For me, my daughters are as ghosts—
Invisible, they do not speak,
They only haunt the house,
Sometimes as unwashed shirt
That settles onto heavy chest at night.
Each day my heart takes a trip
Toward them once again—
Yet they back away with threats to
Bruise again with unquestioned lies
They think are only truth.
Oh woe are they and woe is me.
In my living room there stands
Empty high chair made of sturdy oak,
Once used by my mother,
Then my sister and myself—
Finally by my daughters, two.
Every day, I wonder
What is held within their minds.
Each day, I briefly live in horror.
Soon, like the heirloom high chair,
That will be taken to the consignment shop,
Sold at heavy loss and they will bear the price
As I move away, rhythm of my feet
Faintly fading in the dust.
There is only so much time to spare.
How many ways can it be divided?
With every conversation, every deed
We compose a song. I choose today
To play on white keys of the piano.
If others prefer black keys and sing in minor
Grief and hate— they are free to murder,
Live in grooves of sorrow and shadow.
I will welcome strangers to my home,
Feed them with an open heart.
Sometimes at night the thunder cracks,
At other times it comes with dawn,
Lightening strikes a stalwart tree,
Strong wind or fire brings it to the ground.
I watch and make sign of the cross,
Bless again the dust of Earth.
Today, great white polar caps of ice
Slowly melt away to flood the world.
In Africa, drought turns lions to
Attack rangers hired to protect them.
Such irony becomes the world….
Ancient Heraclitus who long ago transformed to dust
Believed he saw in nature and the universe
Constant tension resolved in transcendent harmony.
Imagine, he wrote, the lyre and the bow—
Both stringed instruments drawn taut,
Each allowed to pierce the heart,
To heal, to wound— but without the wound
Can there be deep healing in the world?
Every judgment offered may be
Followed with forgiveness. Maybe.
How often can you ask a ghost
To turn to seek a deeper truth?
How often must they go to the riverbank
Before hearts flow as water flows?
I pray they learn to swim,
To heal hearts and minds
That now seem as thin tin lids,
Blood drawn by sharp edge of mother’s tongue.
Forgive, I remind myself.
Move on. Move on. Let go.
You cannot walk the walk
Even of those you love,
Follow at their pace, pay their cost.
You must walk your own walk,
Run the race before you—
The only light upon the road
Shines as awkward love.