Monday, September 25, 2017

"Solace" by Terri Lynn Cummings

Solace
Terri Lynn Cummings

The path slopes like prayer
then spills onto a pasture 
of stones. They stand 
crooked and stained like teeth
worn and crowded
in rows of bones

In front of a marker
I kneel, sense heartache
shift from black to gray 
in the shadow of a tree
its shade inching the trunk 
like a caterpillar

foreign and familiar 
Sorrow holds my hand
while a hymn 
hums from the grave
Memories, a den filled
with images recalled

in every rock of Father’s chair
fit themselves around my shoulders
His walking stick of a body
ravished by disease, savors 
the jazz of a new beginning
in the unpacked room of spring

My mother, a sister of the mind
shares hazel irises and shapes 
the poems of my voice as I recall
their long-buried garden of marriage 
loosed from tight bones of duty
and the compass of time

I imagine they stroll past friends
dates, and sentiments
a city of crosses and wombs of death
no edges to hone or dreams to slake
full as the moon though I long to wane
in the slow dust of renewal

Poet’s Notes:  I visited my parents’ graves the weekend after Memorial Day. It had been one year since I’d been there, and I felt as if Mom and Dad beckoned me. I drove from the city to the town cemetery where they waited to see me again, and my heart grew lighter as every mile passed.

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