Notebook for Mommy
I thought if I dutifully
recorded stories and sketches
in the notebook you gave
me when you were first
hospitalized you would come home.
Each day, my blunt-tipped lead
diligently traversed the expanse
of blank pages, stocking them with
rations of sky splintered
by summer’s thick streaks of sunlight,
entangled in somnolent clouds.
I meticulously adorned the fields of
short, uneven blades of grass with
lopsided roses and
stick-figured portraits of us
in embrace, as if the doctor never found
that lump in your breast.
I carefully pressed leaves,
gluing autumn’s glory into the notebook,
so that you could watch the colors change.
I filled pages with descriptions of
notes falteringly rising, toppling
into cobwebbed air, as I learned a new song
on piano, the unstable rhythm set by
my throbbing heart yearning for you
to hear me play again.
Winter’s heavy sigh fogged up
the lens of the sky, lingering on the dog-eared
corners. The dark point of my stubby pencil
fastidiously traced the contours of
my breath, suspended in the bitter air,
a wisp of disappointed hope
that we would soon lie together in snow powder and
pretend we were angels together.
When you didn’t come home,
I clasped my grief tightly between the pages,
cradling it as I stumbled over to the lake
where we once ran our fingers through the sun
trickling into the wrinkles of water.
The day cracked open like an egg. Impetuously,
I blew away the pages
and watched the shavings skid across the water.
Yesterday, I thought I saw
you when God’s colors were
of birds perched in the tangled mane of
tree limbs had finally torn apart the sky’s stitches.
The long, straggly fingers of
the shadow-shrouded trees had
Cascades of color gushed through the
cracks in the membrane
of earth’s periphery. They billowed
magnificently, gloriously, like scarves in the wind.
Sometimes I wonder
if God ever tires
of painting. Each day,
I wake up early to watch Him revise
the intricate layers of sky. His concentrated
breath fogs up the celestial lens
as He dips the tip of His brush in sun-ink
and delicately traces the wispy
contours of spider-spun
clouds twining aimlessly like ghosts
above the surface of the earth.
He persistently whitewashes the stained canvas of
heaven-scraping skies, reminding me that
He keeps trying to restore its protective glaze,
picked away like a festered scab
when you died. Each day,
I relentlessly scan His sky-sketched handiwork,
looking for you in the bleeding hues of the miscarried heavens.
Suspended in the air
limbs stretched out
body twisted in an X
pain etched in her face—yet
she is beautiful.
Her pale milky skin is
lost in the blinding white snow.
Her long raven-black hair
snarls and tangles as she is
tossed through the sky.
She glows as the wind
whips her face
and her glazed-over eyes
look through me.
Body contorted in anguish,
arms and legs a mangled mess,
I swear I can hear her
Never Sell Your Soul to Dreams
(Based on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Love is Not All”)
A dream will not be truthful nor sincere,
nor will forgive those welcomers of pain
who err by turning to reality,
to all that lies beneath the heaven’s reign.
A dream can have no shoulder to cry on,
nor lends a helping hand when you grow old.
A dream cannot be solid nor be touched.
How does it hide your stone-hard looming load?
Oft it will never vanish nor will leave.
But if it does it shatters in sharp shards
of drunken love, of pain long lost. Alas!—
our nature is so; beware what it guards.
Don’t ever sell your soul to dreams, they say.
If only I had listened; now, I pray.
Age 14, Grade 10
Sar High School