GloPoWriMo: Day 28

060911

Up Redwood Road
To my sister, the fairy queen

Look! Remember this boulder? It’s still here–of course it is. Where would it go, without ice flow to heave it off the mountain? It looks the same, only more dappled in sunlight. “Take out your braids! Take off your clothes! Perch on the rock, like a fairy girl!” I wouldn’t model for your Imogen Cunningham moment, though I yearned to be transformed into art. Mom would scold if my hair were a mess. I stood unhappy, in the shade between allegiance and duty. You got married. I escaped to college. Let’s meet again at the rock, all these lifetimes later. Let’s strip naked, cloak ourselves in our long white hair, and perch on the boulder, two fairy crones, dappled princess maidens, always.

Daily Prompt:  “Draft a prose poem in the form/style of a postcard,” from the Na/GloPoWriMo site.

<< Previous | Next >>

img_4455

GloPoWriMo: Day 26

052829

Pacific Sestina

Sometimes blows the Pacific wind
across three hundred miles of desert,
carrying memory
of seaweed, whales, seals, and wave,
a heartsong of echo,
a whisper of home.

In the garden behind home
I catch the wind
to smell the echo
of salt, strange in the desert.
It carries the wave
of kelp, a distant memory.

A gull cries in memory–
I wonder, am I home?
I strain after the crash of wave–
Can sound hitch a ride on wind?
But in the desert
the sea’s roar won’t echo.

Salt on my tongue, the echo
of a childhood memory
when the island was the only desert
near my home,
stripped by wind
washed by wave.

After a heatwave
we wait for thunder’s echo.
Rain stops, followed by wind.
My skin jumps at the memory
of a beach, far from home
which, during storm, picnickers desert.

I suppose, in a way, a desert
is like a sea, where grasses wave
beside the path toward home.
The canyons ring with echo–
if this were your childhood memory
Would you then face east for wind?

Turn east, turn west, toward yesterday’s wind.
It hauls the crates of memory.
A scent, a sound, a taste, a touch–it carries your childhood’s echo.

Daily Prompt:  “Write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses,” from the Na/GloPoWriMo site.

<< Previous | Next >>

img_4455

Captain’s Christmas: Chapter Six

cc85

Gran’s laughter echoed across the straight, calling to Sarah. She flew over the dark water, looking for her.

“I’m here, Sarah Two-Pockets! I always will be!”

cc83

They flew up to the sky, twirling, laughing, until Gran said, “It’s time for you to go now. I will always be…”

cc82

Sarah opened her eyes. She felt warm and happy. What was it that Gran would always be?

Never mind, Sarah thought. The dream must be a good sign.

In the kitchen, she discovered that it really was Christmas–Jacob had hung wreaths and lights, and a stack of brightly wrapped presents waited beside the breakfast table.

She felt too jolly to notice Jacob’s somber mood as he gazed into his tea.

cc123

He dished up special Christmas breakfast French toast. It smelled sweet like vanilla and nutmeg.

“Can I have extra butter?” she asked.

He added an extra pat.

“Your mom is coming in a week,” he said, when they sat at the table. “She’ll be here for New Year’s.”

“Is Gran well, then?” Sarah asked.

cc120

“No,” he said. “She passed on early this morning.”

“But she was in my dream,” Sarah said.

cc118

Jacob listened as she told about the laughter, the soaring over the water, the feeling that Gran was there, with her, though she couldn’t see her.

“She said she would always be,” said Sarah, “but I don’t know what. Why would I dream of her, Great Uncle Jacob? And what will she always be?”

He sat quietly for a good few moments.

“It happens, sometimes,” he said at last, “that when someone passes, their spirit pays a visit to all those they love the best. Your grandmother loved you dearly, Sarah, and I have a feeling that what she will always be will be beside you, with you. She will always be.”

cc119

Sarah wondered if that meant that she was not really gone. If she closed her eyes, she could feel her grandmother’s hand in hers. When she opened her eyes, she heard Gran’s voice.

“Gran loves Christmas,” Sarah said.

cc117

She wasn’t sure how to feel. Mostly, she felt that this was a different day, a special day, somehow. It had a texture to it, like someone held a blanket over the sun, and all the busy noise of life quieted down somehow.

cc116

After she washed the dishes, she heard tiny mewing. Two kittens crawled out from behind the pile of pillows on the floor.

cc128

“Look, Jacob!” she said. “It’s kittens! Where’d they come from?”

“Those are Pippa’s kittens,” Jacob said. “Walley’s the father.”

“Were they just born?”

“No,” he said. “They were born before you came.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” She thought it would have been more fun to play with kittens all those days leading up to Christmas.

“Twasn’t my secret to tell!” he replied. “It’s up to the mama cat to decide when she will share her babies with us.”

“Maybe that’s why Pippa was so grumpy with me!” Sarah said.

“Could be,” said Jacob. “A mama will do anything to protect her young.”

“But they’re old enough now, aren’t they, Pippa?” Sarah pet the panther on the head, and she didn’t even growl. She purred, and her ears stayed up, and her tail hardly twitched.

cc115

“They haven’t names yet,” said Jacob. “What would you like to call them?”

“Sweetie and Cubby,” said Sarah, “because they are sweet panther cubs!”

cc129

She followed Cubby into the parlor.

“Do you think I could have one, Uncle Jacob?” she asked. It was Christmas, after all, and she had just lost her Gran.

cc127

“The kittens belong here,” he said, “where they have a big conservatory to roam and lots of skylights to let in the sunshine.”

She grew very quiet.

“But I’ll tell you what,” he continued, “you choose one to belong to, and then every time you come to visit, we will all know that you are that cat’s girl.”

cc124

She chose Cubby. Cubby seemed to trust her already.

“I do have good news for you, though,” said Jacob. “Your mom says you can take Senator Jones with you.”

The senator howled when he heard his name.

“Hear that, Big Dog?” Sarah asked. “We belong to each other now!”

cc114

“Presents now, or presents later?” Jacob asked.

Later. The morning still had that hushed feeling to it, and Sarah didn’t think she would find excitement in unwrapping the shiny red paper. Maybe when night pressed against the windows, and the lights and candles shone, she would feel the joy Christmas usually brings.

“Let me give you this one, now,” said Jacob, handing her an unwrapped volume of Little Men.

While she read, he played carols, sometimes singing along in his gruff baritone.

cc112

It was a different kind of Christmas, without Mom and Gran, with so many cats and kittens and Senator Jones, with Great Uncle Jacob who talked to her as if she were capable of understanding everything and as if she didn’t have a timid heart that might break at the slightest sorrow.

cc113

She supposed that captains had to be strong, for out on the straight, sometimes the wind kicked up, and the frightened hearts jumped under deck. But captains steered onward, even when they were the only ones left, and the waves crashed over the bow.

cc125

Jacob made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and he played more of that concert-style music while she ate.

“What’s that music called?” she shouted in to the parlor.

“Beethoven!” he shouted back.

It sounded like captain’s music, brave and bold and sometimes saucy and sometimes sorrowful and often stormy and then calm. It sounded like she felt in her heart right then, over-packed with everything: happiness, sleepiness, gratitude, even a creeping touch of excitement, sadness, homesickness, loneliness, and even joy.

How could so many feelings fit inside her heart?

She didn’t know–but the music knew, and it said to her that everything was all right, for this was life.

cc121

In the slanting rays of the late afternoon sun, Senator Jones raced the captain through the meadows behind the conservatory.

She ran after him, hearing again her grandmother’s laughter.

“I’m coming, Big Dog!” she shouted. “I’ll be with you always! I’ll always be!”

We all have one Christmas we always remember. For Sarah, this was it. Throughout her life, whether she sat near the tree, surrounded by her children, or her children’s children, or whether she sat alone with a cup of tea, she remembered this morning, her grandmother’s laughter, her great uncle’s piano, and the boundless friendship of a good dog. With this magic, even a little girl could be brave, and bravery like this can last us through life.

cc1111

<< Previous