The dancers

The officer comes in, straight face
the focus, he knows, is de-escalation
despite the mother’s bruises and her children’s tears
what happened here
is simple in the way nothing is, ever
It’s 1977 or 8 or 9
the time, it runs together when you see the same faces day by day
He, the husband has been drinking, again
shouting slurred words, imagined offenses
And the wife, with her children behind her just asks that he please leave
So the children can sleep
So that they can have peace, though the oldest one knows it’s just temporary
The officer can see it in her eyes, the kid, no more than 6 who dialed 911 because her mother was taking blows and couldn’t get to the phone…
He says, “come on sir, let’s go”
takes the husband by the arm and guides him outside, where the blue and white lights of his cruiser cast eerie dancing shadows on the homes facade.
They are visitors, these shadows.
Reminders to the officer that all is not well here,
And he thinks of his wife and his child, at home.

Reconciliation

she didn’t do it right
the baby came first
but not before the one that didn’t
because there was a clinic in Chicago
that would take care of the problem
so he said…

And it did for a little while,
take care of the “problem” which was
in fact
to hide the fact that she was not
the “girl” she was expected to be
…secrets were born instead

The second became the first to
change the shape of things
though still no ring
…a circle if you will
of impatient nights and restless days
and wondering why it all turned out so different
than her dreams
…but still a dream

with little fingers and new eyes
through which she viewed the world
an ocean swell of love to wash her clean
she found her reconciliation

S.O.S.

You think you’ll find love
and you do for a moment
in the arms of a boy
with eyes that see into
the places other people won’t
or can’t
And you fashion an image
of happy ever after
very much like the movies
you watched with your grandpa
before he died
Only the rescue
never happens
the sun goes down
and rises without him
And you realize
you were holding
the life preserver all along…

Motions

My heart keeps drumming
along with the daily must do’s
Eat.
Stop.
Sleep.
Stop.
Work.
Stop.
Shower.
Stop.
Breathe.
When even combing my hair is a task
and looking in the mirror cuts like glass
and tears fall warm on my pillow shell
It beats.
Reminding me
that life goes on
Or rather
it’s just not time to die.