If I could pick some sunshine, and hold it in my hands,
If I could ride a rainbow to far-off radiant lands,
If I could sprinkle star-dust upon a restless sea,
Then I could read the riddle of why you’ve chosen me.
I view you with scorn.
Pitiful, I label. Naive beyond belief.
Do you not feel it in your bones,
this Frost creeping, cadaverous
mongrel, seeking your flesh?
No one who knows what
Saskatchewan winter can accomplish
would proffer innocent bud,
sacrificial lamb to ego’s altar.
Or do you know exactly what you offer?
Scorn spars with Pity,
until a third enters the ring –
Do you bloom in spite, or to spite?
Death may just be the mother of
all necessary re-invention,
the Holy Grail to this Holocaust.
Tears trace my ruptures,
draining immature ideas,
congregating on your petals
where they christen you
A daylily, ruffled and still
with folds of fresh linen (freshly
made bed) soaking up sunshine on
laundry-day line. She paused there, caught
helplessly on its anthers, struck
by the glory that withered while
she watched. ‘Why bother?’ she asked no
one in particular. Leaning
in, she traced the petticoats, breathed
deep of Arabian nights, veiled
virgins dancing on memory’s
edge. Eloquence beckoned on pale
finger with nail painted purple,
folding to hide philosopher’s
stone. Time passed. Conquerors and kings
and sleeping beauties, history
and fantasy, who she could be
in the morrow swayed and unfurled
in complex rhythms and secret
whispers. Her back straightened, rigid
barrier, and, closing her eyes,
she walked blindly back to the house.
She’s more than a morning coffee
drinker, more than her function as
office confidante, more yet than
the colour of her eyes or skin.
Birth stones and birth order and birth
marks are but petals to her rose,
characteristics folded deep,
convoluted lines and colours
which add or detract from beauty.
Shoe size and predisposition
to diabetes, scars hammered
in where wobbly knees met gravel,
violin lessons on rainy
afternoons, the desire to dance –
ruffled layers all, a goldfinch
singing from hidden willow perch.
I see her there, can count petals,
classify by botanical
name – yet, in calculating sums,
have I arrived at her spirit?
Do I know where she goes at night
when skeletal remains escape
closeted fears, or of whom she
dreams when her conversation flags,
eyes traversing galaxies hung
somewhere behind my left shoulder?
Fingers cannot touch the places
she’s been, nor trace the subtle curves
where geological process
has altered her surface features.
I see her there, can count petals,
compare tints to a hardware store
strip, watch as they shift before
sun and shadow – and when strangers
ask if I know her, I say no.
She was sure Yesterday
was dead and gone. She had,
after all, buried it deep
in a wooden crate
under the old apple
tree (the one that split
down the trunk
during the storm of
when it raised its hoary
head, she knew
someone had opened
This daylily’s name? Pandora’s Box, of course.
Light, robed in fabric
satin-spun with sun-beams,
sways – swirls, extends
muscles and feet
in secretive dance
upon stage soft as
silk. Her music is
the subtle sigh of lonesome
pines, the cadence of
songbirds greeting the
dawn, the rustle of
feathers in flight;
she delights in this
moment, this filament of time
hung on summer breeze,
and she dances. Her
body melts into
nature’s melody – is
electrified by its pulse,
consumed by its rhythm,
choreographed by its
raw emotion. She lets go,
jubilation in every line,
and she dances.
I stand on childhood’s
tiptoes and the oxygen
in my lungs is stillborn
in its stall as I peer through
the keyhole to heaven;
all is angels’ wings
and perfume and
brightness and I squirm
to reach just a sliver higher.
I strain with broken grip
and limping spirit and
if I shift too much the
vision fades and the scent
eludes, wisp snatched by
wayward breeze. So I
peer through the keyhole
and feel the brush of angels
in flight and linger to
catch the smell of home
before I lower myself
to my side of the door,
waiting, ever waiting
for someone to turn