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

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Home Builder

The Home Builder

My father is a dark fortress in the sun,
an oak tree, so many arms, every hand
facing heaven.

My father is the wind
with a name.

My father knew how to love
my mother perfectly.

My father was a gardener,
though he'll never say so.
And mother, with her green thumbs,
dark, dark hair and olive skin,
counted days of the sun
and seasons of her little plants.

She held each one up
and they named us,
even the first who didn't draw a breath.

My father will say he was a builder,
and built a house on the island.
He drew up the plans, hammered and
stood with my mother, smiling.

He placed the great windows
facing the waves,
and the setting sun made the air

My father held my mother until she died.
And for seven years his heart lay broken.

Now as the air turns rose-colored,
and the waves begin to leave,
if you stand on the south side beach
where seagulls funnel upward,

you can see him walking over the stones.
We can walk along beside him
for a time, talking about

inconsequential things,
or slipping into silence
like a gentle room
with one lamp.

That's where we are now,
walking along beside him.

for my father
and all of our family

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