The Bench

Eight years ago today, I lost one of the most important people in my life. So, this post is to honor her memory. I wrote the following poem a year later. The same year that my mother passed away, my aunt passed away the month before. This poem is for both of them, but today it honors the eighth year of my mother’s passing. I know she is with me in spirit.

mom


 

The Bench

Come sit and rest with me awhile,
forget about your tomorrows
that have yet to come.

Come sit and rest with me,
we’ll talk together;
beneath the willowy branches
that stretch from bench to bench.
Remembering the laughter that
we shared, once upon a song.

Come sit and rest with me,
amongst the grove
of pink spotted cherry trees,
and, for awhile you’ll forget
that I was ever really gone.

Come sit and rest with me,

Until our hearts melt together.

Our tears will join hand in hand

Running gleefully into the river.

We’ll whisper secrets until the day grows long.

Come sit and rest with me,
as the day goes out,
like the fiery  colors
of the blazing sun.

Come sit and rest with me,
as the colors fade, the memories leave you,
once again I become dust on the wind
and a light in your heart.
So please, just come sit and rest with me awhile.

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The First Bike Ride

I like empty parking lots

after fall storms.

Humid air clings to clammy skin

hard breaths puff from lungs.

Like mirages,

miniature puddles gleam in the

peaking sun.

Rays poke through-

left over clouds hanging

low,

for that last chance

shower.

Training wheels and two-wheelers

cycle ’round my memories-

shadows,

in empty parking lots

dancing after fall storms.

 

The Treasure Map

It was lost, she thought

there was no absolution.

Rippling waves-

delving deep through

glinting sand.

                                from the shadows, He spoke:

   “follow me”

   “follow me”

              corners upturned

Across August into

November

chasing casualties and

empty chests.

Locked in a labyrinth

formed from

dashes and Xes.

and

                                        from the shadows, He spoke:

          “follow me”

          “follow me”

                  pages unbound

Amongst a cascade

of willowy branches

beyond the year

and past forever.

A mahogany chest

sat patiently.

there, she thought

    in the silence

                             from the shadows, He spoke:

“follow me”

“follow me”

life unseen

Latch released, and

emptiness consumed her.

The journey forgotten,

in the end

there was

nothing.

There will be no absolution.

The Orphanage pt. 1

I’ve been working on an actual long, possible novel to go with https://phoenixrisng.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/the-beating/ this short. What I’m posting now would be the diary entries that the main character “Sam” finds from her great-great-grandmother. They provide the back story. Just thought I’d see what you all thought. Hope you enjoy.

 

October 18, 1848

We will be leaving Pennsylvania tomorrow for California. Father has dreams of gold in his eyes. He plans to take the Southern route with a group of settlers. The North route is too crowded as of late. I am excited for this adventure. Mother on the other hand does not wish to leave the city. She says she will miss her parties, and the road is no place for a young girl. But, there was no persuading Father. I look forward for what is to come.

Evelyn

November 1, 1848

I thought traveling would be exciting. It has been difficult, and there is not much to eat. We have to stay in cramped quarters and cannot get out to stretch our legs as often as I’d like. A one of the settlers has developed a cough. Mother seems content with sewing, but I know she is worried especially with winter upon us. Luckily the south is much warmer than the North.

Evelyn

November 10, 1848

I am too distressed to write. Mother has is now coughing like the settler. They think it is tuberculosis. I am petrified. I cannot bare it if something was to happen to Mother or Father.

Evelyn

 

November 21, 1848

The conditions are not improving. We camped for two days in Texas. It is a very large place. It will still take us another week to cross. Though we are south it is still very cold and Mother is so ill she cannot leave the wagon. I am no longer excited, but frightened about what is to come.

Evelyn

November 30, 1848

We have just entered a place called the New Mexico Territory. It is supposed to be safe, but there was a war here recently. So, I hope nothing terrible happens. I have to put cool rags on mother hourly to keep her fever at bay. I am still being hopeful, but it is foolish to think she will make it to California now. The settler died last week while we were in Texas. I hope he finds peace in that large piece of land.

Evelyn

December 9, 1848

I am devastated. Mother passed last night. I don’t know how we can have a happy Christmas now with her no longer here to celebrate. It’s hard to believe that Father so longingly still wants to get to the gold mines in California. We have just reached the mountains in the Arizona territory. I know that her final resting place will be a beautiful one. I cannot write anymore now.

Evelyn

December 30, 1848

It has taken us almost a month to travel through the mountains in this territory. They are treacherous in the snow. A wheel broke on the wagon and had to be fixed. Luckily, around this area with red rocks we found a small village who settled from the war. We are resting until the New Year. I cannot believe it is almost 1849. I will be twelve years old next year, and we will start the year without Mother. It is unimaginable.

Evelyn

January 2, 1849

Father left. He wrote a note that said without Mother he cannot take care of me, and the gold mines are no place for a young lady. He just left me in this village. I cannot bare it. It is too awful.

Evelyn

March 4, 1849

I have been staying with a very nice family. They have twin boys that are four years old. I know they do not have the means to keep me, but I help out the best I can. They town is building an Orphanage; they have a few other children that need a home as well. It will be finished come April. I will be glad not to burden this family any longer.

Evelyn

April 10, 1849

I have just moved into my new room at the orphanage. Red Rock Orphanage. It is comfortable, the head mistress seems nice. Her name is Miss Sullivan. The Gates said I may visit them anytime I would like. But, I know they were glad that I have a more permanent place to live now. I am excited to begin lessons again. At least I will have that. I wonder if Father ever thinks of me?

Evelyn

May 1, 1849

We are not allowed to wander into the forest that stretches behind the building. Though you cannot exactly call it a forest, it is more a dense, black, mangled corpse of dead foliage. I heard Mrs. Gates once say there had been a great fire there during the war and then nothing would grow afterward. It looks so intriguing; I find it hard not to inspect the forest. Aside from lessons and things that proper ladies ought to learn, I have nothing to do. A little adventure never hurt a young girl.

Evelyn

May 15, 1849

It was my birthday. The cook made a nice cake and the other children sang to me. It was quiet. Nothing like we used to have in Pennsylvania, when Mother was alive, but I thought it was sweet. I had not expected anything. Miss Sullivan gave me a new journal. I hugged her; it was so thoughtful.

Evelyn

June 3, 1849

I have to record everything. Miss Sullivan is a nice lady, but she does not believe me. She has this whole predisposition about witchcraft. I know what happened. I would not have believed it myself if it did not happen to me. It began today after church. We are allowed free time after church. The other children were playing a game of tag. I on the other hand wanted to take this time, while Miss Sullivan was having her afternoon nap, to explore the forest. I snuck away from the fray of the children and into the silent forest. The guardian trees loomed above me murky, creating shadowy figures and the appearance of night, though it was mid-afternoon. I walked further into the forest, the paths wound around each other intersecting. I could not tell where I was being led. I just kept to the one I thought I entered on. There were no flowers, bushes, or anything that breathed life. It was all dead. On the right I saw a beautiful tree; though it was no longer growing it had wonderfully twisting branches, perfect for climbing. I veered off my path and began the ascent. I had almost reached the top and could see just over the tree tops. When I heard a crack, the branch under me hurtled toward the ground. Of course it had been dead and brittle. I should have known. My heart pounded as the ground came closer and then it stopped. I stopped. I knew I was dead.

“Ooh a little girl, yes this should do nicely.”

I could hear a voice. I knew I was dead. I asked myself, how could I hear a voice? I decided to speak. “How can I hear you, am I not dead?”

“Yes, of course. This is most unusual. My victims usually do not speak after I have killed them. Interesting, very interesting.”

“Who are you? Why did you kill me?”

“I should ask you. You wondered into my forest. This is becoming tedious. I am going to rip your heart out now. I am tired of conversation.”

I had come to the assumption, that I must have been different from her other meals; therefore I could not let her rip my heart out. She had already told me that she had never spoken to her food before. I would have to negotiate.

“Can we come to an agreement?”

“What kind of agreement?”

“You tell me who you are and what you want, in return, I help you and you do not make a meal from me.” At this point, I was still having this conversation subconsciously. We seemed to be communicating without speaking out loud.

“Very well dear.” A hideous cackle escaped her lips and she said something in a language unintelligible. I was able to open my eyes and sit up. In front of me was a young woman who could not have been older than my Mother. She had dark eyes and long dark hair. “I am Kerys. I am Death.”

I scooted backwards, but remained in front of her. I could not risk upsetting her again. It was obvious she could take my life with a snap of her fingers.

“This is my domain. I reside in this forest. Of course, I cannot just be sustained from nature. I require more nutritious substance.” Her dark eyes twinkled as she looked me up and down. “Though, if you want live, I will allow that, but it will not come without consequence.”

Every year I would have to bring Kerys a child, so she could have the heart and death would remain. In return she would allow me to live and the orphanage to remain unharmed. I ran out of the forest pondering the bargain I made. When I tried to explain to Miss Sullivan about what happened she only scolded me for going into the forest and talking about witchcraft. Especially on a Sunday. There was no one in this world that would believe the truth of what happened and now I and my future family would be cursed to do the unthinkable for years to come. What had I done? I should have died.

Evelyn

The Beating

There was nothing but the faint sound of a beating noise. She could not distinguish if it was coming from in her own head or outside. Lost. She looked around; the world was unfamiliar. Had she fell asleep here? It did not make any sense.

She pulled herself up from the ground where she lay in a mat of tangled leaves and branches. Trees loomed over her twisting their dark thorny branches in cascades of leafy fingers that formed an impenetrable fortress. If there was sun shining somewhere, she could not tell. The garment on her was torn and threadbare as if it had been worn many times. She fingered the soft cotton rolling it over her thumb. It seemed familiar. Her feet were bare. A thought popped into her head, shoes. Why would she be without shoes? The girl rubbed her temples, the beating, it was still distant but persistent.

Her body ached as she sat up. The ragged dress hardly fell to her knees. There were cuts and bruises on her legs and arms. Still, she could not remember a thing. Even her own name seemed to escape her. She decided to stand up. The only thing to do was move from wherever she was. The wretched beating, she wanted to leave it behind. It was agonizing. After much concentration, she stumbled to her feet on the gritty dirt path. The girl headed in what she thought would be the right direction.

She walked for some time. Not really knowing how much time passed and in what direction she was going. The beating remained steady. In fact, she thought it might be getting louder. The canopy of trees did not become any less dense. The underbrush increased and the girl had to start climbing over logs and bushes. The beating rang louder in her ear, she winced and covered it with one hand. What was that? A smell of rancid rot snaked her senses. The girl stepped backward her eyes watering. She pushed forward through the stench. She wanted to know if there was some clue that lay ahead.

In the darkness of the trees, she made out the outline of a small cabin ahead. She hurried onward toward it. Approaching it cautiously, she opened the door. The girl covered her ears with both hands now, while breathing through her mouth. The noise of the beating became overwhelming. She saw a pool of crimson on the floor. On her tip toes, she side stepped this and then looked up. There on the wall written in blood it said, “You are Viola”. Underneath on a wooden table was a small black velvet box. The girl opened it with a steady hand. Inside was a beating heart. She remembered everything.

 

To be continued…

The Last Tiger

We had been dying a long time.

Then when all was to be lost it became everybody’s plight–it no longer singularly belonged to my species. Yet, there was nothing left of us to be scared for, to tremble in fear at the loss of, save myself and a few others who still roamed the jungles of India. What was left of them anyway.

I often wondered, “Was I already dying when I arrived as a cub on this earth, or did I begin dying when I became fully grown and was now just living until I ceased?”

There was mass panic among the humans when the ball of fire began destroying their habitats. I who had been encroached upon my entire existence by these selfish creatures couldn’t understand. They had never helped another creature, not even their own kind. Destruction was their nature, would they not be used to this?

I cleaned my fur, polishing the orange, black and white–my stripes were looking fine as ever. I wanted to look my best for the end. Slowly the water came further inland and although it was usually warm in the jungle, rain stopped. The lush greens dried. Until, they were overwhelmed by the ocean waters. In which case they drowned.

I had always love to climb, so for the moment I took refuge in a tree. It was easy hunting as many others had seen fit to hide up here as well. Then, I became increasingly thirsty. The ocean water was too salty and the heat became intolerable. My fur was matted and sopping with sweat. No matter how much I panted, I couldn’t keep myself cool.

The fire from the sky had been long since extinguished but the continuing effect were devastating. Many of the trees and plants began drooping and sagging. They could no longer hold themselves proud. From my perch, I saw animal casualties littering the jungle floor or float by in the flooded river. Many belonged to the once selfish human race.

I knew my time was at hand, but I had been dying for a long time. Now it was time to let go. Body draped across the branch, head resting on my paws, eyes fluttered closed–sleep finally came.

First Day of Winter

November twenty-second, winter settled in my bones. Twigs crackled under my feet like my brittle bones in this damp chill. A cacophony of birds has taken shelter in a hodge-podge of trees. I myself had found refuge under a meek looking pine. The rain cascaded down.

Camping, came to mind. Wet pine and tree. The melting marshmallows over poping red-yellow fire. It had been a few years, but the memory was still fresh. I had seen her then.

I stood up into a puddle-turned-lake, my shoes soaked through. Socks becoming a soggy, squishy mush on my toes. The one day a year my mother would come to visit, and I was a squeaky, squashy sopping mess. I tucked my hair into my hood lifting it onto my head. Darkness settled over the city casually, extending its fingers cloud by cloud, star by star until a light dusting of blackness blanketed my way home. I hoped she would show.