Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Resilience

Composure Decomposed

Airbrushed each day
in competence activity and rectitude
her face was flawless
free from blemishes
of failure insecurity and sin.
At least everyone thought so
and when asked about her skin regime
she only credited eating lots of butter and olive oil
and the luck of good genetics from her mother
who at 75 had looked no more than 60.

But then the perfect storm
of expectations loss and slaughtered dreams
beyond what she could bear
ripped away her glasses
grayed her hair
and with each squall and tempest
the careful coats of paint
then peeled away
in several shades of hardship
revealing all she’d lived and covered
while extolling optimism.

When the winds had once more calmed
and she first looked in the mirror
she reached from habit
for her brush and powder
to fill the cracks and layers now exposed
but when she took in her reflection
she saw a tender beauty there
from the sadness in her eyes
and weary sallow of her cheeks
to the deepened worry lines along her brow
all a burnished gold patina now
the vulnerability of uncertainty
of living her own truth.

Breakfast in Bruges

IMG_8214

It’s a good sound,
the sizzling and popping
of oil in the pan
over high heat
as the egg is freed from its shell
on its way to becoming breakfast.

The sound of time
and ease and care,
decadent in its
splayed open richness.

Even as the edges are singed—
albuminous white
the stuff of muscle and doing
grown firm and strong
from trial by fire,
the yolk remains
its perfect liquid center, golden orb.

The whole upon the plate
is as resilient
and delicate
as the human heart cracked open.

A boiled egg, in comparison
in the armor of its calcified shell
is quieter
reserved, and more demure,
even as it nourishes
the same.

Rite of Fire

11223807_10206535297597973_2203269949240643494_n

In a plane of easy pasture the Sun sets
fire to the last remaining elm before
descending behind a range
of Bens and Glens
leaving no pleasant shade for lovers
only a charred trunk
one more pole
rooted to the beyond
who lends its crippled limbs to carry the wind
strung out on wires
hot with potential
they, a danger to its former leaves
ever a reminder of its own descent
now, electrifying life—
new meaning
for its transformed self.

Photo by Jamie Burgoyne, used by permission.

Perspective After Suicide

image

I awake with relief
to a cool morning, take pleasure in
watering the garden and pulling weeds
from the rockery
before the early sun has risen
to its full strength
and feel grateful that the cat
will once again eat from my hand
after a day of worrying listlessness,
she too having found relief
in the cooler night,
recovered from unseasonable weather.

I feel the fullness of my life
and tell myself,
as if counseling another
to remember this
remember this, girl,
remember this moment the next time
you seek simple respite from the heat
only to feel like sinking into the lake
and being done with it all.

Remember this
when you can’t feel the joyous breath
of the water
from the swell of wakes
of passing boats.

Remember this
when the morning is clear
but the solidity of the mountains
offers you no comfort
as they stand watch.

Remember this
when all you want is for the pain
of your loss of him to end
as tears turn to steam in your goggles
blurring everything
in a self-contained eco system
of grief turned despair.

Remember this
when the only thing that draws you
back to the beach,
rather than below the surface
to join the milfoil and turtles,
is a sense of responsibility
to everyone but yourself
and your not wanting to cause
this singular suffering
to anyone else.

%d bloggers like this: