Thursday, May 5, 2011

For Lolo

Turning the pages of an old album,
I try hard to release the despair
that I should have felt
in the first flight.

Fresh paint
and the heavy smell of wood stain
flood the room, and the sawdust
covers my face
in ghost-like countenance.
Here is your very own rocking chair
that doesn't rock.
What good is a chair
that doesn't rock? I fumed.
He never answered.
So many days I sat there,
tipping back and forth,
back and forth,
vainly trying to feel the thrill
of swinging my hair forward,
the whish of the wind
blowing me back.
In kindergarten,
Wendy rocked back in the blue rocking chair
and landed
right on her head.
It's a good thing mind doesn't
rock, I said.
He was already gone,
and I was too late to thank him.

We went home,
Mom and Dad and brother and I,
his home,
their home.
And out of respect for an old man's dignity
and happiness
I was told not to speak.
Instead, I walked,
and he followed,
in awe of the tall sapling
that came from the acorn
he had once cradled.
An old man,
and a young woman.
A sudden glance,
or a word
would have moved him
far beyond anything
he wished to feel.
But in the wind
I felt his words,
felt the sunshine
that was his warmth.
I watched him as he delighted
the small children with
his puffed rings of cigarette smoke.
Up, up, up,
wider, bigger,
around me,
embracing me in wordless strength.
I learned more, then.

Miles and miles away again,
the telephone rings,
echoing through the house.
A cry of anguish,
and then the hours.
Long hours, quiet, gray,
and the blankness in my mother's eyes.
I comforted, cooked, cleaned,
whispering, creeping,
until the plane carried her away
to him.
It was then that I became a net,
holding together a house
that despaired for its carpenter.
Weeks and weeks,
falling into bed in exhaustion,
and never grieving.
Just tired eyes, aching muscles,
empty eyes.

The scent of jasmine
fills my nostrils,
and my eyes look up.
No one.
I wonder if it is he
that I keep searching for.
In my own ripeness
I have finally awakened to
a cold, hard tombstone,
remembering the fluttering candles.
The silence I have been holding
for so long
finally empties from me
in rivers of ink and thoughtfulness.

May he know I'm finally crying,
and that I'm thankful for my rocking chair.



  1. As someone who has also been a 'net' I'm sending you a big, comforting hug. This is a beautiful piece of writing.

  2. Thank you, Sarah. I'm glad you stopped by!