Gethsemane – is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus’ crucifixion.
The bleeping heartbeat
Naming the losses,
Watching them grow:
The unknown husband,
The useless hands:
They sit together, his arm holding her, the woman who was,
and is no longer there
to answer or demand, while
he keeps trying to share:
He talks with his friend, as they speak of nothings
and not of wives; while they avoid
the questions that have no answers,
He returns to the house that looks like home
and smells of her absence
while nothing can repair the silences and spaces
waiting for him:
Caught between my mirror
and blackouts, my mother and hope
twisting around to glare into
headlights and greasy black highways
behind me …
I don’t want to be here, but
to stand entwined, taking Communion
as if I were holy
as if I could hide from the whale’s lesson
as if I could pray
Walking to the coffeeshop,
with my glasses off,
I stumble and fall.
Falling asleep with my glasses on,
I dream of empty coffins,
Reading emailed obituaries
sent by old acquaintances
I hit “Delete”
before I’m finished.
My silver trickster shoes.
Beautiful on, my silver shoes,
But when I walked, they slipped and rubbed,
My painful silver shoes.
I took them off and gave them to
A friend with sturdier feet,
My poor-fitting silver shoes.
One early morning in my closet
I saw again the silver shoes,
My absent silver shoes.
A dream, a phantasm,
A joke, a delusion,
My trickster silver shoes.
The name I used to murmur in delight
Now I sob over in the night.
The woman I used to find so annoying
Now I watch, envious and admiring
The work I loved and did so well
I’ve left behind; I lost the joy.
The fear I carried so long and deep
I look at now and no longer weep.
The crone arrives like an undesired lover
the shape of my body
Like an adolescent girl, I sense
unsought losses, unclear gifts.
I rage and sleep,
There are no fairy tales here,
no promise of princes and beautiful gowns,
the crone’s belly
and a different cloak of invisibility.
I spent most of my life living the rhythms of the school year. November was always difficult. Here’s a poem I wrote a number of years ago when I was still teaching.
November in School
In November, everything crashes –
files are lost,
cars slide into each other,
suiciding squirrels shut down generators
am late for school.
In November, people weep –
teachers and students snarl,
work done is less than hoped,
much more, is required.
In November, we fear –
even if Christmas ever comes,
even if spring only hides behind
the winter we have to endure,
we have lost
whatever we came here to find.