Audre Lourde

Coping

It has rained for five days
running
the world is
a round puddle
of sunless water
where small islands
are only beginning
to cope
a young boy
in my garden
is bailing out water
from his flower patch
when I ask him why
he tells me
young seeds that have not seen sun
forget
and drown easily.

Audre Lorde

“Between Worlds” by Vida Vierra

“The moment I faced the inevitable loss of my Father…”

Despite the freshness of this warm
New England morning, I cannot take a deep
breath. The cleansing winds and morning dew fail to penetrate into that realm of the bardo I am traversing.

It is day four of the Hostage Crisis. Francis Xavier, having been captured by Parkinson’s, is now enduring the torture of dementia. He had once remarked to his children “this disease is my prison”. Now sentenced, he lays helpless on the over starched sheets, behind the metal bars of the bed made by fate. Faded flowered smocks press up against his face as rubber gloved hands administer protocols masquerading as “Care”. Through my shallow breath I must gather my courage to once again press that buzzer and enter the security doors of this Purgatory.

After these last three days, I now understand why a guard is necessary.
My heart aches with an unnameable grief.
For three days I have been cursed as a stranger, a threatening shadow being who kisses his trembling hands. I feel like a hungry ghost, longing for the days when we feasted on politics, mystics, and laughter.
Where is the “How to” book for this unprepared moment of Now? Dear God, how can such a giant evaporate before a daughter’s eyes? Hail Mary, can your Grace open a new passage way through this labyrinth? As I turn the corner of these dim lit walls I hover, suspended between heaven and earth. I dare not breathe in the inevitable.

The only sunlit window revealing life as we know it on earth is at the end of his hallway. I chase away the image of the clear, white light. My palms now sweating, I steady my legs unsure if I can withstand another day of rejection. Once again I cross the threshold of his dark, gray room lit only by the blue light of “Jeopardy”.

As I enter the gate for this race against time I summon a deep breath as if I am about to push in labor. I will overcome my life long vertigo. I will jump off that bridge between this world and the next. With my brightest daughter’s smile that

was always his, I dive.

Vida Vierra

Photo by VC Ferry

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Stepping Off” by Mark McNease

(for Gene)

Because the darkness was so complete,
because a hole so deep and wide permitted
not even stars to peek through

you stood on a roof ledge and wondered
what you would say to us.
You reached for loved ones in your mind

but it had been closed by grief,
sealed off by circumstance and years
of sorrow, until you stood alone,
bereft, aching, wanting more than anything

to say goodbye. Rooftops do not bid farewell.
They do not make exceptions for love.
They yawn before us, and when we step from them
they close shut ever afterward, leaving tears
to cleanse the sides of the building. You are crumpled
and bloody, waiting to be found.

Mark McNease

All Rights Reserved

© 2010