Floating on the Clouds
I see her reclining in the clouds.
Her long torso shows
just a hint of full breasts
Her nipples point
upward and proud,
her knees raise slightly,
And like a lazy cat
she languishes, stretches
to her full length.
She looks up at the dark puffs above her
and floats by
melding into her white cushions
or just to keep dry?
Wedding in Green Silk (for Wendy and Doug)
We sat on white folding chairs
arranged in a large circle on the lawn.
The sun off the ocean
warmed our backs.
At each quadrant – north, south, east, and west –
a small table, covered with silk cloth,
held a gift.
On another table in the center
were two blue velvet ring boxes
and a broom laying crosswise.
First came the drummers
dressed in soft sage greens
to honor Brigid, Celtic goddess of healing and growth
and the bearer of prosperity.
Their fingers rippled along the edges
of large flat drums
to beat the rhythm of the procession
Next came flower girls.
Hair in golden ringlets
they wore dark green velvet
and dropped petals
in bunches wide enough
to match their strides
on the grass.
Finally the bride and groom arrived.
He in a suit of white silk
and a long emerald green cape,
she in a flowing dress
of chartreuse silk charmeuse
and a lime green pau de soie wrap
To quiet, slow drumbeats
they walked within our circle
nodding, smiling, blowing kisses
with their guests.
They stopped at the center table,
their marriage alter.
At each quadrant a woman
offered her gift – flowing water, flowers,
fruits, and wine.
We offered our 6-foot lengths
of silk ribbons in all colors
to be woven into a coverlet
for the marriage bed.
The bride and groom offered each other a ring
fashioned of intertwining gold branches
and green gems.
As the sun slipped into the horizon,
not even late August’s night chill
could tear us away. We danced on the green
to beating drums
to beating drums
and Celtic goddess songs
in our hearts.
Pomegranate – The Last Hope
With flowing white hair
she ran with light dancer’s steps to the tree.
She ran around it chanting,
singing its praises,
then bowed, raised her arms,
and brought her palms together
to her heart in respect.
She plucked the round fruit
from its thorny stem
and fell to the earth on her knees,
her homespun skirt swirling and spreading
on the ground.
Tearing the tough outer skin open
long pointed fingernails
pried the crimson seeds
from the yellowish rind.
She pushed one shiny seed after the other
into her mouth
and as she chewed the thick red juice
ran down her chin, through her fingers,
and on her bare breasts
leaving her sticky
with the sweet fruit of life.
She ran her tongue
over and over her lips
lapping up every drop of the liquid.
She had longed for a child
for all eternity.
This was her last hope.
I look toward my mother's bed
in its sunny spot by the window.
Her young nurse is smiling.
So is mother.
She lies in a blue hospital gown
printed with triangles, squares and circles
in shades of gray, burgundy and dark blue.
Her skin looks healthy.
Her thin, white hair brushed off her face.
After the nurse leaves, she looks at me
with wide eyes and asks,
"Do you want to play bridge? We need a fourth."
"I haven’t played in years," I say
She accepts that excuse
and points her long painted nails
to two or three other people
she imagines in the room.
"They will play," she says.
I stroke her damp forehead,
holding her bony hand bruised from the needles
that had been stuck into it.
I brush my fingers down her white, silky legs,
now devoid of hair.
"Do I look a mess?" she asks.
The sun casts a shadow across her bed.
"No, you look wonderful," I say.
She smiles at me, not minding
that her mouth has no bottom dentures,
and brags how her cousins
tell her how good she looks
and how well-dressed she is.
Even here with her gown hiked up to her diaper,
I try to pull her gown down
but she keeps grabbing it.
I cover her with a sheet,
and sit down to watch her play cards.
"Six spades," she proclaims,
"Play out." I play out.
Using her night gown as her bridge hand,
she tries to lift off each pattern section
one by one as if it were a card
and place it on an imaginary table
in front of her.
I want to know what happened to her,
and what can be done about it.
"Hospitalitis," the nurse says.
She has seen it a million times before.
I go back to the bed and continue play-acting.
I am thankful too. Her mind is taking her to that other place
where she is young and beautiful
and lives on the west side of Chicago.
"I like this little room," she says.
"I’m glad," I say.