Bio Note: Endings, the editor says is the theme this month.. So many poems dance on the blade between beginnings and endings. One ending of interest to me is the December 31st deadline for ordering at a discounted pre-sale my chapbook to come out on February 1, 2021: Let's Hear It for the Horses, poems that horse lovers will love. For more poems, triciaknoll.com.
The Poetry-Writing Handbook for New Year’s
suggests two alternatives. You must decide if the phoenix eats its old ashes or gives packets of dust in silk pouches to adoring witnesses who sprinkle it as hope, chances to get it right this time around. You are allowed to list ways of failure (10 worst) and highlights (10 best) based on how they looked, felt to the fingers, smelled – with exquisite detail for the ball slamming to the goal, the dawn the friend died leaving a letter to be mailed. Or, reach back to flame-glow on a thoughtful face at the fireplace, the going inside for less of dark with a sip of something claret-red in an etched glass, and make your own ashes, one heave of a vast stash of to-do reminders, bills, poems, and letters that went unanswered or said enough for then. This is not a beginning, not even close, except perhaps for babies. This is the going-on turn – maybe lusty, partly lastly, inevitably likely.
Out of Sorts
I keep many words in a sort of clear plastic segmented box the elderly use to remember their pills morning, noon and night. One division is for swallowing dawn’s light an hour before fresh coffee. Too early to tease out how survival now is called resilience. How love can be tough. These are pink. The noon niche piles up acceptances of differences, how my metta practice works to accept difficult people: for me that red-haired woman who believes fervently her god is a little old man with white hair and tries to force me to believe in Jesus. May she escape suffering. May she be healthy. May we practice kindness. Then comes the sunset square for heart words that keep my blood flowing, life-saver anti-coagulants. Call these purple ovals love or the salvation of solitude. I know a man who calls them his children, his bike, but first his wife. Perhaps home. Or sanctuary. I stash the bitter pills in a gray ceramic cup a child pinched together. These: candy-coated in sour orange that turns your tongue against itself. For words like cash cow, supremacy, self-sufficiency, collateral revenge and denials that the worst did happen and more will soon enough. Some are beads that spill and scatter on rock floors, rosaries of habit, sayings strung together. May you find peace. May the interlacing of my fingers be sign language for hope. May the last swallow from the cubicle of night be at-ease no matter how the dark springs nightmares out of the box or rolls them under the rug. May we accept endings.
©2021 Tricia Knoll
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