Two at the ends, two at the back one for the cook, one for the help this was the way of Sunday’s table: hungry tums anxiously waiting, family dog glued to the floor lest any scrap should need saving.
Father would pray for all our saving; serve himself before handing back, while Mother paced the dining floor ever offering us kids some help till dishes, her end, piled up, waiting – always an imbalance at our table.
Silence was the rule of the table, stories and anecdotes were for saving, politeness called for patient waiting – chairs tucked in and shoulders back and no cutting the meat without help, cold potatoes slyly sloshing on floor.
Youngest feet not reaching the floor tended to swing beneath the table kicking knees could not be helped; from fiendish scowls no saving – Father’s hand flashed a wicked back, scolding sermons he kept in waiting.
My tongue would tire of the waiting no matter how I focused on the floor and if a sister should glance me back that would be the end of a quiet table, giggles nervously emerging from saving any hope of control beyond our help.
Mother’s good nature was seldom help, nor Father’s silence as he glared, waiting, for the situation was far beyond saving, and his chair angrily scraped the floor as his storming presence left the table we happily waved at his regressing back.
All the stories we’ve been saving – childhood foibles we couldn’t help
Days and people we’ll never get back hoping that somewhere they’re waiting
That one day we’ll meet, share the floor minus the hurt, forgiveness at the table.
(My poetry circle tried their hands at a sestina. This is my attempt. Another tale from dinner with Dad. Image my own.)
Is it the robin whose morning song so sharp and crisp awakens me in this enchanted place, or the warble of Juncos whose hooded faces delight as they forage between the dried, curled aftermath of a cold Winter, now pushed aside by new life sprouting? The absence of raindrops on tin roof offers promise that the sun might appear today, the buds on the oak trees as anxious as I for the warmth.
I raise the window shades to reveal the lush green of Douglas firs, the walls that divide us from our neighbours: nomads like us in the quest to commune with a simpler way of life. We are metal boxes tucked within green pockets, quiet souls hushed by the grandeur of the forest we currently call home, reticent to disturb the wildlife that also grazes here – squirrel, fox, and rumours of cougar. Occasionally bear. We are skirted on one side by marsh, a lush welcoming for geese and goldeneyes; and on the other by ocean, where seagulls and terns claim driftwood as perches. It is the raven who is master here. Large wings casting shadows, the thrumming call – sometimes belligerent, sometimes a purr – a reminder that this land is theirs, that the totem poles dotting the island are a testament to royalty.
Offshore, seals roam in masses encouraged by the schools of trout and halibut, and soon the salmon run. Orcas gather in semi-circular formation, readying the hunt. Spring is a time of proliferation – abundance after the Winter chill.
Arise, old woman Nature evokes new rhythm – Spirit wants to dance.
(Vancouver Island first appeared here April, 2018. It is an early attempt at a haibun. I am linking up to my weekly challenge: trees. Image my own.)
(Warning: this poem discusses the effects of sexual assault, and may be disturbing to some readers.)
Back and forth I travel, searching for her – retrace every bend, curve, detour – back to the water, the sand, the beach where I lost her…haunted
by velvet brown eyes – bedroom eyes, they told her, men with greedy loins, calculating – I lost her to the lure of alcohol, to the pounding beat of drums in those smoky corners so far removed from the purity of our dreams…
It’s been an arduous journey, some days so lost in the daze of forgetting; I cycle back, memories of manhood exposed egos craving stroking, learning what men wanted, learning to numb
disappointment with fast-talk and all-nighters, suppressing tears discovering that words hold no promise and water is deep, and going within is a dark, foreboding place, and worth…
is shrouded by the discovery that the father she adored was not as we’d thought, and that this primal urge for mating was a trap…. designed to eradicate beauty, not enhance it…
I need to find her, hold her afloat in sacred waters, help her feel the healing light of a thousand women’s hearts all bleeding as one,
all tainted by the same convoluted messages – that lust is sinful and copulation a man’s domain, and that in order to be espoused, she must forgo her nature – tame the wild settle…
but as much as I travel these lonely roads, I cannot find her, the traces of her innocence washed away by the tides…lines now on this aged face
If you see her, please hold her close… hold her until the beauty of her being is solid knowing and the shame vanquished Hold her till she understands the light she was born to be.
( Wayward Daughter first appeared here in February, 2017, and was published in the anthology: We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault…, by Indie Blu Publishing, 2018. This version is edited. I am submitting it for my weekly challenge: roads. Art my own.)
Remember that time
wading to the caves
St Martin’s summer
How the tide rushed in
Atlantic pulling us apart
my body weak with laughter
How you shouted, coaxed –
once ashore we collapsed
wet but warm, hearts flooded.
(My brother and I weren’t raised together, as his father abducted him at age 10. Reunited years later, I treasure the moments we get to spend together, even though they are few and far between. Image my own.)