me and my shadow

At five, I was a shadow on stage,

following my cousin,

Marianne,

my tiny feet repeating her rhythm

perfectly.

Proud to be a tiny replica

of her beauty

I followed her,

tapping to the tune of

"Me and My Shadow."

 

Today, I look in the mirror

and see my own shadow.

I plead with her,

"let me be,"

begging her to hide behind me.

 

She has taken control,

proud to be my shadow,

while I hide behind

her confidence and charm.

 

She takes him,

makes love with him

--wild and winsome--

while I watch, paralyzed,

waiting for the perfect moment

to come.

 

She drags me into thee poem

and I let her go where I, myself,

fear to go.

She is me

without hesitation.

 

 

queen bee

Bees may travel as far as 55,000 miles and visit more than 2 million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just 1 pound of honey!                                                      --The National Honey Board

A bee needs to travel thousands of miles

in her journey.

My mother can go as many miles

instantly

just being here in my heart.

 

my mother's eyes

I'll always remember my mother's eyes—

the way she squints

even when she smiles, 

like she's angry at the world

for all the pain that pushed its way into her heart.

 

Did giving birth

to an Elvis impersonator and five strong women

take its toll on her eyes, "windows to her soul?"

 

Did being married to my father,

a man with a million plans

and a knack for executing them,

one at a time,

put that worry in her eyes?

 

Did the death of her sister,

shot in the heart by her husband,

in a deer hunting mishap,

work its way into her psyche?

 

Did she inherit the pain in her eyes

from her mother and father

who brought it with them

from El Greco?”

 

I see my mother's eyes in my sisters' eyes,

my brother's eyes, and mine.

Sometimes I see her eyes

in the eyes of my children,

my sibling's children,

and her great grandchildren.

 

My mother's eyes

are an heirloom we carry with us,

a genealogical gem – as hard to penetrate

and precious as the sapphire stone

in her mother's wedding ring,

the one I now wear

every day.

my father's photographs

I am fascinated

by his photographs,

stuffed away in dusty drawers,

waiting for me to pick them up,

one by one.

 

It's my father,

the photographer,

who draws me there,

as I slip into my parents’ bedroom,

kneel down in prayer pose,

and open the bottom dresser drawer,

where I find myself,

cradled in my mother's arms.

 

She is smiling back at him

like she'll be there forever--

as though the photograph is enough

to keep them together.