(first day of national poetry month–felt like a day to write a poem–well, a draft of one anyway)
To contain, to protect the fragile radiance
of her dimming light, she crafted a mosaic—
a million and three tiny torn distractingly vibrant
pieces of paper patiently pasted until
the armor, a perfect pretense, was complete…
seemingly secure and projecting only the rays
she knew would be safe in the sharing.
But paper is a flawed medium when storms threaten
and even paste can’t hold
amid a deluge.
A million and three tiny torn pieces
flutter as a loosening begins.
What was a gentle breeze, quickens
foretelling an approaching hurricane—
relentless and unforgiving, this force of nature
will deliver only one thing with certainty…
A razing to force rebuilding.
A flooding to baptize rebirth.
And she is—
There have been too many revisions
lately; mandated by a harsh editor.
So, she attempts to will the paste to hold
…she attempts to funnel her strength
(all of it)
into this maintenance project.
Clenching fists and squeezing eyes
tightly shut, she prays
as Gwendolyn taught her to:
“Be firm till I return from hell.”
And in that prayer,
…days when her light was abundant,
when it shone freely without fear
of shortage or outage, knowing
its vulnerability was a strength to be admired
rather than a target at which to take aim.
…the days before she was told to
mute her hues
to accept that, well, to succeed,
this is the way.
But, this can’t be the way and
She has known it, and today
she accepts it as true
and her prayers transform because
Lucille has also instructed:
“Today we are possible…everything waits for us”
And with that, a tiny piece of paper
Unlatches itself and sails off on the breeze.
Her eyes open,
confident in her own strength,
her righteousness restored,
more pieces detach,
and as they do
she is fully herself,
a woman reclaimed
out of hiding
who knows that in fact,
this is truly the way.
Her radiance roars,
her joy revived.
Her strength is beautiful
And requires no disguise.
She is a force and the others,
well, they can suggest, but the choice
is hers alone.
And now, she knows it.
(in gratitude to Gwendolyn Brooks “my dreams, my works must wait till after hell”, Lucille Clifton “birth-day” and to the writers of “The Mandalorian”)