Friday’s Quick Pick/Poem: A Small Ballad of Beauty and Fortitude

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Photograph by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

The freshening darkness sings and snarls.
At the window she rests and waits for
that loft and heft of air that carries
all four directions into her emptying mind.
She doesn’t need to move an inch from the
extra wide bed (nor can she) that cradles her

smallness like a bird wrapped within
skeins of a variegated night.
It is a waiting that brings pleasure
as all the light is turned down.
Things that were hiding or resting
take their places, reveal wondrousness.
It’s all a giant music box that pops open as
last shards of color soon pale and vanish.

Why and for what must you wait? he complains
as he nudges her bones away from his heat.
To be friends with life, she tells him.
He utters noises that suit the hollow he makes;
she watches beyond a narrow window, senses keen.
An easy enchantment as earth shifts, sighs;
wind brings sonatas to her strong teacup of a heart.

Everything living in the far-flung night is
larger, far more than she knows, but this is
a comfort: cats ferocious in hunger and desire,
handfuls of birds all glide and whisper,
squirrels and spiders that burrow and spin.
The moon glows without prejudice as the man
creates distance, keeps safe his importance.

Once when she was a brave child
she sat at night under the peach tree.
Savored flesh of tender fruit as twilit sky
stirred with a flurry of bat wings,
each no bigger than her fingertips.
Insects joined in chorus, brittle and bright.
Warm were the rocks, smooth beneath
her failed legs; night crawlers scaled her toes.
No one knew she had dragged herself out
until morning and they found her asleep
by a den of foxes. She had dreamed
she’d stood up, raced in fields behind them.

She grew but her legs did not lead where
she begged them to go. Later, more useless
than when she was certain of healing. Romance.
She has been more at home in breadth of bed
day and night. It has become less to bear.
Fine night creatures circle under the stars;
nature’s design makes room for her in the
unnatural world of trivia. Useless tears.

Night breathes on me and I am freed of it all, she says.
He snores on, head under quilts, blind and safe
from the dark while she floats, heedless,
toward the salvation of this in-between time.

2 thoughts on “Friday’s Quick Pick/Poem: A Small Ballad of Beauty and Fortitude

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