poems / Poetry / Uncategorized

Reckoning

There’s a news flash today

Oh wait,

in the new world order

there is always breaking headlines

President Trump tweeted…

 

Elevator to the 2nd floor landing

a certain familiar quiet

greets the stilled entry

into the sunroom

where a small spider

glides smoothly

knitting a web

hung on silver space.

 

In the corner

next to Apartment 201

is where Mr. Abrams, Cookie Maker lived

before he died

abruptly…

 

Ah, who fears death, they ask

He never gives you more than you can bear

say the people who pray

for safe travels, lost rings and stock growth.

 

Not all spiders are content web weavers

the venomous bite

of a Brown Recluse spider

can weave scars in memory

long, long after they bite.

 

Before school,

I tiptoe into my mother’s room

where she lays in fever

pain streaks across her face

learning too late

about brown legs

silently crawling

up green leaves

along the green house siding

that spider, a refugee

in those freshly trimmed bushes.

 

I had never seen my mother weak

drifting in limbo

poison and pain.

 

Then President Carter

flashes on the television screen

burdened, painfully immersed in

the hostage crisis…

It was a quiet day at the Embassy

in Tehran today

the days numbering off,

Day 10, Day 60, Day 120…

Yankee Go Home!

The next move is up to the U.S.”

 

President Carter

a good man of faith

a true man of faith

not a subscriber

to Boot Strap Theory

he drifts from the limelight

the world carries on…

 

I shake that off now

gingerly packing up

the family Bible

touching the pages

with haunted fingers…

 

Now, I tiptoe into mother’s room

I hold her shaking hands

I never remember

her being so small

never saw her sit with her head

in her hands.

 

Even now I see

the wallpaper of the house painted green

those voracious holly bushes outside

the small kitchen

our breakfast every morning.

 

And I wonder about

this world of mothers and daughters

the cycles and spin of galaxies

the time capsules of grief.

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36 thoughts on “Reckoning

  1. I loved the drifting quality of this poem, Lana. Snippets of memories that stay with us. The news of days past, the spider bite, the moment we recognize fragility and mortality. Beautiful and poignant. ❤

  2. I like your mix of public and private “news”… personal earthquakes that shake us to our core while being felt by no one else vs. big public events that, in comparison, barely register as tremors. Especially loved these phrases “hung on silver space,” “voracious holly bushes” and “the cycles and spin of galaxies / the time capsules of grief.” I can see them coming to life in my imagination–a transparent mylar balloon, decking the halls with venus flytraps, stars and moons tumbling in my front loader. Well done, Lana. 🙂

    • Thank you, Joan, for your very lovely comment. I think it also made me realize that there are also lots of good things when we reach back into time travel. We should confront the pain, but also stay grateful for what was.

  3. Fantastic! I think this must surely be the best one from you I have yet read. It transcends the personal and becomes a poignant homage to awakenings, memories and the cycle of time and change. I wish I could say it more clearly – but that’s the best I can do right now. Just fantastic ❤

  4. I can’t add much to the comments already posted, but to just say, “I agree” or post a “Like” isn’t enough either. For me the last lines are the most powerful and thought-provoking: this world of mothers and daughters, the cycles and spin of galaxies, the time capsules of grief. That same theme of grief for woman has been weaved in blood and ashes throughout the history of “man” so many times, and so deeply. The question, “why is it so?” remains. Will we ever answer it?

    • Thank you, Sha’Tara, for your wonderful comment. The background on this poem is that my mother passed away April 19th of this year. She had such a difficult life, and she was so smart and just really tough to get through life as she had it. I wish I could have made things better for her, she really deserved it. As far as your question regarding women and grief, I don’t know if we can ever answer that. Women shoulder so many burdens for their families, for causes, for others, etc. It does remain difficult to answer.

  5. Had no idea where you were heading with this one, Lana. So much sadness, so many memories to sort out. Hugs to you for peace during the sorting!

    • Thank you so much, Debbie. This particular poem deals with really the only two times that I saw my mother in so much pain. One, was back in the seventies when she was bitten by a Brown Recluse spider, and the other, of course, was at the end of her life. I used politics and world “happenings” as a frame of reference as to what was going on at both times. The cookie maker was a wonderful elderly gentleman who lived in the same housing unit as my mother did her last few years. He would bake cookies and take them out to the ladies in the sunroom. One day, nobody saw him, and come to find out, he had a fatal heart attack in his apartment. Very sad. I brought religion into it because I live in the reddest state along with a lot of hypocrites. People who despised Jimmy Carter whom I consider, out of all them, to be a true Christain. I’m also taking a swipe at them because I feel a lot of their prayers are shallow and self-serving at a time when there are such incredible important items that we should be grappling with. So in a nutshell, that is the background for this particular poem. I did write it several weeks ago. I keep a binder of things that I write, sometimes I blog publish them, sometimes not, sometimes I do way on down the line. I have been doing well and refinishing a little accent table that my mom had (my grandmother before her). I chuckled because my mom just ended up using a paper towel for a coaster which she never would have at an earlier time in her life. When I have it stained and varnished, it will look new again, and I will pass it to my daughters. Cycles go on… blessings to you, xo.

      • Thank you, Lana, for taking time to explain the thought process behind this lovely work. I know that’s a LOT to ask a writer — and sometimes I bristle at having others ask me for one — but it helps so much to understand what’s going on. Blessing right back atcha!!

  6. Hi Lana, strong poem, you make me stop, think, re-think, wonder, and I am just thinking again and what to think next. It was well written, lots of characters in your words. A very interesting piece of writing. Thank you for posting! A good week to you!

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am always glad that I can write things sometimes that do make people stop and think a bit. I write a lot about our changing political climate in the U.S. these days as a way of dealing with these scary times. I hope you have a wonderful new week also. I will stop by your blog to see what you’ve been up to 😀

  7. Haunting, beautiful, and inspiring – all evoked from this beautiful writing. The past, the future and the now entangled, yet one constant, the women still bearing a brunt from the past. 🙂 ❤

  8. Wow! This poem is packed with emotion – I feel the tears as I read, the confusion, trying to make sense of what can never rationlised. The details of everyday life interwoven with international events works a treat and so real. Lana, there are wonderful lines throughout here and I was caught by your final words of ‘ time capsules of grief.’ That encapsulates it perfectly.

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