Of Summers Passed

Ah, I see. You must leave again, my love

to pave the way for your older sister,

the one who colors before the whitening kill.

I shall miss you.

Will you miss me?

We dance this dance

year by year,

and the music,

while ever as sweet,

slows down to the rhythm

of our ending.

I do love the touch of

your sun

upon my skin,

and the way your breath of song

makes the branches dance.

The brightness of your eyes

makes me don that which

tames their radiance,

and the weight of your stare

warms me.

The touch of your hot kiss

on my face

makes me close my eyes

and offer up my cheeks.

My heart takes sanctuary

in your

ethereal greenery,

as even now

you start to fade.

Summer,

I will miss you,

resting in the surety

of your

perennial return.

Sleep well, my love,

and know

my heart

is ever

yours.

The Value of Things

Indrissa hated everything about the market: the noise, the smell of animals, the smell of people, the squalling of reckless running children that always resulted in something breaking, fighting off the feral animals that roamed and the endless vermin that stayed, the constant haggling, the heat of the sun, and the leering of men.
Resigned, she lamented her lot, until the day he came.
He bought a small, cheap necklace from her with a fake green gem and asked her to try it on so he could see how it looked. “I’m buying it for a special lady.”
Humoring him as well as herself, she put it on. “I’m sure she’ll be happy with it,” she fastened the clasp and looked up at him with a fake smile, “and pleased with you.”
He smiled back. “And are you?”
She tilted her head and looked at him, questioning his meaning. “What?”
“Are you happy with it, and pleased with me?”
She began to unfasten it and hand it back to him. “I don’t understand…”
He held up his hand to stop her. “I bought it for you, Indrissa.”
“Sir, I don’t think—“
“I’ve watched you for a long time. You always look distant and unhappy; you don’t like the market, do you?”
She felt her face heat, realized her hands were still poised to take the necklace off, but she didn’t.
“No, I don’t. I inherited this business from my parents so I wouldn’t fall prey to the scavengers here.”
Not far away was a stage with half naked men and women, and the grim, silent men below them who’d as soon cut a throat as shake a hand. Gold and silver coins flashed through fingers faster than the eye could follow, and the stage began to gradually empty.
He nodded. “I’ve watched them, too.”
She assessed him, trying to place him, but couldn’t; he said he’d been watching her.
Either it had been in plain sight, or he was stalking her.
Still, he’d bought her a gift, albeit from her own stall, and made himself known; if he’d wanted her dead, or harmed, he had more than his share of opportunities.
“So what are you going to do?” she asked, surprised to find herself a bit shy, “Take me away from all this?”
He shuffled a bit, now nervous himself. “Not right away. I could make coming here better for you, though.”
“And how’s that?”
“It’s what you’re selling. No one wants that. It’s for children…”
He stayed at the booth, talking business in between flirting.
He bought lunch for two, and sat beside her as they ate.
She could see some of the other merchants begin to cast furtive glances in their direction.
If he noticed, he didn’t seem to care; he was all business, offering to increase the value of her wares, and if she wanted, she could take him on as a partner. They’d do well together, and ….
The hours went quickly, and he helped her pack and walked her to the gate.
“Will I see you tomorrow?” she asked.
He smiled. “Would you like to?”
She actually giggled, and nodded. “Yes, I would.”
“Then I will be here.” He stuck out his hand for her to shake, and she did.
At home that night, bathed and pleasantly exhausted, she had a sip of something strong, and stared out the window at the rising moon.
She thought of him, and her hand went to her throat.
With a small smile, she felt the gem and chain beneath her fingertips.
She’d forgotten to take it off, and now she didn’t want to.

Why Do You Love Me?

“Why do you love me?”

Why should I not?

“How much do you love me?”

I love you a lot.

“What is it you love, then?”

Your smile and your eyes,

your musical laughter,

your soft, tender sighs.

Your hair in the moonlight,

Your eyes when they shine

with tears of rejoicing

when I say you’re mine.

Your lips when they kiss me,

your hands when they touch,

your arms when they hold me

too long and too much.

Now tell me you love me.

“You know that I do.”

I want you to say it.

“Yes, I love you too.”

How much do you love me?

“As wide as the sky,

as deep as the ocean,

as loud as a cry,

as hot as the desert,

as pure as the snow.

My darling, I love you.

You know that.

You know.”

 

 

 

Not Out There

It’s not out there!

Don’t go outside,

there’s nothing there to see.

 

Inside your virtual world here

you can think and do and be.

 

It won’t take any work at all for

fortune, love, and fame.

Just hit the buttons really fast

and play your bestest game.

 

Achievement’s just a click away.

Reality’s a bore.

We love you here in 3D land,

now go increase your score!

 

You don’t have to be perfect,

strong and beautiful, or kind.

And you don’t even have to think,

let us immerse your mind.

 

In virtual realities your Screen Name

fills with dread.

Out there you’re weak and helpless now,

and you could end up dead.

 

In here your image flickers

and you get to live again.

Out there is love and friendship,

“Let’s go here!” “Remember when…?”

 

But when they finally bury you

and no one comes to care,

it’s far too late to find out

virtual worlds are not out there.

 

Fill My Hand

Come fill my hand with yours,

my love,

for mine is empty too.

And since we both have

empty hands

I’ll give my hand

to you.

And now let’s fill our eyes,

my love,

with one another’s gaze.

And finally let’s fill

our hearts

with fullness of our days.

One day they’ll say of us,

my love,

in far and distant lands,

‘They changed the world

together

just by filling

empty hands.’

Plunder

Into my life you came,

bold against the rising sun,

your wind-tossed locks alluring,

your bright, bold eyes searing.

 

And I opened my chest to give you the contents

of its heart, and at first you treasured them.

The glorious days of sailing with you

were warm and secure, with clear skies and

wide horizons.

 

But in time, you craved not the warmth of my heart,

preferring the cold hardness of gems and coins.

Not the stable strength of my arms,

but the fickle roll of riches.

 

Turning yourself to seawater,

you slipped from my grasp

and left me no choice, set me adrift

with no anchor, no oar.

 

Under the stars my heart withered.

The sun-kissed days grew dank with brine,

and the raucous racket of overbold gulls

pursued my foundering lifeboat.

 

I dreamed that in a reef of nascent coral

I put the seawater to my lips as if to kiss you

once more,

but therein lied a fatal thirst,

and under a high tide moon,

I spilled it and left it behind.

 

What remains ahead is unknown, uncharted,

yet with a sense of direction and purpose,

of longing fulfilled, a calling realized.

As the gull calls fade, the windsong rises.

 

And I know that in the distance,

a paradise awaits my arrival.

I shield my eyes from the sunlight

dappling the dancing waves,

and sail on to fate’s warm hearth,

alone

but finally

free.

Spring Yet Remains

Time passes, and seasons change.

I’ve walked this road with others who have

now departed, some not of their will, some not

of their power, but all the same,

not here.

It’ s lonelier now, yet no less lovely than

it’s always been.

It’s just that the silences grow deeper

toward the end.

Thoughts grow louder, and

small victories are

celebrated quietly in the heart

with whispered exclamations.

I feel gentle fingertips of a chilling herald wind

brush my cheek, and

smile at the inevitable winter.

And here in the cider- scented,

gathering autumn,

these vibrant colors

of my later years,

glorious before the blackened white

of my return home,

spring yet remains.