Black Madonna

Remember that autumn
we drove up to Campbell River,
like teenagers skipping out of class –
a cackle of women, spirituality forming –
felt as if we had bided our time, willing
this union to occur – high on anticipation.

Giddy that our routine femininity had
been strewn across the barricades of
our socially careful existences – we were
like lesbian lovers unafraid to explore our
crevices, our souls hungering for release,
we were researchers, reinventing masks

adopted in formative years, stretching our
capacity to believe, awakened by the crones
among us, sisters united, standing in the
flood of our collective herstory, shedding
the padding of our religious upbringings,
teetering on the brink of a lost divinity –

weavers, once paralyzed by the guck of
patriarchal dictates, fear of ascension
retreating, we broke free, immersed in
Goddess splendour, felt the ecstasy of
true abandonment, were wild women
unrestrained, catalysts for change.

How is it that the passion faded so abruptly,
that motherhood and responsibility, and
the rigours of competing in daily life stripped
away the afterglow, smacked me back into
this rigid self-definition, prayerful, thankful,
yet lacking the empowerment of the island?

Have I stored her somewhere; is there even
a space within me capable of housing such
expansiveness, open to wading once again
in the waters of a lunar deity, willing to sacrifice
superficiality for the compassionate mystery
of the Black Madonna haunting my memory?


A Woman I Never Knew

Much planning involved in duplicity,
when absence of feminine is intent –

no amount of research can release
her, buried in a home within a home.

Empty out existing observations,
imposed interpretations – education

only served to dismay us further –
all erasable.  Forensic investigation

required to grasp the inner workings,
only seasoned visitors have caught

wind of – witnesses (mother/father);
all we children knew was her name;

a moniker that invoked turmoil, yet
she, pregnant with hope, anticipation

would make her presence known –
a grand performance – she did not

belong; we shunned her, doubted
her veracity, convinced her host

was manipulative, depraved – had
no concept of acceptance – chose

separation – s/he pushed me out;
not that I was ever welcomed –

a child of this woman within a man,
whose obsession consumed us,

consumed my innocence, toyed
with my journey to self-discovery,

distorted images of beauty rooted
in the hovering pall of her presence/

absence; tried to escape, seek help,
create a semblance of normalcy, but

am haunted by the woman, whose
destiny, never achieved, now lags

behind me, feeding my frailty; wish
I had found the words, openness,

had dared to know her, to have stood
beside the she Dad was meant to be.