somewhere in another era, a timeline far removed from now.


She broods, a harpy eagle of sorts, her face not quite human

not quite avian. She is other, mother of rocks that once were eggs


now metamphorsed into stone, no longer flesh of her flesh

no longer responsive to a soft whirring of wings.


In this other mother’s world, there is no partner to mourn with her

only the cacophony of a forest I will never know, although her solitary

state is familiar. I too await misfortune on my own, now.


And the small bluegreen stones that once held the possibility of flight

nestle still in wooden hollows that are all they will remember of a home.


post #7: apart


We will not see another dawn together.

Nor will we watch the day deepen to dark.

And all those hours of wondering whether

we should have stayed, or left, or disembarked

are now behind us, as you too recede.

The chair you sat in moves within the wind

(I watched two chipmunks play tag at its feet)

and tried to conjure you rocking again.

It didn’t work: your place remains empty.

As does each room, the entire house, the bed ~

I don’t allow the memories to tempt me.

What am I saying?? I know that you are dead.

I know it all too well, but not, my heart,

just how to deal with all of this…apart.

prompt #6: letter

Air mail


You will write me no letters.

There will be no ghostly conversations from beyond

pale or not. It’s been weeks now, and still

you are still, my love. Silent. Quiet. Still.

No movement in the darkness

other than simple night terrors

loneliness and empty rooms and quiet.

It is so very quiet.

No generators. No laboured breathing.

No white noise of necessary ~

the machineries of life as we the aging

know it. None of what was then.

This is now.

And if you wrote me a letter

I know what you would say:

Get on with it. Move forward.

There is never enough time, love.

And I agree.

There was never enough time.

prompt #5: sunflowers

the sunflowers are struggling

I forgot them

left them to the summer solstice

dirt as hard & dry as hot pavement

now they drink greedily

water I should have poured

days ago sluices over roots

they soak it up

tall aging ladies

guzzling bubbly from pink wineglasses

picking over cheese & crackers

talking of oak and tannin

the sunflowers are silent

their wilted leaves hang

the spaces between leaf and stem




prompt #5: home

how the mirror becomes a window

a door into the sky     wings unnecessary

the way I dreamed of flying

soaring miles above the earth below

somewhere that felt like home

a place I never knew until too late

until I held moving boxes

and my hands knew

that this place I had rejected

was bone marrow

was memory

the way you still walk these rooms

how I listen for your breathing

reach for you beside me

and the mirror never shows your face

or mine

only the empty sky

post #4: piano man

play me a tune, mr piano man ~

         with apologies to billy joel


this is the music I hear at 3 a.m.

leafy          sticks and twigs

the piano a ruined instrument

but still attempting music

notes lift dusty from the keyboard

broken into fragments: a quarter note

becomes 1/16, a whole note just a half

time means nothing now

the pianist exhausted in their chair

wrist extended     broken into pieces

of a life      reaching for music

still    and nothing they can hear

but I hear it    curling through dreams

dust mote notes sifting through sleep

leaf and twig and splintered wood

what I know so well


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