Held

Held, beheld, beloved
Squishy soft and warm in my fingers
Browsing the shelves
With my hands and my eyes
Until I find the perfect skein

Beheld, beloved, held
Hours, days, weeks
I carry my knitting with me always
Stealing curls of time with my needles

Beloved held beheld
Picot edges frame your face
Your small arms reach out
In woolly sleeves to me

Emptying drawers in an
Empty house
Folded with a lavender sachet
And moth holes
One tiny green memory with a picot edge
Held
Beheld
Beloved

Study Hall

I don’t remember when I first saw her
Probably in the hallways
Maybe in the cafeteria
One pretty girl amongst pretty girls
Pretty much the same
I remember when she saw me
In the library, study hall, second period

Her eyes a little too big for her elfin face threw wide
A cloud sailed away from the sun; I burned from her light
She asked me to be her lab partner
Cracking the sternum
Dissecting the four ventricles

I wasn’t shy just deep quiet
She, awkward effervescence of the perpetual new girl
Soon we were
Sleepovers, secrets
Braiding hair
Falling asleep on the phone
We found a home in each other’s pocket

Then her dad got another job in another state
And she was gone
Like that
In a flurry of boxes and cardboard promises to visit

There were other friends and boyfriends
College then work
Then a husband and children
Some days still
Every once in a while
It rains while the sun is shining
When that sliver of light carves cumulus
I feel her little too big eyes on the back of my neck
I turn
and look for her looking at me

The Ride Home

A thin ribbon spooling out of the growing darkness
Watching him from the corner of my eye
In the passenger seat

I’m afraid for him
Afraid of everything
Glittering his eyes picking up the street lights

Afraid if he’ll go to college
Afraid if he doesn’t
Afraid of his friends, his choices

Rows trees speed past us
I turn to speak
As the sun slides beneath our feet

As the moon weighs down
My head our home looms before us
His hand pats my shoulder

“Thanks I appreciate it.”
Suddenly cold air washed over me
A hush metal against metal

I sit in the roar of the quiet
Moving forward through
Stands of questions and doubts

A Closed Book

Sun faded sage cover
Brushed velvet from fingers after bedtime
Opened under a pastel petal comforter
Lit by a flashlight and the promise
Of a walled garden blaring
Bellflower and lilac purple
Magenta primroses with saffron throats
Among a hush of lamb’s ears like the edges of well-thumbed pages

Resting on a crowded shelf in my flowered wallpapered bedroom
in my dorm room
In my first apartment
In my son’s nursery lingering
The way the memory of a brushed geranium
clings to your fingertips

Alone on my own little bit of earth
Electric lime coleuses and violet etched fern fronds,
punctuated with scarlet begonias
What is left of your gold letters is
burnished calligraphy lady’s mantle on my shoulders
I sit in the shade peaceful as a closed book

Secret Clocks

The mangled heir tucked away in the catacombs
Forgotten insane aunts stowed in attics
Every family has its mysteries

The outward facing dial
Placid and round
Ordered and ordinary
Slivered into relateable hunks

Yet behind the smooth panel
thrashing and twisting, torn needed secrets
Caught on the gears’ teeth

Pendulum,
anchor,
wheels,
escapement
Each member with set roles
in repetition
moving in rhythmic chaos
Marking time

Woe Is WiFi

Ode to a feckless phone without mercy
If only I could I’d fling your heft
O, device of delight shining brightly
Dragging my joy to its lowest depth

When your role was to make me happy
Instead you’ve rendered my plans bereft
Pixelated frozen true crime documentary
No podcasts, no paranormal audiobooks, no nothing left

Yet a skein of wool has never betrayed me
And my knitting magazine soothes my distress
Thank the fates for my paperback by Anthony Berkeley
Take that spinning pinwheel of death

Tilt A Whirl

It was never meant to go this far
Just wanted to fly on the Whirl A Gig
To scream ourselves hoarse
As the wind caught our secrets

You held my hand on the Ghost Train
It was never meant to go this far
Babysitting money splurged
On hot buttered corn and cotton candy mouthfuls

Cherry ice warm lips
Missing that last bus
It was never meant to go this far
Closer than close, the best of friends

Sawdust clings to our sneakers
Walking for hours beneath uncertain clouds
Still flying
It was never meant to go this far

Tell me a story

Curl into me, little one
I will keep you safe
Your back to my chest
Your hands in mine
My arms are the only cradle you’ve known
Our breaths mingle on Auntie’s sofa

Tell you a story
It’s too late for stories
We have to move again maybe
Okay a short one
The one about the hedgehog
With blow bubble wings and
Bunny ears no bumblebee ears that’s right
I tell the story
You tell the story
it’s turns into a long one

Things will be better tomorrow
Whizzes across a lake faster than light
Tangled strings of me woven
Soaring from beneath the lake’s surface over the treetops
Until your breathing spins into restless dreams
Twitching like the fluffy tail of magic
Another adventure put to sleep
Another night saved, another day to make it right

Late of Mary Lynch, 1869

Electric air bristles with revulsion
Quiet enough for a dropped pin
The world has outgrown sideshows
At least our consciences like to pretend

Truth be told we’re not very far from the freak
shows we’ve only added a markup language spin
Penny Dreadfuls have morphed into podcasts
That teach us it’s never a mannequin

Late of Mary Lynch, an unassuming volume awaits us
Deeply tanned and bound in its curio of sin
We crowd as close as souvenir hunters under the gallows’ shadow
Our flesh undulating for a glimpse of forbidden skin

From gruesome to wisdom
the mind flinches free of its voyeur glory
Grasping one could hold all that’s left of a woman
and still never know her version of the story

Sequined

Sparkling and paint-splattered, Saturday oversleeps turning into her pillow
Pillow soft Sunday urns for another day and a trenta iced coffee
Coffee carries Monday to work in a fireman’s hold
Holding her promise Tuesday clings to the edge
Edging from the brink Wednesday throws her leg over the hump
Humpback chest Thursday breaks open spilling pages free
Freed Friday shimmies down a fire escape with handfuls of sequins