The Lack Of Sense Memory

Today I cleaned out a drawer
His drawer in the basement bathroom
Unused for two years and one month
Blew out and brushed out the dust
Threw away dental floss, toothpaste samples, expired medications
Pushed aside a hairbrush
And found
A bottle of his cologne.
Almost empty
Quite forgotten
Never his favorite,
He wore it to please me
Then left it behind.
Slowly, I lifted out the bottle
Wiped off the dust
And lifted the lid.
Sniffed
Waited

Nothing.
No flashbacks
Just nothing.
A smile spread across my face at the realization
And I resolved to buy a candle with the scent
So I can enjoy it again,
Free of associations.

Gregory Orr – How Beautiful The Beloved

This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.

No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.

That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.

~ Gregory Orr (How Beautiful the Beloved)

Throwback

It’s interesting
Not having seen myself through the eyes of dismissal in a while
Rediscovering the faux-concerned face
The wince of denial
The condescending voice and syrupy tone that assured me:
“No, you can’t. You couldn’t possibly. You’re just
Not
Capable.”
Recently, I watched that happen
Recognized it for what it was – a smackdown –
Laughed inside
And denied *them* that power
By saying softly,
“Well.
Watch me.”

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Here in the place of my youth (2)

Here in the place of my youth
My muscles unknot
Joints easing spine lengthening brow unfolding like a lotus
Years running off me like rainwater –
Brain quicksilver and fertile
Adult teeth dormant, actors waiting in the wings
Feet flashing and chubby legs pumping
Lungs full of bright air
As I run, joyous,
From one kingdom to another
Here the queen
There the jester
Another, the destrier with silken mane and flared nostrils
    who goes, noble, to defeat or victory
Leaping forward and on until the dusk,
That quiet shepherd of my days,
Herds me gently towards home
Under streetlights waking one by one
Along cooling pavement
Past cars, ticking and settling as they shed the day’s exertions
Slower now, feet dragging
Limbs weighted with the beginning of weariness
Watching the blinking dance of fireflies
Smelling the grassy, cooling earth
Hearing other screen doors slam behind their charges
Then quickly, propelled by the warning whine of mosquitos,
I slip through the door and pull it shut
And arrive, a stranger
    with the scent of the wild world still on me
Into this pocket of yellow lamplight
And laughter
And the warm smell of dinner curling
Like a halo
About my head.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Here in the place of my youth (1)

Here in the place of my youth
My roots draw deep
And the earth is dark, and moist, and nourishing
Here I am most myself
Most connected with a lost past
Here I feel my strength
Rising in me like courage
Like joy
Here the wind brings a secret knowledge
And sunlight, instead of burning
Is brilliant hot wine
Warming as wassail
Bracing like brandy
Here, time is an unfinished story
Slowly unfolding its measured loops
Revealing only parts of the whole

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Not A Tributary

There are times in life
Doorways
Or portals
When life changes
When the unthinkable
Becomes thinkable
Then understandable
And even palatable
When we discover grace
In the face of change
As I linger in bed this morning
I am considering the many portals
That I strode through
Or tripped through
Or was pushed through
Unknowing and alone
And I hope that now, in this phase of my journey
I can see the signposts when I pass them
And can align myself to travel through them
Squarely
Eyes ahead
Arms and legs tucked in
To avoid bumping the doorjamb
Fluid
Streamlined
Jettisoning baggage as I go
Once again, I am not aligned with others on the path
Once again, I am not feeling the same emotions they are
Once again, I feel that I am at a different event, hearing different music
And I have a new thought: that I am my own fish
Swimming in my own stream.
Perhaps it’s ok that my stream doesn’t join the ocean.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Sunflower

When he looks at her
His face fills up with joy
And affection
And respect
And tender appreciation
For all that she is and does
He angles his body towards her
In any photo, he is near her
When I first said this,
Others said I must be wrong
That I didn’t understand
That he couldn’t be feeling what I thought
Acting as I thought
As I was sure he was
But I know these mannerisms
That look of love
And awe
And profound ease
Because he wore it with me in the first years of our marriage
He stopped showing me this face
Removed it, as though it were a mask
And turned himself towards her.
She is now the sun
And he the sunflower
And I am the diminished
Darkened face of the moon
On a cloudy, starless night.

Copyright © 2015 C. Mitchell