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Eileen Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

This is a short story about life sometimes being painfully long, and other times abruptly short. It’s about fleeting-time, death, living day-to-day, year-to-year -the struggles, triumphs, and the people that we love, creating memories and losing them, falling-apart, and finding yourself. It tells of new friends, old places, and the need for trusting strangers. Throughout, there is music, dance, laughter, and madness, sometimes waiting too long-running out of time, broken hearts, and romance. Included are the moon, the sun, the sea, that has often saved us in our coming and going in fear and fury, desperately holding on and simultaneously letting go.

When once we were young and beautiful now growing-old and free – the tears, regret, joy, and walking with God in love. Sometimes you must trust in something, even a dream, each day while losing hope until there’s a miracle.

Finally, it’s about choices – good, bad, and suddenly having none.

Together we are here as if a point on a map has found us equally lost.

Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

I am in between love, without life’s old shine, missing a best friend, walking, not necessarily feeling the steps beneath my feet that take me through the day. When sleeping has become the only sanctity, and you end up in an uncomfortable bed — the irony.

Eileen is a woman I’ve come to know. Alzheimer’s is her afflicting disease. We share a strong sense of humor, punching our way through life’s struggles, laughing at ourselves, jointly crying over a broken heart.

In many ways, in different circumstances, two people can find a new foundation to keep them both from sinking.

I cry almost daily for a warm hug that never comes, for a listening ear that understands and won’t judge. I’d like to be able to trust someone. Eileen cries to know how things changed and if she could possibly get back to where she belongs, feeling happy. We agree with finding happiness.

From my first poetry book, The Sum of Something Meaningful

This story is a reflection of you, out there, and of me and Eileen, and what it takes to survive nature’s cruelty. What if anything, is the point? Do love and pain exist as experiences in and of themselves that we merely host like the sky does the stars? Or is each step, day, year, a way closer to healing…

For the past year and a half, I’ve been caretaking for Eileen. I thought I was ready because my mother died from Alzheimer’s, and I had witnessed first-hand the violent storm. During those years, I was losing a caretaker—heart of the home, a warm hug from the person that could always make anything better. I was missing her recipes, stories, clear-eyes with no confusion, advice, unwavering love, her kiss goodnight that I’d collect while she said her prayers, knowing they always included me, and it made me feel much safer in the world, that and the smell of Pond’s cream on her soft cheek.

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My Mother Francesca

Eileen is my friend. I’ve come to know her well, despite the times she does not recognize herself. Unlike the experience with my mother, today, a mature woman, I am learning the soul and heart of another woman. I only wish I could have understood my mom this way, those days, but instead, I later found a gentle glimpse of her romantic heart in her love letters to my father. I have learned how much like her I am.

Letter to my Dad Overseas

Eileen also has love letters from a man she recalls when she was young. Jimmy Wells sung of her praises. From photographs, she has shared with me; beauty did not miss her. Even today, Eileen maintains the same spirit and fights to keep herself!

Young Eileen

Putting on her lipstick with an aching heart, she views the picture of her beloved late husband, Sonny, on the bedroom chest-of-draws. Confused and sad, she wonders why he doesn’t come around anymore? Initially, I explained he was in Heaven. It pained me to see her become angry or hurt, thinking he’d left. Now, she no longer understands the concept of dying the same way she doesn’t always recognize that she’s home.

Sonny and Eileen

“Where is my father,” she asks – A large red STOP sign taped to the front door and an alarm that sounds if she tries to leave to find her way home to the Bronx.

Eileen 2019 – Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

I do a lot of distracting these days – Let’s get dressed-up nicely before we go!

We look for people from the old days on the boardwalk and cope with anger when they don’t show. Often, we go to the nearby beach. There is peace at the ocean hard to find anywhere else. It has a quiet knowledge of everything. We feel simultaneously small and lucky to tread on the sand or boards beneath our feet. The sun offers brilliance on a blue-sky day or peeking through stern-grey clouds. We don’t have to grasp for words to speak but listen to the waves crash and seagulls soaring above. It’s enough, and there’s comfort in that.

Long Beach NY Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

In her last year of life, my mother continuously stated I want to go home! To watch my father make her comfortable, kiss her hand with love, and carry the burden of her being lost from him, broke my heart. I can only imagine the pain and fear of feeling you’re unable to find your home, beneath a roof or in someone’s heart, and oddly enough today, I recognize this feeling in my loneliness. I witness Eileen trying to find her way, and I know sincerely a soul is a home no walls can ever confine but invite a willingness to stay, yes.

My Father and Mother

Eileen and I listen to Frankie Avalon sing his hit songs, Why, Venus, and Beauty School Dropout. Eileen is back in time, young, beautiful, gushing over boys from school, and she laughs out loud while telling me how her mother would tease her, mimicking her young daughter’s behavior. In those moments, she is entirely comforted. Then we take a walk around the corner to find people from that time. They may be near if only we believe.

Recently after taking a couple of days off over two weeks, then returning to work with Eileen, she had declined. She saw me differently. That day I was her enemy. In her words, disgusting and horrible. According to her, I’d stolen her sister and children and now was after her memories. No, Eileen! It’s me, remember? No, she doesn’t. Suddenly, a sinking selfish-sadness came upon me. Everything I did is for nothing!

Then an epiphany – I realize on some level, not only with Eileen but my other relationships, love is meant to save you and in turn, myself. Could I be this powerful, and if I love you enough, if I give more than I can bear, will you stay and remember me? Can we build a forever home?

Long Beach NY - Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

We try to understand this life, turn to God, talk about faith. I admit I’ve turned away momentarily but because I cannot remain that angry, or deny all that is purely magnificent in this world, return. I convince Eileen to return.

Through profound points of personal sadnesses, we can find ourselves on a random Friday suddenly lifted by purple light cast across the sky, and a racing flock of Sandpipers.

We all transition through much over our lifetimes. All of us connect. All of us have our turn to live, to love, to explore, to be brave, to suffer, to celebrate, to be lost, to be found, to challenge the truth, to be angry, to fight for what we feel is right, to walk away, to create, and to die. But I don’t believe we really die. We merely transition our energy into another form. I think we find each other over and over, and that time is only an illusion. Love and pain will see us again.

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Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Lately, Eileen and I dance. We listen to the music that returns a time when everyone we know was alive. Isn’t it brilliant the senses remember so well they can transcend? Close your eyes; we’re there.

Eileen and I developed a second language of gibberish. How it makes us laugh to make no sense at all and at the same time, understand – that we don’t need to.

Over many meals and walks together, we’ve learned of each other’s families, friends, lovers, our dislikes and likes, the disappointments, and been plain silly. We’ve balanced the most serious from medical test results to the simplest, enjoying a chocolate-malted.

She has cried to me about her fears, and I won’t forget. Life, people, nature, time, leave imprints.

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Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Eileen and I are an example of finding what we need at the right time until the next time we need something different, more or less. We’re an example of our human experiences, the frailty and strength, the kindness we all need, and love most importantly.

A Bench Along Our Way

A Bench of Someone’s Memorial along our Way – The Written Message So True

I miss a companion and have become one to another. I recognize we all portray what we need most, and in that, I don’t think anyone of us can truly ever be lost. We only need someone to help us remember, to remind us to live from that most profound part of our soul that doesn’t need explanation; just being is enough.

(YEARS FROM NOW, on the beach, I’m confident, Eileen, will let me know she’s reunited with her, Sonny, and dancing into the Mystic, like my Mom and Dad (Fred and Frances) where someday I’ll join them with a love of my own.​

Long Beach NY 2019 Photograph Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIA PISCIOTTA-DELLAPORTE at Long Beach, NY 2019

 

 

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—The days we were fearless and brilliant.

Friend, I can never grow old with you, forever young, in my heart. I love you. Through sounds of rock-n’-roll remember:

Maybe it was a conversation. A Chevy racing anywhere but here! Embracing madness we believed could kill, or save us…A confident moon in July on long summer nights that melted into our souls. The street walked a thousand times; Pair of jeans that knew your name – bandana in your pocket. Late-night pizza. A stale warm, Michelob, shared like gold, the Marlboro cigarette from behind your ear, asking for a light.

We dreamt while awake, lived with no regrets. Had each other’s backs as natural as breathing.

Today, our pieces have fallen perfectly into place – collages of the lives we formed.

Some days are furious twisters, funnels collecting tomorrows and taking them for granted. They hit us in the face with yesterdays, memories that love and hate us—Either way, we keep them: Scream holy hell with regret, or smile gladly for it happened!

In the weather of seasons, city traffic, daily grind, country blues, ups, downs – the pain, pondering, emptiness or joy, is the same here as there, I promise, as is the beauty of our many new layers.

No matter what road traveled the lyrics remain the same, and ours to sing with whomever we choose. Free—Jesus Christ, we could go anywhere!

Forever intermingled, a spiral finds a way to land (or fall-apart) together precisely.

You’ll find us, me, him, her, all, waiting in laughter and love to comfortably make you at home. No secrets or lies, and you’ll know confidently it’s where you belong.

Our collected treasures of a lifetime, and the extensions in love that we’ve added to them – to live, dream, celebrate, die, to remember the places and people that love us most, the ones that know our hearts, and helped to build our souls.

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2016 All Rights Reserved

(This poem was inspired by my friend, Joe, and all of my closest friends through the turbulent teenage years, to young adulthood, and that will forever remain in my heart.  Wherever life takes us, we know those that will always shine a light for the other.) 

 

 

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We are moving-up, not necessarily away from meeting downtown where you’ll pass by a brownstone home. Its rich corner history—an ever-present glow to its muted exterior, bulky-banister, and steps that capture ice exceptionally well in winter. Spring and summer—they grow the perfect blend of street noise along with perky green leaves on bows of hundred-year-old trees. Voices come alive like jazz along a cheerful stroll to Court Street for gelato. Shadows—like maps with stories—line the street in kaleidoscope fashion, cast from a Brooklyn sun, bouncing-off of rooftops through sturdy branches.

Grandparents lived here once upon a time, speaking in Sicilian dialect; Aunts and uncles too, one up, one down, a buzzer between, and a holler from the back window.

The kids hand-hit a Spalding against the home’s lowest level. A spray of the hose across hot cement on each other’s red cheeks and sweated hair brought some relief on ninety-five degree July days.

The park across the street was empty, capturing heat like fire on a metal slide and jungle bars. Garden tomatoes nevertheless smiled perfectly plump while dangling from their vines.

An old lady on the ground level screamed—one hand rose with four fingers meeting her thumb as if to catch a fly in midair, “Rotten kids! Goa to school, eh? Learn a somethin’ would-ya!” (She’s got some time until September when she’ll miss them) Later she’ll worry about them overheating and offer freshly made lemon-aid with Anisette cookies.

Oh, how the children loved to laugh at her when she was riled-up, but not so much that it could be considered disrespectful. They knew better! Besides, her bluish-white hair offered a sense of security and comfort. Sometimes, Peppina, that was her name showed a picture of her late husband, Jimmy. A bricklayer.  “He died too young — a good man.” Her heart can never heal. So, forever, she wears a black dress.

“Adesso, Sta ‘zitto! Sto cercando di riposare. Sono già stanco di questa vita.”  She’d abruptly utter when her loneliness became too evident. So the children would leave Peppina to rest, and hit the streets for some summer adventure.

Inside, percolated coffee was always hot on the stove. A gentle hint of garlic remained in the air regularly sautéed in a cast-iron pot. Sweet tomato pastes sizzled every Sunday. Clean linens lay on beds Saturdays with the windows lifted for fresh air that takes away any sickness. An evening cigar enjoyed by an older man along with red wine from a jug. Genoa salami on semolina was a snack. Freshly cut flowers placed on tables. Spray starch and an iron made for perfectly crisp collars. Plastic-couch-covers were most uncomfortable. All of these things plus more, and the lives, laughter, sweat, and tears, from every soul that once lived there, fermented into the walls creating a singular most heavenly welcoming scent—home on the storytime street in Brooklyn, New York.

When you go, remember us on the Upper East Side—Hipsters and Yuppies, swank gathering in Williamsburg for an Acai bowl, Wi-Fi, a latte, live music, and a cold brew. We are all grown from the seeds of yesterday, planted—all avenues of the world!

Some new is noticeably better, but older is the wisdom that encapsulates us in goodness like love, and it saves us from getting too smitten with ourselves.

Steelworkers, bricklayers, electricians, carpenters, etc. built the bridges across boroughs and buildings to skies the limit for today’s youth that sometimes foolishly or arrogantly forgets a “Greatest Generation”—how they fought for us. I am not so forgetful.

The leaves are beginning to fall with age on their weary veins. They begin to match my weathered years but not my heart. A breeze carries memories across town. I can see clearly from one corner to the next that time has passed and we all have changed, but simultaneously remain the same.

No matter how far we go, our roots call us home.

I am happy to meet you there and reminisce about our travels.

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2019 All Rights Reserved

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Photos I took of Carroll Park and at Clinton Street

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We are moving-up, not necessarily away from meeting downtown.

 

You’ll pass by a brownstone home. Its rich corner history—an ever-present glow to its muted exterior, bulky-banister, and steps that capture ice exceptionally well in winter. Spring and summer—they grow the perfect blend of street noise along with perky green leaves on bows of hundred-year-old trees. Voices come alive like jazz along a cheerful stroll to Court Street for gelato. Shadows—like maps with stories—line the street in kaleidoscope fashion, cast from a Brooklyn sun bouncing-off of rooftops through sturdy branches.

 

Grandparents lived here once upon a time, speaking in Sicilian dialect; Aunts and uncles too, one up, one down, a buzzer between, and a holler from the back window.

 

The kids there would hand-hit a Spalding against the home’s lowest level. A spray of the hose across hot cement on each other’s red cheeks and sweated hair brought some relief on ninety-five degree July days. The park across the street was empty, capturing heat like fire on a metal slide and jungle bars. Garden tomatoes nevertheless smiled perfectly plump while dangling from their vines.

 

The old lady on the ground level screamed, “Rotten kids! Goa to school, eh? Learn a somethin’ would-ya!” (She’s got some time until September when she’ll miss them) Later she’ll worry about them overheating and offer freshly made lemon-aid with anisette cookies.

 

Oh, how the children loved to laugh at her when she was riled-up that way, but not so much that it could be considered disrespectful. They knew better! Besides, her bluish-white hair offered a sense of security and comfort. Sometimes, Peppina, that was her name showed a picture of her late husband, Jimmy. A bricklayer. He died too young — a good man. Her heart can never heal. So, forever, she wears a black dress.

 

“Adesso, Sta ‘zitto! Sto cercando di riposare. Sono già stanco di questa vita.”  So the children would leave, Peppina, to rest, and hit the streets for some summer adventure.

 

Percolated coffee was always hot on the stove.  A gentle hint of garlic remained in the air regularly sautéed in a cast-iron pot. Sweet tomato pastes sizzled on Sunday. Clean linens on the beds every Saturday with the windows lifted for fresh air that takes away any sickness. An evening cigar enjoyed by an older man with red wine from a jug. Genoa salami on semolina was a snack. Freshly cut flowers placed on tables. Spray starch and an iron made for perfectly crisp collars. Plastic-couch-covers were most uncomfortable. These things, and the lives, laughter, sweat, and tears, from every soul that once lived there, fermented into the walls creating a singular most pleasant imaginable welcoming scent. Home on the storytime street in Brooklyn, New York.

 

When you go, remember me on the Upper East Side–Hipsters and Yuppies, swank gathering in Williamsburg for an Acai bowl, Wi-Fi, a latte, live music, and a cold brew.

 

We are all grown from the seeds of yesterday planted—all avenues of the world! Some new is better, but old is the wisdom that encapsulates us in goodness like love, and it saves us from getting too smitten with ourselves.

 

The steelworkers, bricklayers, electricians, carpenters, etc.… built the bridges across boroughs and buildings to skies the limit for today’s youth that sometimes foolishly or arrogantly forgets a “Greatest Generation”—how they fought for us. I am not so forgetful.

 

The leaves are beginning to fall with age on their weary veins. They begin to match my weathered years but not my heart. A breeze carries memories across town. I can see clearly from one corner to the next that time has passed and we all have changed, but simultaneously remain the same.

 

No matter how far we go, our roots call us home.

 

I am happy to meet you there and talk about our travels.

 

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2019 All Rights Reserved

 

 

Fuck you! I didn’t do anything wrong. FUCK YOU!

 

I was fast asleep. Dreaming about details. You know? I wasn’t dreaming about Paris or the Amalfi Coast. No. I was dreaming about a list that I had to write: The shit details of my life…

 

I heard breathing. In the noisy sleep that I was experiencing I heard loud breathing. It was dreadfully close. Someone with his jaw dropped-open and head hung back. An exhausted pulling of air in and out in counts of threes, then a whistling through narrow airways until it gasped for more and saved itself from choking.

 

It was close I tell you. Caterpillars with their sixteen legs crawling upon my skin, I could feel a thick presence—A humid sweat caught by a chilled breeze.

 

As if we were on a train, or that he was at one point, alone. Traveling east through a foggy mountainside. The curves around stirring nausea in his gut from one shot too many of whisky. I could smell it, and sweat through a damp, dark trench coat. So slovenly, and my naval began to pull inward hoping to find the womb in which I could crawl back.

 

I was aware of my bed, the permanent hip-imprint, and unraveled sheets like unsettled sleep. I was aware of the stranger in my bed breathing down my neck, and I wondered why I had to be aware of his travels. I imagined papered-tulips on old plastered walls covering sounds, yet I could not stop the noise!

 

My entire body was begging for quiet rest. Only, good sleep comes when I need to focus. In the numb zone! One day, Alzheimer’s will come and take the focus like a bird to a land of thoughts, and I will be left a shell. Somewhere in my confusion, I know I’ll feel relief.

 

Yet, another detail to get done. I always cared about each one too until the broken pieces of the world around me built a cage, and I couldn’t pass beyond, or find myself. Ah, that fog and fucking breathing!

 

Eldin, was looking at pretty young girls with firms asses, middle-aged women with full-fallen tits, thin, full-figured, dikes, druggies, and dumb bitches. I wondered why each one, not fair or smart enough to shine my shoes, made me feel disfigured in my own skin? I hated them, and him for his weakness. His profoundly firm arrogance initiated a want for him—to ravage and engulf that persona until it became my power to crush him to death!

 

The rain began to splat down in sharp speeding darts. I could hear each one bouncing back upward off of the asphalt. I knew sleep would not come but at least solitude, a most valuable commodity helps assess the loneliness.

 

I’ve been thinking about breaking into pieces leftover ceramic tiles from a shelf in the garage, and painting them then puzzling a feminine sculpture—torn-apart and gathered back together with all of her scars. I’ll prop it against the happy green dining wall so that it stands-out and screams: I am here! I am here!

 

My skin begins to itch. Blotches between dry-aged lines connect thoughts to an overwhelmed brain, between two swollen red ears. Perhaps I listen too well—Things you do not know…

 

©2019 Maria DellaPorte – All Rights Reserved

(Me to my dear friend, Amanda – What do you think? It’s amazing! You are so talented. Thanks, but do I sound insane or scary? Not at all! I love it! I love to write, Amanda. Ideas come to me a lot in my sleep. Out of the blue it’s like someone is telling me a story. I then incorporate my own emotions, but I worry: What if people can’t tell fiction from reality? For instance, I’m done writing today and going to the gym, but someone may think that I’m Annie Wilkes. Who is Annie Wilkes? Yes, let’s go with that.) Have a nice day everyone! 🙂

 

 

 

Good Morning. Have a seat.

 

Thank you. It’s nice to meet you.

 

Likewise. So, tell me, what brings you here?

 

Well, a lot… I mean, I’ve had a lot to process.

 

Yes…

 

I can get into all of it, and will, but right now, mostly, I’m tired.

Not tired. Depleted! You know, like I’m being pulled in ten different directions at once. Life is constantly asking: Give me, give me, give me… and I am challenged to sustain me in all of it. I am a people-pleaser; caretaker, feeling pressured to be perfect while simultaneously losing me.  My identity is wrapped-up in details. I want to break free. Be me-who I remember that I was. Well, kind of tell everyone in some subtle way to fuck-off!

 

Hmm… thoughtfully, she raises her thumb and index finger in a backward shaped L, and her palm up to chin to support her head:

 

So, what I’m getting is that you’re tired. Feeling depleted. As if you’re being pulled in ten different directions at once. Life is asking too much of you, give-me, give me, give me… and as a result you’re challenged to sustain yourself.  I get that you are a people-pleaser, caretaker, feeling pressured to be perfect while simultaneously losing yourself.  You must feel as if your identity is wrapped-up in details. I bet you’d like to break free from it all, you know? In some subtle way you’d like to tell everyone to fuck-off!

 

Oh, she’s good…

 

$120.00 – Shall we book your next session?

 

Sudden-subtle-understanding of one’s ability to reflect perfectly thy self

 

Seriously, fuck-off!

 

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

©2019 All Rights Reserved

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Silent Heart

Words are dead—

 

Trapped:

 

inside fat cells,

boarders,

armed-guards-surrounding.

 

Love’s silent war…

 

I will take her prisoner.

A sledgehammer to the heart!

 

Before.

 

A soul can see. Touch.

 

Her bare.

 

Tears.

 

Confiscate fuel from the remains…

 

a heart.

 

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte

©2019 All Rights Reserved

Gut Instinct

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Plain English –

In a place you don’t want to be,

and can’t escape from,

is not a poem to write,

but in this case true.

Orange-rage,

and wilting power, 🥀

fight,

in a locked-box about to explode!

Maria DellaPorte ©2018 All Rights Reserved

(Short and sweet because, Baby, it’s cold outside and that’s what it’s all about.)

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Pink Flower

 

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Actions speak louder than words, but oh… they are sweet.

I received them in my willing mouth—victim to their honey.

Aspiring…

 

Build a foundation, the nuts and bolts.

A sturdy-soldier for the battle of perfect humdrum—

 

Call me a pink flower!

 

Apples in a wire basket by the window,

Mother’s blue plates – memories of Easter’s birth on their rims,

Fresh bread rising in the oven,

Your heart’s beat, like a goat, resolute.

 

Seed planted in the heart – Oh Father!

 

Despite it all, and a dream, a house of cards.

 

Smoke blowing from its chimney a chicory wind.

 

See the Queen of Hearts, crying, at the window

…that wants to be.

 

-Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2018 All Rights Reserve

 

images

 

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Fractions and picket fences.

A quarter of the time—whole life.

 

Surrounding what it encompasses…

Compartments. Safe.

Not my pieces

 

Trying to attain the sum of something.

 

Paint the days, white-Lilly, strokes-imperfect,

but they’ll do.

 

Those not brave enough!

 

Keep the gate closed.

I tell myself running-up hills.

 

On the outside of comfort, weary.

 

Why?

You ask as if I know—

 

I’d rather feel soil escaping through my fingers,

as I steal flowers from the earth.

 

My mother, in her needlepoint apron,

was a promise to keep!

 

What I became only to let go…

Wounded soldier. A kaleidoscope.

 

I’ve always wanted to live there—

 

Sturdy staircase. White stove.

Windows that turn falling rain into musical notes.

If footsteps could carry us backwards…

 

We could recreate the world, solid-men,

marching-bands in the fields,

 

swing-free, birds, on a tire-empire,

tug-rope secure over a grandfather-branch.

 

Put on the coffee!

Hush your nonsense…

 

I will build blue-steel ceilings,

 no dream can escape

without a price.

 

Count to ten and breathe.

Listen for a thing called love,

another time—

 

I am here! Here!

 

The temperature is changing.

Bring in the wood for the fire.

 

Exterior chipping,

to the ground falls with leaves blowing east.

 

A message in the night:

hang the yellow dress—hope

on a back hanger.

 

Maria Pisciotta-DellaPorte ©2018