Friday, December 26, 2014

Inside Your Head

for Stephanie

In the cave you’re supposed to watch for shadows. Try to understand the world. But this cave is dark. The mouth is closed. It’s not really a cave. And somehow you’re able to see writing on the walls instead of drawing. Your handwriting. The walls like old paper. Yellowed, creased, stained by time. Blue ink moves left to right. Pages of what had been your thoughts. Stories, a few poems, love notes sent and unsent. This one here that you’re reading is from troubled times. Real darkness. Written when you should have been asleep. It says things you can’t believe you believed. You wonder who you could have been. Who you thought you were. There is room at the bottom to change the ending. Space on the wall to rewrite it all. You hold the pen in your hand. Shadows move across the wall. Memories perhaps. No. There are things happening now. Out there. The cave is open. There’s the mouth. Tree branches move in grey morning light. The wind whispers. The walls are drawings, ancient and strange. No words. You put the pen in your pocket. From outside the cave you hear a voice. Calling you to come out now, wherever you are.

Friday, December 5, 2014

When the River Ices Over

An old woman goes walking. Early morning. Before dawn. Her husband sleeps in his bed. She leaves hers. Goes out silently, remembering the dog that raised such a fuss. Woke the whole house. Now she goes unnoticed. No fuss. She crosses the yard, steps carefully down beside the dock. Out onto December ice dusted with November snow, she walks. And dreams of a thin coating of ice over the river under her feet. Of listening to the spiderweb of cracks pluck one against the other. The feel of gravity before it pulls her down. She breathes easy. Holds herself still. Lets the ice of dreams collapse and black water swallow her, carrying her away. But this ice is too thick for her dreaming. No cracks. No openings. Just a silent expanse of emptiness upriver and down. The wind blows and she wishes for her scarf. A long rope of yarn she made long ago. Left on the hook up in the house. Too far to go back. She walks upriver. Against the wind, the frozen current. An old woman walking. In frozen darkness long before day. Above her head a billion stars swirl and eddy down onto the ice. Beneath which some mysterious life goes on in the impossible cold and dark of December.