Falling Tears

Tears are falling all around me,
diamond sorrow beads
silently spilling over flushed red cheeks.

A room full of emotion
becomes a sauna as numb people gather.
Perspiration dots foreheads,
dark circles stain arm pits.

Words of comfort are spoken
while words of sorrow are swallowed
along with stagnant, suffocating air.

A youth walking
in the shadow of addiction
stepped across onto the wrong side
of the line.
In an instant his soul sped away.
Life evaporated.

Anger rises above grief.
Anger at the monster
that has come into our homes.
Anger at the beast
that has enslaved our loved ones.
Anger at the powerlessness
we have in the face of this horror.

Hot tears stream.
Heaving tears overflow.
Shocked tears splatter.

Tears are falling all around me
diamond sorrow beads
silently spilling over flushed red cheeks.

Pieces of Me

Pieces of me
are sliced along definite lines.
An exacto knife
used with meticulous care
creates little wedges to let others glimpse
what they need to see
allow me
to hold myself together
long enough to discover
what the whole of me

In my precision
of personality division
I have lost a critical sliver of pie.

Peaches without cream,
Abbot without Costello,
Romeo sans Juliet.

Prosciutto thin identity
has left only crumbs of myself
that even a mouse turns away
in search of something more satisfying.

Bits and chunks
fragments and hunks,
accuracy is gone
along with my sense of self.
I am stretched,
a drum without a skin.

I collect and contain
delicate scraps and tainted morsels
discarded haphazardly
wiping the knife on a hip.

Like Humpty who fell
my shell
is cracked.
I don’t have King’s horses or King’s men
to put everything back

Paper Mache is my life line.
Glued sheets and strips
rebuild layer upon layer
of my raw, divided self.
All of the fragments lump together
as a heavy, wet mush.

form is given
to a new
unbroken heirloom.
A valued object full of stories
to be passed from
generation to generation.

A hidden treasure beneath all the layers.


Sweet stories
written through passage of time
float in the room.
An accordion rendition shared just so
squeezes in and out amongst memorabilia around the dwelling.

A birth tidbit distracts from pain in the moment.
Cherubic cheeks and bright eyes initiate brief anecdotes.
Photos lay in neat rows on the table,
frames polished and bright.
“They’ve taken them from his walls.
This one – she was a fighter. Ugly little thing,
fat head, big nose.”

Jack is gone.

A catch in her voice.
“We thought we’d have so much time together
now that our lives have quieted.”

Bare branches of the lilac hedge are stark,
unadorned with flowers or leaves.
They look brittle and frail
like the wisp of woman before me.
“I planted that from little slips taken from the farm.”
The shrubbery encloses the yard.
A thicket of tangled growth
hiding this slip of a woman from her neighbors.

“Jack and I met before the war.
I was working the switchboards.
He saw me standing by the mess hall kitchen sink
after dinner one evening, hands in soapy water.
‘What’s a guy gotta do to get a smile?’
That’s how we met.”

Jack is gone.

The hands with onion paper skin shake.
Sudsy water flashback hides the lines and blue-green veins
but not the grief.

“He built this house.
Realized quickly he may have taken on more than he could handle
but he saw it through. That’s what you do. You finish what you
start. We had a lot of good times
here in this old house.”

Jack is gone.

Black and white photo of a handsome young man
smiles from his perch on the countertop.
Thick black hair is swept roguishly to one side,
army attire impeccably neat.
His easy chair in the veteran’s home sits empty.
The walls of his room are bare.
A whispered tribute from his family home
sorts through memories.