I wanted to share a poem with you all that I wrote for the Clothesline Musings exhibit on display now at the Cary Arts Center. Hope you enjoy!
She slips an aged brooch into my palm and smiles.
No words, but I can read the meaning in the crackles of skin
around her brown lips saying, take this,
this artifact of my touch, this proof of love,
string it in your archives like a light sheet of fabric.
Touch it as it has touched me.
I say “tell me”—about the times she wore it to family dinners
and funerals, across town to see the dearest of friends
or sickest of neighbors. Decades after decades after decades…
I swear not to let each turn of the clock hand pass empty-handed.
This time here—this effort it takes to sit presently
in the other’s presence after the length of a day—
Is rarer than hope’s diamond.
She tells me how she made it through her battles
how she has managed to barter with God for yet another year
how much she is thankful for and alllllll that she regrets.
Wait for the heaviness to lift, wait to be unhung
When my memory ages
like a leaning Sycamore losing branches
it may take longer to recall the echoes in your voice
or this golden brooch we have worn, handled,
share. Palm these stones and stories begin to speak—
an oral history that has fallen out of commission,
just some old show of hands to fall back to at the poor folks’
when nothing that is “better” is working.
But unlike the good ol’ days everything is subject to malfunction:
Yet this ornament spans years; these hands, opening the latch,
once looped shirts and Easter dresses between wooden pegs
under a kinder sun. And I
sitting in your chair
to the pursing of the lips bringing forth word
and the joining of our fingers on this physicality of space,
artifact of love, evidence of time.