Oklahoma

Picture of Oklahoma

Hell beckons me home where the promise of comfort soothes my restless feet and calms my aimless heart. The demons speak in familiar tones reminding me that I belong to this desolate, dying land where only the slightly insane can exist but never live. It is here that generations regenerate the myth that this is somehow  a reality worth preserving.

It’s a strange and difficult place that grips my throat and clinches down on my gut, a constant reminder that it is both my lifeline and my impending death.

Grandma’s Steps

I sat on that porch
at least a hundred times,
imagining the stories
you once told us
on an empty night,
prolly while you faced
your own ghosts
of unspeakable truths.

You said, “Listen.”

And I did, but all I heard
were toads and crickets
and some coyotes far off.
Today I drive past that
porch, and something
tugs at every lifeline in my
body to just look over there
and dares me to still
breathe and to not cry when
I see us not sitting
on that porch.

You said, “Listen, that’s
God’s symphony playing just for us.”

And where there was once just
an empty night of random
creatures doing their own
thing, and you mourning that which
would never come, and
me foolishly believing
it would come to me,
I know full well, now,
with you gone and me
grown, that of all the places
we went to there on that
porch, not only was heaven one
of them, it was the only place
that’s ever made
any sense to me.

Removed

(to Faith on her 13th birthday)

So far removed from where I once was,
I often fear you will not find me;
yet, when you do, I’m reminded,
I’m never far removed from you.
I know one day, no one will remember.
And one day, no one will care.
But until then, my child, I still do.
I carry with me, to this day, the flutter of your movements, as if to say, “I survived, Mom, and so will you.”

I know I have the promise of holding you forever.
And I know my struggle will finally be over
when God places you in my arms,
And me into yours,
never to be separated again.
And only then, my child, when I rest in peace,
will I finally rest in peace.

Gone Before I’m Gone

(for Hailey Owens)
Last seconds can
wreck your mind
break the strong and
destroy the weak.
Angry words spoken,
love rushed and often
forgotten in the split
seconds of what
nobody knows
will be the last.
Imagined cries
and agonies of
the injured,
torment the living,
but I tell you this,
cause I heard it
spoken to me
plainly from those
gone by, “God took me
long before my reckoning,
and Angels held me while
you kissed me goodnight,
and my last memories were
of sunshine and delight,
cause I was already gone
standing right before your eyes
and while still in your arms.
So cry if you must
because I’m gone,
but rest in peace knowing,
God took me long before
I was already gone.”

Run, Baby, Run

9-9-2009
to my grandmother and my daughter

Run, baby, run,
to the gates,
to the sun,
welcome her there
where you two can share
stories of home
and reunions to come.
Grandmother,
Mother,
Daughter,
one day we’ll
all be together.
You two can prepare
for our arrival there.

Run, baby, run
over golden streets
to the one,
she arrived today;
you’ll find her I pray
looking for you,
my little girl
taken too soon.
Embrace her,
for it’s been quite a journey;
hold her closely,
she’s a special lady.

Run, lady, run
to the victory
you have won.
A faithful servant,
conqueror of life,
you’ve walked with grace
during immense strife.
Memories are left us,
no one would’ve kept you here,
but still our hearts mourn you;
we cannot hold back our tears.

Run, lady, run,
to the gates
to the sun
embrace your loved ones,
family you’ve mourned for so long,
friends you’ve missed so much.
And if baby should find you,
cradle her close,
whisper her name
sing her a song.
And tell them all
we’ll soon be coming home.