Curse the Rainbow
…..For Bruce Weigl and Gary
As the sky brightens,
our children flee the porch.
Through the trees, after scattered horses,
I follow their tumblesaulting like monkeys in the pasture.
You remain behind. The screening criss-crosses
your eyes, the mist blurs your face.
Your plea through the distant thunder
calls me back so I reach unfolding fingers
for you to follow, pause and breathe,
watch you move outside, your small,
bare steps avoid the bounty of the rain.
Your pounding memory searches for running children,
darts among the branches, listens to the wind
As the clouds clear the sky from gray
to sunset scarlet, again, I wait
through the pounding, my back to our children
and the trees. I damn the storm,
the barbed wire between us,
want to scrape napalm into your memory
to ease your pain and mine.
As one last lightening strikes, I wonder if I can go on.
I clearly see that neither your laughing children
nor my patient love can hold you
from this moment. Still, the sky clears,
our bed stays warm, our children grow,
fathered by that piece of you we own,
Her baby-soft warmth lingers. The blown kiss is for me but she cuddles close to him, sets off at sunset. She says she sees an eagle in his eyes, softness in his heart, never mentions his startling, non-Irish, good looks. He senses the earth in her, a spirit that gathers small things, his tomorrow’s, never mentions he is taking her from me. At her bedroom door, I see the curtain gather the breeze that sways the Dream Catcher. Above the rocking cradle, protecting bears and dolls, an Indian Cross still hangs. Its wood diamond is woven in shades of turquoise yarn, braided down the handle. The end strands loose.
Up the stairs, I struggle, pass family photos. A swimming toddler, she splashed out at me, her first tomato plant and prize pumpkin, a litter of kittens crawl over her. At nine, she gallops the beach. Her silver blond hair entwined in the white mane of her Appaloosa. Baptism photos stop me. In her father’s father’s hand carved cradle, she lays. My grandmother’s Christening dress spread like a lace fan across her delicate feet and over the God’s Eye. My hands reach into the moment, the ceremony awaits. At the top of the stairs, enlarged and frameless, my daughter strains against her horse’s neck, jumps the corral fence, soars.
When the World is Purple
Sensitive to a flower’s need for shade, sun, and Cape Cod sand and partial to blossoms, purple
and baby’s breath, my neighbors planted every nook and corner of their yard. In the hot house
all winter, he would splice and graft bulbs and cuttings. Some resisted his touch. His wife
would whisper, tuck seeds in flats, a final pat her kiss.
As my children grew, played hide and seek in walls of rhododendron and azalea, my neighbor
arranged rock gardens, arched grapevine gates, transplanted wild violets and myrtle, invited
the boys to mow his grass, taught them about hybrids and cross-pollination. On her bench
in a dale amid bellflower and bachelor buttons, she created bouquets and corsages for the girls.
One summer, he carved a dedication of his art to her, hung it low on a birch branch, a beacon
in our village. I would hear the french hydrangea border between us rustle, watch it sway
in the seaside breeze, see them sit under the clematis arbor, wait with morning glories for sunset.
Once a friend gained permission to serve high tea under flowering apple and dogwood trees.
Guests roamed brick walkways past salvia and bluebells to the terraced backyard transformed
by beds of deep-veined starburst petunia and pots of pansy and periwinkle to the gazebo,
a magic land of petit fours, strawberry short cake and champagne. Chamber music floated.
The perfume of violin and lilac, cello and hyacinths intertwined with vines of ivy.
When the porch became her bedroom, my neighbor lugged pots of early bloomers to her side,
filled terra-cotta pots with nasturtium, geranium, and strawberries, hung cascading baskets
of fuchsia and begonia, planted spiked english, french and spanish lavender with purple
headed thrift, sage and foxglove in the earth around the house, surrounded her with the scent
of lily-of-the-valley and forget-me-nots.
With her passing a shrine emerged. Iris he planted circled his hand-carved sign, reached
velvety fingers toward feeders and the sound of morning doves and humming birds.
My neighbor placed benches inside the arches to welcome passers by, extended the walkways
to the gates, invited neighbors to find Indian peace pipes lost in the wild flowering of Eve’s Garden.