She Makes Me Tea

She asks me
Would you like some tea?
As I read,
Lounging,
The expanse of
Microfiber couch
Between us
Shrinking
Her voice
Tender,
She doesn’t drink
Tea
Or vodka,
Her consideration
So difficult to believe
How do I accept
Unconditional love?

She rises,
Traverses a menagerie
Boils water
Scoops dried leaves
Into my favourite
French kitten cup
(The one for tea,
She knows coffee
Goes in the green
Starbucks mug)
Steeps,
Long enough
And places beside me
Smiling,
“Drink it,
Before it gets cold,”

My heart quickens,
Remembering her soft lips
Heart bursting
Three years
I still don’t quite
Believe
Are real,

But she is action,
And her everyday kindness
Is its own indelible
Poetry
Etched forever
Into the hollows
The dents and cracks,
Of our mutual
Crazy
Love story.

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

Charlie

one spring day,
not this one,
i took sweet Charlie to the vet
for the last time;
a small thing
we all do,
eventually,

she was special,
my Charlie,
who arrived to a Bad Marriage
and was Love incarnate,
letting toddlers pull her lips
and try to ride her…
so loved we got a second dog,
her younger sister…
running away in her older years
because she was deaf
and my voice no longer
penetrated her obsession
with food,

and then,
then…
old, and sick,
she was caught in the middle
of The End,

a marriage marinated in alcohol
battles for custody
manipulations grand and microscopic
and one little dog,
rheumy-eyed and stinking,
slowly dying,

until that day,
four-year-old crying
“mama kicks Charlie”
the usual denials,
the lack of proof,
my heart,
shattered,

i remembered all the times
in denial,
i had heard X muttering drunkenly
in the kitchen,
“i hate these damn dogs”
Charlie, as ever,
underfoot when food was at hand,

Charlie’s sister died of cancer;
a long process
of peeing blood and incontinence
doggy diapers
specialist visits
iv’s and needle aspirations
painful and, in the end
for nothing,

then, one year later,
in the middle of a war zone
Charlie started peeing blood
she became incontinent
“mama kicks Charlie,”
a small voice telling
a big truth,

when my week came
i took my little boys in my arms
and told them Charlie was sick
and soon would go to see her sister
they cried
they accepted
as children do,

i split my heart in two
one half strong and capable,
taking my sweet Charlie one last time
to the park,
the other half climbing a high tower
in an unfamiliar castle,
searching for a way
to survive,

i found a homing pigeon,
waiting atop the tower,
head cocked in perpetual question,
eye blinking at me

i had never sent a message
by pigeon,
but this pigeon seemed capable enough
so i pulled a red crayon from my pocket
and drew half a heart
on a bit of gum wrapper,
rolled it into a tiny scroll,
and placed it on the castle wall,

the pigeon took my burden
and spoke to me,
which also did not seem strange,
“i will find you in the future,
and bring your message home”

with the relief of feeling only half the pain,
Charlie and i made the final journey
where i dropped her off at the door
and did not accompany her
just a quick kiss,
and “see you later my little love,”
knowing i would not,

time passed
the divorce was finalized
life moved on
became more stable
the kids became happier,
and by some miracle
i found love,

perhaps it is five years to the day
but my mind won’t remember it
so i couldn’t say for sure
but last night,
i awoke to the sound of tapping,
and there was the pigeon,
head cocked,
waiting at my window,

she had come home to roost
bearing my broken heart
across time,
writ in crayon
on old gum wrapper
precious only to me,
i took the message in shaking hands
and cried,
feeling the full weight of guilt
and regret,
why had i not gone with Charlie,
to the end?

i understood at last
that survival sometimes requires
imperfect solutions;
Charlie, stoic as she was,
would forgive me,
and at some point,
soon,
i will forgive myself.

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

Part 5: Found

IMG_2019

skip ahead three decades
and you will find her,
calm and filled with wonder
her hands having become tools;
fingertips alive with a seventh sense
able to feel the barest palimpsest
engraved in dark places

the journey has been long
and she is tired,
having released many incarnations of her soul
to create this opus:

the angry girl burst
and disappeared
after she forgave herself;

the scholar dove,
swimming like breathing,
on instinct;

the lover was troublesome,
with a penchant for rescuing broken souls
thereafter enabling all manner
of bad behavior
for which she paid dearly;

becoming a mother healed her,
for in mothering her children,
she mothered herself;

within the mess of life and release,
she grew her spirit
until one midsummer day,
she awoke,

tears streamed down her cheeks,
not of sorrow,
for she was love,
in its purest form

her soul vibrated,
rippling over her dear one,
asleep beside her,
caressing her two
beautiful boys

she felt everything;
she crackled with life,
and would have roared with it
had it been morning,

she awoke
to the present

now

she is calm and filled with wonder
for life is love
and love is life
and she has found her place
in both.

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2017

Unrequited

they hiked to a secret place,
if you can call a forest pool
known to all the kids in town
“secret,”

in the fleeting heat of summer
the still, deep pool appeared
unexpectedly
amid rapids and gnarling
forest branches
creatively dubbed
“hot rocks”
for obvious reasons
some generations before

it was a lazy summer sport,
hiking with beer
throwing down wet bodies
onto hot rocks
or each other
jumping into the frigid water,
laughter and screams through the quiet rainforest

until Jesse jumped
diabetic Jesse who was drunk
like the rest of them
and his mortal, adolescent heart
just stopped
searing this memory
ever after
of CPR and sweat
and the twins screaming
Jesse Jesse Jesse

there were no cell phones then
only miles to run hauling
ghost Jesse
to the beat-up pickup
and then the loss
of time

fast forward to
Sophie dressed in black
without crying,
reading poetry
for Jesse
her first love
not knowing how my heart broke
for her,
my own first love,
how I had always wished
to be Jesse

1SageFemme 2017 All Rights Reserved

frozen

today my chest tightens
meditation fails
anticipation like ice
creaks into blood and bones,
a meeting;
my gifted child
at five
contemplates the face
of god
at eight it’s punnett squares
for bedtime chatter,
so today, today
i will sit across from her,
the one who left,
the charismatic liar
the drinker
who stole more
than money
and discuss this child
and she will smile,
call me by an old, old
lover’s name
and pretend
like always,
to be human

1SageFemme All Rights Reserved 2017

Her

The lake smells ripe today
Sweet and rotting
Dead and reborn in this heat,
Gulls crying for scraps
White fluff like summer snow
Swirling
Dancing with eddies of sand
Sailboats, kite surfers
Awaiting the breeze
Laughter through the trees
Remind me of her

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

right there

damn, you unbuckle me
when you touch
that way
soft fingers searching
lips
tracing invisible constellations
connecting stars
i see them
as time
slows
meandering,
made inconsequential by celestial
bodies
suspended,
drifting,
only your hands
your mouth
your eyes
exist,
my skin feels you whisper
wordless incantations
i
reply
panting
raw staccato
your hands no longer soft
press and knead,
deep into my dark core
unafraid
you explore
find that spot,
right there, yes
you unleash me
love
how you free me
did i exist
before this?
your tongue knows
my rain dance
you,
never tire
drive hard
into my longing
you vibrate
you glow,
i swear there’s a halo
before i explode,
melt
into you…

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Orlando

 

Orlando

mother, you told me
your church wouldn’t welcome me
sentiment shooting from
pale pink lips
over the scrape of knives and forks
my children watching
as I inhaled your casual violence
lest it escape into the world
to join a cacophony of hatred
love the sinner
hate the sin;

hate

am i a sinner?
raising two tender boys,
waking at four a.m.
to race to the hospital,
or a family’s home,
where new life bursts into these
queer hands
where i hold your
christian muslim jewish
babies
in most precious regard,
sometimes wrestling them from
otherworldly hands

my love is sin
that is the lesson
that you will not teach my children
and they will be my response,
mother

do you not see that your alter
is rotten,
that disdain disguised as love
eventually,
inevitably,
leads to violence
born of hate

you made Omar Mateen
when those words left your lips
on the wings of moths
to join the hurricane

“you would not be welcome there,
anyway…”

we,
queer people
always fighting to be worthy of love…
we all died a little
that sunday morning
in june
because we know

know

that you hate us

but we have always existed,
despite you,
and we’ll go on creating
a whole new world
out of the ashes

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Queer flirtation

aged 25:
I was in a bar restroom, and when I exited the stall a (very) masculine woman was facing me, casually leaning on the counter looking intense and completely sober. Taken aback, I chose the most logical course of action; I went to wash my hands, just as though there wasn’t a sexy-as-hell dyke planted between the sinks. There was a roll of that cheap industrial paper towel on the counter, and, face burning, I reached for it as she turned ever so slightly and knocked it to the floor. After a nanosecond too-long pause, I bent down to pick it up, but somehow she beat me there, and handed the roll to me as I stood back up, staring into my eyes the whole time. I don’t actually know how she did it, because my mind went completely blank. My legs turned to jello, which up until that exact moment I had thought was just a figure of speech. Without saying a word, she gave me the slightest self-satisfied smile, turned on her heal, and strode away. Bathroom Butch, wherever you may be, I thank you!

1Sagefemme   all rights reserved 2016

 

 

Fragile Lover

I met a narcissist in her natural habitat
an audience for her wit and charm
unheeding the warning
glaring neon above her head
“DO NOT FEED THE EGO”
blinded by big white teeth,
wanting only to kiss her
to bask in her glorious smile,
to be her captive
audience

until the show turned dark
she had my heart
but wasn’t sure after all
if I was young enough
or pretty enough
to introduce to her friends

and I learned
that complements can mask
insults
that the ebullient Insta-ego
recording, snapchatting,
seeking likes
protects
the most fragile kind of lover

who can simultaneously admire
and despise you
not seeing humanity,
but one’s service
to her self-esteem
damaged way back
when attachments first failed
and love never grew
and that maternal bond
broke

so here I am
the finder of broken things
having learned to turn
and walk away
my worth not defined
by a disrespectful tomboy
with a snappy suit,
a hundred silk ties
and a terrible eighties haircut

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016