First Day of Fall [Poem]

When we open our eyes to the first day of fall,
it will be as warm as all of the days of summer
and our slumber will end the same as any other

with discarded sheets,
and curtains cast aside,
with the making of beds,
after a moment spent
lingering at bedside.

Outside, the still-green leaves rustle
in an undefinable breeze,
the sounds of commuting cars
echoing among manicured trees.

Inside, we do not know fall has come
until we chance into chilled air,
only to escape back inside,
already praying for weather more fair,

insulated by sealed doors,
hidden by tinted windows.
We rearrange wardrobes
and turn the thermostat dial
a few degrees at a time

to maintain the illusion of sameness we hold so dear,
so dear that we fear its changing, preferring to hide back under the covers,
that our slumber may end the same as any other.

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

An Echo [Poem]

Loneliness is a deep canyon
that gives no echo.

So that no matter how loudly
you try to resound

the words catch
at the corners
of your lips

and you swallow
then back down
like half-chewed seeds

hoping that they
might grow roots
deep inside of you

and sprout daisies
from your chest cavity
like longed-for weeds

So that you can build a garden,
that does not grow

but can weather every day
that the sun’s face does not show.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Whenever the Wind Blows… [Poem]

If the winds of fate blow heavy,
let them not blow me far from you
or bring me to some lonesome levee
before my days have passed their due.

If the winds of fate blow softly,
as those cold winds so often do,
I will hold by your side staunchly
in moments bold or moments blue.

This may not be how it will be
but I believe it will be so.
Fate’s cold winds will blow by harshly,
but you’ll be with me even so.

My love, whatever fate may be,
Whenever the wind blows, think of me.

Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

To Really Listen [Poem]

To speak
is my predisposition,
even in times
when I would be
better served
to pay you more mind.

I know this

and still, to change
is a process
that vexes me.
I do not know
any other way
to be.

I know this,

but there are times
when our discussions
turn to debates
and I hate realizing
how much I hate to lose
far too late.

I know this

and after each
of these times
my head starts to spin,
wishing to learn how
to be wrong
and to really listen.

Photo by Andres Herrera on Unsplash

The Illustrated Woman [Poem]

She came through my door full of history,
her cheeks polished silk smooth
by the soft erosion
of bitterly fallen teardrops
and her hands wrinkled
like the crumpled and torn first pages
of unfinished novels –
written, erased, crumpled, and tossed
in the wastebasket.

Her shoes etched
thousand mile indents,
marking my entryway with
traces of old alleyway shortcuts
and once familiar roads.
Each pace down my darkened hallway
recited episodes of the solemn journey
that first led her to the promise of warmth
behind my door.

In the dim light of the doorway,
the colorful stories etched into her skin
flickered in and out of focus.
I had to trace the outlines with my fingertips,
so that no detail would slip through the cracks.
She had chronicled all her stories in her skin,
so I tried to grasp every detail,
but so many times
I didn’t know where to begin.

Let Your Love [Poem]

Let your love be sunshine

pulling down eyelids already heavy with sleep
with the promise of daydreams
and the memory of counting sheep.

Let your love be a spring shower

pooling in the spaces between idle fingertips.
and dripping down sun-soaked shirts
as it overflows thirsty lips.

Let your love be lightning

lingering in the spaces between the rumbling thunder
like a promise or a premonition
at once terrifying and full of wonder.

Let your love be a downpour

falling wherever your clouds overflow,
cascading over mountains and growing flowers
in places flowers shouldn’t be able to grow.

Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

A Delayed Rebirth [Prose]

There was a lick of cold in the air when I stepped out of the front door that early spring morning, a small reminder of the ghosts of winter. I thought, for the briefest of moments, about digging a coat from the bottom of my pile of already-packed-away winter clothes, but the sun above my head was warm enough against my shoulders and it had been far too long since the sun and I had talked without intervening layers. Slow paced, I traced a path through my concrete clad neighborhood with no particular destination in mind. The sun felt good on my back, so I took off my shirt, letting the cold and the warmth sweep over me simultaneously. I shivered slightly as the sun battled the shadows on my behalf.

Ghostly blackbird sings

a premonition of spring

hidden in the shade.

The leaves crinkled under my feet as I walked. One of my footsteps made no noise and I paused to see what there was living among the dead leaves. It was a single cherry blossom petal that must have floated here on the contradictory breeze. With nowhere to go and nothing but time, I sat down in the dead leaves by the roadside, twirling the cherry blossom petal between my fingers, feeling the cold breeze, waiting for spring. I sat there all evening. As the sunlight faded into night, I bit a piece off of the petal, then another, then another, until there was nothing left. After that, I went home, the cold breeze still lingering.

dead leaves and dry ground

all crumbling underfoot –

a delayed rebirth

At DVerse, the prompt is to write a haibun about Cold Mountain.

Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash

Blood Moon [Poem]

Moon as red, as autumn wine,
that on this summer night so fine,
across the sky has slowly bled
like paint, unaccustomed to lines
or to creaking necks and upturned heads
that never before or after saw a moon as red.

There is a quiet quiver in the air,
on this summer night so fair,
when the moon is bled to slivers,
and laced with clouds that do not care
how much they mute the moon’s red river.
In your shoulders that night, though you know not why, there is a quiet quiver.

At DVerse today, we were asked to write a sparrowlet poem.

Photo by Anand Rathod on Unsplash

The Climb [Poem]

What is it, friend, that you expect to find
when at the mountain summit you arrive?
Will mind and body begin to unwind
or is that just a lie that you’ve contrived?
Might that lightheadedness be salvation
or is it merely an absence of air?
Are the tears that you weep from elation
or are they born from an unanswered prayer?
When Moses stood tall on that fabled hill
did his eyes see the same glory as yours?
Will you both swallow that same bitter pill
when you return to humanity’s door?
To search for salvation is so often futile,
even prophets must search through inverted pupils.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash