Posts Tagged ‘cinema’

This morning I painted
a wooden marker for your grave—
a slender plank to hold the space
until the stone arrives.
I wanted it to be perfect,
but I am not a painter.
I am a mother painting
a wooden marker
for the grave of her son,
but there is devotion
in the uneven blue coat,
devotion in the crooked silver lettering,
devotion in every brush stroke of white.
In the movie of me,
I watched as the lens zoomed in
on my awkward hands
to show their slow and loyal work.
Then the frame widened
to include the quiet rooms in the house,
widened more to comprise the summer field,
then panned and tilted to the sky
to show the gathering rain.
After the fade to gray,
I was still here, sitting at the table,
paint on my dress,
my life not a movie but my life—
every day the chance to live into it.
I flashed back to sitting
at this same table
where you learned to write your letters,
then learned to write your name.
Fast forwarded through thousands
of family dinners.
Flashed to this morning
as I finished the grave marker,
shaping the letters of your name through tears.
Though a camera couldn’t show it,
I forgave myself
for not being a better painter.
I told myself I did the best I could.
It was hours before the rain began to fall.

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You are the movie
I hope never
reaches the credits,
the only reality show
I want to watch.
You are the star
in this cinema—
and the script writer,
the choreographer,
the costume designer.
Every day, I love watching
the unfolding plot of you,
marvel at your character arc.
You, the hero I cheer for
when life does its worst.  
You, the stunt girl
for whom I hold my breath.
You, the creator of your own sound track
in which you play jazz for dinner,
in which we sing along
in the car to Arctic Monkeys
and Taylor Swift and Wham!
I love your laugh track
when you hang out in your room
reading or watching
someone else’s movie.
You may not hear me clapping,
but I’m in a constant state
of standing ovation
as you meet whatever
your role brings you,
my heart pounding as you move
with such integrity
into the next frame.

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with a line from Charles Simic, “The Prodigal”

Glade of light on the empty stage.
She steps into it, eyes blinded.
Someone in the audience
clears a throat. Someone
scuffs a sole. Many invisible
someones make no sound at all.
She has faith they are there.
She is holding a stack of papers.
Her chest contracts, rises.
So much that happens goes unseen,
a secret cinema.
She opens her mouth
and the words fall out like leaves
releasing themselves from a tree.
With each sentence she is more bare
until only her trunk remains.
She is an aspen arriving in January,
skeleton exposed.
What no one can see
are the roots. What no one can see
is she is standing on trust.
It has taken her fifty-two years
of bursting into color and
wildly waving her branches
to finally learn how 
to stand still.
The other trees stand with her,
and though it is winter,
their roots grow wider, deeper.

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