Ally (Written November 24, 2017)

Ally

Because it is made of crystal,
not glass,
and because it was a gift
from her mother,

More than fifty years ago,
when she lived in a different town,
with a different husband,
facing different challenges,
she keeps it tucked away,

In the back of a drawer, in a box
with no name, hidden but not
forgotten. Whatever healing energy
it had to give, it’s already given,
and now it’s just a stone,

About the size of a thumbnail,
half an inch thick, oval in shape,
purple below, white above,
with raised dots over the uneven
surface, which sparkle like silver

In the light. The setting is silver,
in two rounds, the lower round
like beads strung together.
If I look closely enough,
I can see a moose

Emerging from the purple haze,
with its antlers tilted into the white
above. Through all her troubles,
in the distant past, the not so distant
past, and the present, when the world

Sometimes seemed to be collapsing
around her, she’s taken the moose
as her symbol of strength
and endurance – her ally.

Sleep, My Love (Written November 17, 2017)

Sleep, My Love

I shake her knee
but she just stares back at me.
Don’t go to sleep yet!
The show’s hardly begun!

There was a time, not long ago,
when she was the star of the show,
the one who could take an idea,
and turn it into something grand,
the way a sunflower seed,

So small in the palm of the hand,
will keep growing until it is
as tall as a woman, or a man.
Whatever the obstacle, whatever
the hurdle, whatever the puzzle,

She persisted. She never gave in
or gave up. And what she did,
though often hard, she did with joy
in her heart. Everyone felt better
in her presence. She made people laugh.

She could have been black or white
or brown or yellow, male or female,
or something in between,
it would not have mattered,
for she was the spirit of adventure.

She sleeps a lot of the time now,
but I’m okay with that.
There’s such a feeling of warmth
whenever I’m close to her.

White Noise (Written November 10, 2017)

White Noise

When she discovered that the white noise
not only did not
stop her from hearing the voices
but made her listen more closely,

In case they were talking about her,
saying things that were not true,
or at best half true,
with the aim of undermining her,
and sending her further into a tailspin,

She felt the wiser course of action
would be to accept her loss,
quietly, without protest, keeping
all her wits about her,
the way tulips will close up at night,

To retain whatever light and heat
they’ve captured during the day,
so that her enemies, who seemed
to be multiplying by the hour,
could do her no further harm.

She felt something funny in one ear,
a buzzing, a grinding the likes of which
she had never experienced before.
Was it a stroke? The flu? Chronic
fatigue? Or something else?

She stood up and announced to the others,
whom she had always thought of as friends,
but now believed otherwise, that she did not
feel well and wanted to go home.
Everyone stopped talking and looked at her.

She swayed back and forth, and we were
afraid she would fall. She took a step
toward the hallway, where she had hung
her coat, turned and looked at me.
I hurried to her side. I thought

We should go to the hospital,
but she said no, and she seemed
so sure of herself, so set,
I gave in and went along.

No Beginning, No End (Written November 3, 2017)

No Beginning, No End

She went inside, locking the door.
If I was who I said I was,
why had she never seen me before?
A walk around the block would do me good,

We both agreed. It was raining
but not hard. The wind had shifted
to the north, bringing colder, arctic air
that blew right through my poor hat.
The traffic was heavy on Champlain,

A steady stream that had no beginning
and no end. If I lost my balance,
as I clung to the edge of the sidewalk,
I might fall in front of a car and just like that,
as if by magic, all my troubles would be over.

Down Sainte Croix the traffic was light
to nonexistent. A woman I knew, a neighbor,
came toward me, her dog on a leash.
I asked his name, not for the first time.
We can be glad it’s not snow, she said,

Pulling her jacket tight around her shoulders.
In a shelter in a far corner of the parking lot
smokers congregated and made small talk.
Two or three stood outside the shelter,
in the rain, as if to punish themselves

For their bad behavior, or just because
it was too crowded inside. Farther down,
along the back road, a family of pheasants,
mama, papa, and six fledglings,
scurried to find a way down into the marsh.

I was cold, with the wind in my face,
but now, at least, I had something
I could tell her, something that might
please her and jog her memory.