Strawberries in the Winter

Strawberries taste like summer, with a sweetness that gives me visions of green strawberry fields

With bright red gems glittering with the morning’s slowly dissipating fog

And fragile white, round-winged butterflies fluttering through the miles and miles of sweet strawberries.

Tasting a strawberry in the midst of a winter, I wonder how far we roam to find strawberries in a place so cold

Across the country, through the snow, to the other side of the world where it isn’t below zero

Or maybe just a little down south, where the porch is warm enough to languidly rock and watch the trucks drive by

Through day and night, to bring these strawberries out of the light and hope they survive.

A journey up the coast, to where the sun doesn’t shine and the earth is too cold for strawberries to grow

They taste like another place, or another time, as I’ve witnessed summer before with my own eyes:

It smells like the green leaves of the strawberry, tastes just as sweet and sounds like cicadas

Feels like sweat on my forehead, my bare feet on sand and a cool salty wind with an ocean wave cadence.

I wonder if strawberries in the winter taste just as nostalgic as pomegranates in the summer

To fully validate the irony in that I only miss one when I’m with the other.

Your Shadow

He screamed at a shadow to get out of his way.

Perplexed, she said “Why shout when you could walk right through me?”

He shrugged. “I want to be heard as much as you want to be seen. Now we’re both satisfied.”

So she remained by his side forever to dance before his eyes, and he whispered his dreams to her in the dark.

The Red String of Fate

The sorrow that burdens your heart makes it tremble, a quake whose vibrations even I can feel. It courses through the earth with a magnitude so strong, I feel its tremors rumbling in my chest. It’s unfathomable that something as small as a fist, when broken, opens as wide as a rift in the ocean.

But know that this love you feel is not only pain, as love is what allows me to share it while the earth shifts violently beneath our feet. Know that love is not a heavy iron chain, but a thin thread that can span miles unravelled. With this thread, follow with unwavering steps your aching heart. Only she knows how far away the other end is tied in a safe knot, impervious to any sharp edge.

Beware the whispers of fear in your mind of the trepidation in seeking it out. Bate your breath and only listen for the truth, whispered in a timid secret on a cold bit of wind. The chill that dances over your spine at its carress – that is a truth made only for you. Do you feel it? If yes, don’t turn back lest you be turned to stone. Don’t chase it, or it may run from you.

With your eyes, and with your weary feet, slowly follow that thread of fate. Lay your lies in the dust of what’s dead and desolate. Love, not because it will not hurt you, but because it’s what makes you who you are.

Malingering

I tip toe over broken glass with the same meticulous pace that I distance myself from a broken heart.

One and one don’t always align, and I fear the sound of shattering from a pair mismatched. Like magnets, only the opposite sides attract, but when pulled apart, a bit of myself leaves with you each time.

Under planetary bodies, rising sun and waning moon are no match for the tides that move me pensively in your direction. Were you any more poisonous, I surely still would long for just the slightest taste and suffer the lasting bitterness.

The home of your arms is lined with brambles so shallow they only pierce my skin. Alas, my buoyant heart rests at my surface to bask in the heat in your eyes – vulnerable for those thorns to pierce.

With closed eyes I meander around sharp debris, heart still aching, hoping that things will change. The scars haven’t faded, the pieces of me have not regenerated, and though in my latent pace I hope you return to me, I know that I’m shamefully malingering.

My Theology.

I believe in an attentive ear that seeks the somber sound of crying in a dark and sightless night. The truth in hearing and believing a life beyond one’s own beating heart is a religion of its own. If faith is mandatory, I’d rather believe in the pensive mind that yearns for justice; a law not written by man, but inherited millennia ago from the sky.

As you believe in God, I believe in a love for life so strong that no small flower be set to a flame. My deity is the beauty of an unkempt green valley, and the dandelion seeds that form clouds upon the horizon in a hot summer gust. As you believe in angels, I believe in the mindless creatures that roam the world with hope in their hearts of falling in love – those silly things are so romantic, they brim with more hope than could ever be discovered in a mine filled with diamonds.

Your belief in heaven is comparable to my belief of a sunny afternoon under a pale blue sky, somewhere far away from the city where I can hear the cicadas and the bullfrogs. There are no gates here, just a noisy silence that raptures me in a way that no psalm ever has. I can read catharsis from the cumulus clouds, or hear a chorus in the little things that live in the loam. What we have in common? We both call our heaven our home.

But what about hell? Well, I don’t believe that exists as long as there is another day. For there are days, nights, weeks and months that I lie awake with teary eyes. There are days that I wish I could simply stop my heart-beat on demand. The heat under my skin is comparable to the literature that describes the underworld, I suppose, when I feel this insatiable need for something, for anything to bring a chill to my fiery anger, or my branding sorrow.

Although I know that it won’t be for ever. Each time I watch the clock, and the arrow hits one minute prior midnight, I know that shortly there will be another day. As the seasons shift their way around the cyclical conundrum that life is made of, one spring day I’ll see my deity, one summer day I’ll fill my heart with hope.

Even in the season of the dead things, the fallen leaves remind me of the hearth of a cozy home. Though I may brood alone, I know that 11:59 is the truest worship time. Idle and fatigued I bide the time, the sixty seconds that always drags my atheist heart out and gives it a moment to practice religion – one second at a time.

A Wish on a Waning Moon

The softest of footsteps move down the hall, impossible for me to hear were it not for my vivid imagination. Curled up in satin sheets, daylight winks through the slanting blinds and stripes the bed with molten silver. Throughout the crack beneath the door, I spot your toes pause outside, your hand on the doorknob although the hinges hang open.

Why don’t you come inside?

My mind spins and my heart hammers until my stomach aches. How long do I have to wait? Time has me frozen here, my knuckles red from gripping the bed covers so tightly.

The door is open….

Yet the handle doesn’t twist. A shuffle against the dark wooden floor and I don’t see your shadow there anymore. I’d lift my head, but I’m paralyzed, still as stone in the crevice I’ve embedded into the mattress.

You don’t have to stay for long.

A cold sweat works up my face. I just need to move, just a little bit. To part my lips and cry for you to come back.

But I can’t….

I have no voice, I make no sound that your ears are capable of hearing. Is it because you don’t want to hear me? Because you don’t love me at all. I know this, but still, I’m warm and I have a beating heart. I bleed and I feel. Just tell me that it’ll be alright. Hold me one more time. Give me something to feel.

I fear that I’ve turned to stone, and time will no longer wake me in the morning. I’ll never move forward. I’ll never be somebody. I’ll never hope again.

The light through the sheer curtains pools onto the floor. Shadows move, but I can’t. I’m paralyzed. I’m a shattered doll. I’m a broken rose. I’m an eyesore.

In a world without warmth, I’m frozen still, too cold to move. The day is waiting for me, the sun fatigued, and yet I haven’t budged from my pillow. My skin is stuck to the cloth with tears like hot glue. My pained breaths echo through the room.

I just can’t move.

And until I do, I’ll bask in the rays of an eternal noon. The stars won’t come out to consider my fancies. My wishes float idly toward the ever waning moon.

Ele-Mental

In my rage, I set fire to the field of daisies – it erupts in a haze, a harsh and dense cloud of smoke. The green withers into brown before it collapses into the ground.

I stare over the destruction, my heart pounding with regret. One bucket at a time, I pour water to douse the flames. The steam floats up and becomes a cloud, gathering thunder and raining down.

It sets ease to the fire, soothes my rampant desire for destruction….

Yet I still feel remorse at what I have done.

A chill spreads and numbs my bones, a frost crystallizing out of the cold. A single sprig of green is left – I hold it between my thumb and index finger. Still wet, but withered, it dies as slowly and painfully as all of the hope I have held in my chest for my trembling heart to lay to rest.

The morning’s sun melts away the icy layer, dribbling into a stream and filling up a void crater. The reflections on the surface match the light in my eyes – they flicker, they dwindle, they fall and they rise. A pool of saltless tears, it holds the echoes that nobody can hear across the vast and empty field. Prayers for mercy, prayers for touch. Her glassy surface never yields – no one comes to touch her.

And what will become of that desolate field? The plows come to mow away what is left of it, a valley filled with tiny, dainty skeletons shifted away in cold and heavy steel. Remnants of the grass remain stuck within the iron teeth – the giant sits abandoned with its duties no longer needed.

Days come, days go, and the grass sprouts again beneath the chained wheels. Tiny flower buds, creeping curiously where the sun called them. Maybe hopeful, though shy of all of the previous destruction. Will they trust the sun again? I do, when it shines just bright enough to turn the sky gold. I fantasize that life will break the casket that’s already begun to form a mold around my arms and legs, and will me to walk, to run again. As I rise from my proverbial grave, rust forms over the steel of the tractor.

And the weeds do the same, confident that strength will thrive again in the valley dense with their fallen men. Like the steel, I’ve grown so cold and impenetrable, my only shield my scarred skin that deflects all of those heavy blows. But the rust is eating tiny holes, making what was solid once again permeable.

Regardless of what I see myself as, I will be broken down, as nothing can’t be wilted – no tower won’t be tilted beneath a quake too powerful for its iron beams to hold steady against. The tractor is pronounced dead when its engine rumbles with dread, and it is towed forlornly out of the field, to no longer be an eyesore to those who pass without much care.

The roots release, they say farewell. They won’t miss that chapter of their cyclic hell. I say good-bye too, as I would say good-bye to you were you to uncover your ears and hear my voice take to the wind. I wish for you to touch me again, as I’ve touched all of these things and left them dead beneath my fingertips.

To the bottom of the ocean, the old scraps sink. The fish flee at the disturbed currents, peaking through the algae to see this sunken behemoth. It slumbers. Farewell. But is that the end?

Still, air summons itself from the tractor’s cracks and crevices and bubbles to the surface of the sea. Breathe. The foam licks the shore, and here I am to watch how unsure the current appears beneath a full moon. In this eerie light, so many shadows loom. In these strange bright beams, I see you – or your eyes, the way they glitter with so much emptiness. Your eyes, the way they hold my reflection, the true one without the bones and skin but the one that’s a casket with a screaming being within.

Where the water meets the shore, there is a dense and silky clay. Between my fingers I can mold it, but it quickly melts away. What can I do to make it stay? As God breathed life into sand from the sea, he didn’t seem to have much left for me, as I stare into the salt and brine and wonder what it feels like to die with my lungs filled with the scales of fish.

But then, you would call me selfish….

Yet, you didn’t seem to care much when I lived. The dead don’t hear you cry; they care for your regret as much as the charred field cared for mine. When the blade has struck flesh, one can no longer apologize, as the blood hears no remorse when it is drained onto the floor.

The clay is whisked away, pushed back deep into the sea, and somewhere it becomes an island – somewhere that island grows a tree. And when that tree spreads its seeds, a forest looms on that tiny piece of land where the sand and sea convene. The roots hold it all together to a tiny paradise, where I’ll set sail to one night and lie beneath the foliage.

The island births a field, one that is filled with daffodils that dance in a warm breeze. The summer creates a dry heat that makes it difficult to breathe. These plants and seedlings stifle me. I feel the fire in my heart once more. Fire. I crave it when I stand on the shore.

Cyclic are my impulses, eternity never resolving to forgive me for all of the damage that I have done. If only I could disappear as easily as a daisy within an ember. Then perhaps, become part of a lake, part of a rain cloud, part of an ocean and then an island. Desolate, alone, with no one to hurt me – save for myself, of course.

I flick my lighter. The peace has run its course. I want to fill the air with rage again, to feel, because to feel something is better than to feel nothing when none of it is real. Elemental and surreal, atomic and microscopic, unheard and disregarded are the tiny salt tears in a freshwater lake.

Just take me away and make me as malleable as clay. Shape me into something that can be loved. Give me feathers, birth me as a dove, and I will never again feel hate or rage or any dreadful plague. And if by chance I did, I would spread my wings and fly away to leave those awful things for dead. I’d rise like an angel with no tears left to shed, and turn my head from the earth below to forever forget regret.

Rain Drop

I see a cloud hovering above the lake, meandering somberly over the trail. The water longed to fly off like the mallards, rolling like cotton across the water. 

Fog, lucky you. I grow weary too. The heavy mist conceals my vision, but the breeze blows it softly until it disappears.

I want to fall into pieces, light and dewy, and take off with the wind at dusk. And after the sunlight illuminates the droplets with rainbows – so as to make my last appearance beautiful – I want to begin again.

 Up in the sky, in a cloud, a brand new raindrop with no memories of the grimy pond, the darkness or the cold. A rain drop won’t grow old. Neither will it die, but it will collide into the sky and become new, unjaded and unabused.

How I envy you.