She stands before his wardrobe
Three years since his death.
"Etienne is not his clothes."
She folds each into the box
Labeled for the men's shelter
In time for winter's bite.
All done, she wipes her eyes
And makes her way to bed.
She tucks the old blue robe close,
Her nose pressed to the sleeve.
When her cheek is stroked,
She is already fast asleep.
Thank you for reaching
Through evenings that would not hush
Nor give you soft pause.
I found your hand ever warm
But strangely Winter to me.
Why am I awake? I need so badly to sleep. I sleep others, carrying them through my night and into my day, fooling myself for a moment. Maybe if I'm sleepy enough, I'll forget that I don't have a cape. Maybe forget that a little saving would go a long way in my own life.
I just can't see myself waiting for the superhero, though. Even if I were his best friend, I'm not the kind that could overlook the spandex and just dig the saving. And Prince Charming won't cut it either. He needs a real job and if he's my friend, he'd tell me to get my ass down from that tower on my own if I want the kiss. What use does he have for a girl who gets herself locked in a tower?
I need to cry. I need to do that all by myself with nobody listening, nobody saying, "don't cry." I will stop only when I know the tears are all cried for now. When they are, I will figure out my next step...not every step, but that all important next one.
I miss my old people. I miss coffee laced with milk in the morning with my grandfather. I miss my grandmother's jambalaya that made everything ok when served with sweet tea and lemon.
I miss my other grandpa's bigoted arguments that never quite killed off the sweetness apparent in his eyes when he walked you through his garden. I even miss my duplicitous Edith Bunker grandma who took 20 exhausting steps and turns more than the simple serving of a slice of cheese could ever warrant.
Those days had their own scent - the smell of comfort, the scent of adolescence that is crisp and on the cusp of self-reliance, but still safe. Aromatic days of coffee, cayenne, sun-warmed tee shirts, mom's perfume (Emeraude,) and Paw Paw's soap (Neutrogena's amber bar.)
My Grandmother's rosary hangs on my dresser mirror. The lyric in the title of this piece has been going through my head much of today. I imagine each bead of her rosary imprinted with the repeated prayers, needs, and desires of her heart. I can barely make myself handle it.
Just one last time to ask a grandmother questions of the heart...one last time to sleep beside her in the little room with the noisy window unit. That is the scent of adult nights spent with little sleep - the scent of longing...of needing stones to have stories that I can hear to know my place in this world.
A break from creating for a moment, then. It's nice every now and again to just stretch your mind out in new directions. Lately, I have begun reading French literature, notably poetry, but I also read Guy de Maupassant's, "La Parure" (The Necklace.) It has been a challenging thing to do, but I have loved every moment of it. I even wrote my own poem in french a few months back if you want to check my journal.
Thank you to anyone who was kind enough to allow me to share some of it with you as I went. I wanted to list and look at some of the classic poetry that I have enjoyed.
Quand, les deux yeux fermés, en un soir chaud d'automne,
Je respire l'odeur de ton sein chaleureux,
Je vois se dérouler des rivages heureux
Qu'éblouissent les feux d'un soleil monotone ;
Une île paresseuse où la nature donne
Des arbres singuliers et des fruits savoureux ;
Des hommes dont le corps est mince et vigoureux,
Et des femmes dont l'œil par sa franchise étonne.
Guidé par ton odeur vers de charmants climats,
Je vois un port rempli de voiles et de mâts
Encor tout fatigués par la vague marine,
Pendant que le parfum des verts tamariniers,
Qui circule dans l'air et m'enfle la narine,
Se mêle dans mon âme au chant des mariniers.
When, with both my eyes closed, on a hot autumn night,
I breathe the fragrance of your welcoming breast,
I see happy shores spreading out,
Blazing in the flames of a monotonous sun;
A lazy isle to which nature has given
Remarkable trees, delicious fruits,
Men whose bodies are slender and vigorous,
And women in whose eyes shines a surprising candor.
Guided by your fragrance to these charming climes,
I see a port filled with sails and masts
Still exhausted by the waves of the sea,
While the perfume of the green tamarind trees,
That floats in the air, and widens my nostrils,
Mingles in my soul with the sailors' songs.
"Demain dès l'aube"
Demain, dès l'aube, à l'heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m'attends.
J'irai par la forêt, j'irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.
Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.
Je ne regarderai ni l'or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j'arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.
"Tomorrow at Dawn"
Tomorrow, at dawn, in the hour when the countryside becomes white,
I will leave.
You see, I know that you are waiting for me.
I will go by the forest, I will go by the mountain.
I cannot stay far from you any longer.
I will walk with my eyes fixed on my thoughts,
Without seeing anything outside, nor hearing any noise,
Alone, unknown, my back curved, my hands crossed,
Sad, and the day for me will be like the night.
I will not look at the gold of the evening which falls,
Nor the faraway sails descending towards Harfleur.
And when I arrive, I will put on your tomb
A green bouquet of holly and flowering heather.
"Je Vis, Je Meurs"
Je vis, je meurs je me brûle et me noie,
J'ai chaud extrême en endurant froidure ;
La vie m'est et trop molle et trop dure,
J'ai grands ennuis entremélés de joie.
Tout en un coup je ris et je larmoie,
Et en plaisir maint grief tourment j'endure,
Mon bien s'en va, et à jamais il dure,
Tout en un coup je sèche et je verdoie.
Ainsi Amour inconstamment me mène
Et, quand je pense avoir plus de douleur,
Sans y penser je me trouve hors de peine.
Puis, quand je crois ma joie être certaine,
Et être en haut de mon désiré heur,
Il me remet en mon premier malheur.
"I live, I die"
I live, I die: I drown and I burn,
I endure at once great heat and cold;
Life is at once too soft and too hard,
I feel boredom mingled with joy.
At the same time, I laugh and I cry,
And I endure many sweet torments,
My fortune fades away, and lasts forever,
At the same time, I wither and I bloom.
Thus I suffer love's inconsistencies
And when I believe I will suffer more,
Without knowing, I find myself at peace.
Then, when I feel my joy is certain,
And I am on top of what I could wish right now,
Love casts me back into my former grief.
I will never forsake you.
I have no special lens that reveals the future to me.
I know so very little about so very little.
All that I can claim fully to know is myself.
I look within; I take measure.
I know what I am capable of and what I am not.
I know what my word means.
I know the expectations I have
For my character and for the legacy I wish to leave
...the legacy of who I cared and dared to be.
I will never...
I could never.
Into my boundary
At the crest of the bow
You spin and blow,
A cyclonic echo.
It is raining with me.
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