We have moved through much a long time,
in weather sour or promising,
with heads in our hands or raised high
and often shoulder to shoulder
making a tent to protect us from this or that storm.
We once may have lived parallel lives,
capricious yet generous, cabaret-infused,
fine literature with potatoes for supper,
and working our way toward freedom.
But a laugh or a howl often passed as
one and the same, floating up from
magic wells of elixirs that soon took us down.
Still, we were big women in deeds, few apologies,
and outliving ourselves, appetites infused
with strong hints of the sacred,
but oh– the loves that followed
as we fancied ourselves enchantresses.
If we were or were not, we imagined or made it so.
Perhaps we did gather up ancient myths
and madness as we went– until it bedecked us
all bright and bountiful, confounding
as changelings or shooting stars arcing over
purpled nights, perilous dawns.
We found bits of peace amid puzzles of need,
then followed thrills on trains to somewhere.
One might that say we beat the bitter odds.
And how we came to value that. Oh, yes. And each other.
Now–these conditions of leave-taking,
me swamped in glories of geraniums
with perfumed leaves that
you cannot pack to go the distance.
You piling one thing after another
in boxes that will not hold all the years
or the more persistent secrets.
This move will accommodate you with newness,
sleek desert moons above swimming pools,
glittery sands folded into naked breadth of sky.
You will dive in, carry on with laps in mirroring water
that keep arms strong, heart calm, face a-glisten.
There will be shocking blossoms amid thorns
and heat that rules, and a horizon open to anything.
Your Maizie: cat nose sniffing at edges of desert;
you: squinting into brazen sun, holding her close.
Nights will welcome the days; your family
has already set a place at the table.
You know that is love in the first degree.
Here will be the rain dances on ferns;
wind to carve the gorge and deep dark as I dream.
It will green from one day to next, trees trembling assent.
I will be awash in stories, mugs of tea, flamenco and ballet,
smiles of grandchildren with rainboots gleaming.
My hair will streak whiter as your red softens.
I already gossip with your shamrock plant,
and will bathe it with east light.
Your berry and pine afghan will
swaddle these feet and arms. Winter’s silence.
Still, we can call for advice, reveal our events,
anticipate truths, and excavate meanings
to hold up to these heartbreaking times.
We are two aging warrior women so battle savvy,
still pilgrims but no longer abandoned, and
counting the good fortunes–and
such men, plans and angers turned loose.
Each discovery of beauty is, we know,
an excellent find amid the rubble
meant to be shared and thereby increased.
It is a trade we like, good giving and receiving.
The distance will recede, our psychic shores
a stone’s toss, gathered words like weathered nets
bursting with gifts, rich nourishment.
And before long we will find our way back
my Irish sister and fine prattling cohort,
my brave, my lustrous friend,
Eileen of the wild petunias.