Poetry Archives N-O

Naming a thing doesn’t make it yours

Where I was born
they call them the Santa Anas
but I never thought to learn
the name of the winds here

they just blew
stripped leaves
for me to sweep up later
as leaves fell on my head

and if their name
was on a scrap of paper
that landed in my yard
I never read it

legend is
the Santa Anas will drive you mad
drive you to make sense of horror
then act

the winds here are different
in their relentless sameness
and today as I was slapped with death
I sought to learn their name

They call them El Diablo

On the 18th Anniversary of My Husband’s Death

Your death is grown
and ready to leave the nest
it is old enough
to make important decisions

it is its own thing now
and much less part of me
than itself
even as it will always be part of me

sometimes I still fight to keep it close
and hold it the way I did
when it was much younger
but it is just that

a fight
because it and I both struggle
because it and I both know
it doesn’t live here anymore
The order of a good death

This morning
the sun was shining
and the radio played
‘Dancing Queen’
on my way to the gas station
and life went on

for most of us

and I thought to myself
how lucky I would be
to go out the way I came in

diapered in a darkened room
surrounded by family
a bit confused
a bit angry
known to be a blessing
so very
Other Things that Hitler Did

Paris the mottled canvas
trembling beneath
a rabid brush
your mother painted there
in a corner
amidst the red and black
bodies and blood and resistance
holding her outline
as her center faded
was washed with gray and green
and you a sketchy presence
in her arms
a scarred scared thing
holding a scarred scared thing
until you stood alone
walked away
bearing her scars and your own
I still smell the turpentine
on my skin
when I think of us
what you used
to try and wash clean
the very things that made you
to create something blank
over a twisted masterpiece
you wanted to go by the numbers
red green gray blue
sections outlined in black
as though
the portrait of your occupation
wasn’t already
on display
hermetically sealed
in your museum
the artist’s name
carved deep in a corner
never to be forgotten
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