Challenge

The face in the mirror was crying again
blotchy and wet, it challenged her
to feel
to speak
to live

To find the tears
that would propel her forward
to possibility
to the future
instead of simply falling to the ground
and creating quicksand
at her feet

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brush

A short bristled brush
wends its way across the canvas
Leaving only rarely a trail of perfect paint –
The rest is marked by globs and sputtering dryness
Sharing canvas with this glossy-eyed reverie
Pigment covered with varnish

And still it haunts me

Darkness III

Sometimes we are born of darkness
we come from dark
into the shadows
at least
Perhaps we cannot bear
the full light of day
quite yet

We step from darkness
to dusk,
from dusk to sunset
from sunset to evening
Small steps that nevertheless
define our progress

We inch our way toward
the light
the sun
where shadows are obvious
and well-defined

We learn to live in the light
instead of caged in darkness
We breathe the light
into scarred lungs
see it with scarred eyes
feel it with scarred skin
It is a long and painful process
but oh, dear heart –
you should see
the sun rise!

Darkness II

Sometimes nighttime is our time
twinkling stars the jewelry of the sky
The moon is dressed
in pearls and diamonds
and laughs
that the rest of us
are so underdressed

But sometimes there is no moon
to smile her admonitions
at lovers on a bridge
Sometimes there are
no lovers
no bridges
no babbling brook beneath

Sometimes we feel there is only darkness
now, and forever –
no stars
Just darkness
vast and heavy on our breath
We exhale darkness
and there is no escape

Darkness I

Sometimes we can appreciate the darkness
like when we sit in the shade
of leafy branches waving overhead
and finally rest a while –
to stop
from the million-mile-per-hour
pace our brains set for us
because there’s just SO MUCH
in this world

Sometimes standing in someone else’s shadow
is a relief
that escapes our lips and tongue
and people turn to stare
But we are hidden in the wings
shadowed by the spotlight
of someone else’s
intended glory

Sometimes dusk is best
and we breathe
we ease
fold back the covers
and slide between cool sheets
alongside memories of
pillow forts, shadow puppets
and love

Her Face Is Fluid

An eyebrow here, an earlobe there
Lips that smile and frown and tremble
Corners with lipstick of nude and pink and siren red
Lips with chapstick and no lips at all

A tear falls on wrinkled flesh, youthful flesh, tired flesh, despairing flesh
The lines around her mouth form and erase themselves
Crinkles at the corners of her eyes become chasms,
repositories of wisdom that evaporate and fill again

Clouds and sun billow and spin across her face as they do the sky
Bright eyes, dull eyes, wicked eyes, kind eyes
blink and close and wink and wide
lashes long and dark, short and white,
that sometimes fall as quick as sleep,
slow as waking

Alike

You are so unlike me
and still alike
As dancers
connected at only a few points
but part of an intricate shape
that moves
and expresses
All its curiosity and tension
poured into muscle
and sinew
The fling of an arm
curl of a finger
wrap of wrist

Tell me what you know
what you love
what you want
what you hope
and fear
Let me learn it all
Let me drink in the sight of you
and how you exist
The parts you put together
for your outside face
and the inside one, too
Connect the ends of each line
and crease
and see the shape that emerges

Let me see your beauty
even when you don’t
Melt my heart like butter
with the story of your life
Let me learn who you are
find your self within you
and me there, too
Because we are truly alike
you and I
even though we aren’t remotely