If you ever lose heart and the earth seems as distant as stars fading into the noise of your busy mind, know this. That a tiny island exists in the blue hands of the ocean. That a tree grows upright into the salted clouds. That two eagles love each other enough to spend their lives greeting the morning sun together. That two eaglets stand in their nest, gazing at the heavens. Looking down to the forever ground. They eat and sleep and flap their wings. And one day in July, one by one, they will jump into the air. They will know the difference between existing and what is beyond. They will hold onto nothing. The hurricane will come, courage catching their pinions on fire, as they mount the wind, climbing ladders into realms of the invisible.

--T.L. Stokes

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Mother on the Beach

The sun feels a little too sharp,
so I stop to let it enter me. The world
begins to slow its frenzied rotation.
My skin is on fire, so I send my eyes
over the roll of wet voices. The ocean
is a mother too. How can I empty her
sad hands? The ocean, I'm told,
holds nothing forever. These are
questions a human asks of mystery.
Spirit world is another place
I've not yet been invited to. My eyes
look for its boundary, for the door
in between the cedars. For the
clasp, the old lock, for the word
that melts hinges. Surely my heart
knows the answer.

I look at my hands, mostly because
my head feels too heavy to hold.
The air is a heavy harp,
I cannot breathe. Why is the room
of grief so empty and why am I alone

My son is as close as the next minute
and I can't figure how to connect
enough lines to map his destination.
I want him here. Oh for one long glimpse
of his skin, or the way he holds his head
when he's smiling. The light I recognize
as only coming from his eyes.

Enough. I beg the distant sky for silence.
For mercy. For anything to make this
unusual pain stop. And the waves
continue to sing so softly
for a moment I think I hear
his voice, feel for a second
something close to peace.

for Veronica-Lynn,
Orlando's mother

c2011 T.L.Stokes (all rights reserved)

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