Sunlight

It is the fall of 1985
and my mother is unwrapping
a soft yellow blanket from
jaundiced tinged skin –
exposing the stiff shoulders,
tongue pressed hard into the bottom of a bare red mouth…
screaming newborn.

She lays the baby on the carpet in front of the bay window
and lets sunlight splash –
a Vitamin D baptism.

She draws her dreams into the baby’s skin,
traces patterns of hopes for the future
with an intensity that leaves behind
history’s long scratch of tradition.

Thirty-four years later
and I realize I have leveraged her hopes
against my heart
and have failed again and again
to come to a compromise
between the tap, tap, tap
of my name behind my teeth
and the salt etching of her tears.

I lay in the window of my house
I pretend the narrow light
is a small cathedral arch
and I’m bathing in the closest I’ll ever come
to redemption.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


Thank you to MindLoveMisery for the prompt.

Stand With

untitled
I want to stand with Paris.
I want to stand with Beirut.
I want to stand with Egypt,
Bangladesh,
Turkey,
Yemen,
with Libya,
Saudi Arabia,
and Tunisia,
with Kuwait,
and Afganistan,
with Iraq,
and Syria.
I want to stand and stand and stand
but I’ve hit my knees
and forgotten how to pray.

I know in a few years Paris will be a grainy photograph
stuck to a thin page in some history textbook
with the caption
“Attack on Paris by ISIS.”
They’ll wrap up all the heartache and loss into
five words and
one photo.

Fourteen years of the War on Terror
takes less than fourteen pages
and it won’t tell you that everyone remembers where they were
when those towers fell.
It won’t show you the things we all lost in those sands.
Maybe it’ll give you statistics.
Two or three lines to describe the casualties.
And somewhere among those numbers I hope they add in
the loss of my marriage,
the loss of the ability of a man to father his children,
the loss of the love that was once held by two young people
crazy enough to dash naked through the snow
and lie for hours on the grass as if no one could see them.

I hope they add on every family like mine,
the loss that can’t be packed into a wooden box
and marked with a number
and a small white cross.
I hope in all the political shit
piled into the text of these next history books
it says that we stood united
in fear, and loss, and pain.
That we stood with Paris.
That we stood even when our knees gave out
and we stood when we forgot how to pray.

©Laura A. Lord, 2015