I approach it slowly, overcome by fear and desire, warned to step carefully over the uneven earth that on this hillside haven set behind the rusting wrought iron fence , its master lock dangling askew, peers out through the trees to the Kanawha river flowing unknowingly through the valley.
The stone is set in line with the others, neatly incised, a name, English and Hebrew, two petunias, cornered, in perpetual bloom, a beloved sister and aunt, and unstated, unknown perhaps, a mother whose son, gently touching the stone, washes her with my tears, and we speak of love in silence, and I, a child of sixty-seven, embrace my mother for the first time, and I am finally and for the first time, complete
a day, clouds drop rain replacing tears locked inside stones and cloth red and blue unseparated still worlds apart orderly ranks all at attention and silence thundering anger a mad world soaked in peace only until midnight.
Deep in the valley of memory on the altar of Ares we sacrifice them, always young each generation we are Abraham unrestrained, the pardon always moments late. We are Olmecs, relying not on the sun’s passage but on a mainspring tightly wound. Our gods hunger and must be sated lest we lose favor and their image change.
In our boneyard priests and victims slowly decompose fade into earth washed deep by tears of Gods powerless to intervene.
First published in The Peninsula Review, Vol. 5, (1998)
The trees seem to know that we are leaving, why else would they shed their leaves so early, the only tears they are allowed to cry. It cannot be a blight, or so we think it, just our departure that has caused this premature pining for a winter we all know will arrive too soon any arrival being that. We rake them gently, lift them into bags positioned under their once homes, waiting for the truck to move our lives, anther to take them away.
In so many mythologies earth is a woman, a mother, and we arise from within her. The pure and simple logic of this assumption cannot be assailed, for she is the crux of all nature, and as it seems in life, it is all too often the males that lay siege and wage wars that damage her deeply, and the women whose tears gently wash her wounds
In so many mythologies earth is a woman, a mother, and we arise from within her. The pure and simple logic of this assumption cannot be assailed, for she is the crux of all nature, and as it seems in life, it is all too often the males that lay siege and wage wars that damage her deeply, and the women whose tears gently wash her wounds.
As a child I often flew kites, which is to say that I ran haphazardly pulling a string and dragging a wood frames paper rhombus across the park. My father laughed until seeing me on the edge of tears he took up the string and dragged the kite across the park. One day a strong wind blew across the park and the kite lifted into the sky trailing its string to taunt me.
Today we only speak silently and know everyone hears. Today we cry only dry tears, and others gently wipe our eyes. Today we mourn what we fear is lost and together vow to retain it. Today the sun shines less brightly and we know the dark cloud will eventually pass. Today we hug, each to all the others, though we sit alone as a sangha. This is but a single moment and we sit with and within it, breathing in and breathing out.
In this case, a Sangha meeting the day after the shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but as easily the day after any tragedy of which there are too many.
For on this day there is no peace, for on this day some are laid to rest, for on this day others shed endless tears, for on this day many are wringing hands, for on this day many offer hollow words, for on this day they know they should act for on this day they know they will not, for on this day we think about tomorrow, for on this day we think of those without tomorrows, for on this day the sun did rise, for on this day the earth did rotate, for on this day God was elsewhere, for on this day we were all too human.
In memory of the lives lost and changed forever at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.