Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Joseph Lisowski writes



My daughter, I've taken
the oil which you used
to make your skin shine.

On me, patches of dark
spot red blisters of sensitive skin.
I cannot bear the sun
as well as you had.
(It takes careful weeks
before I turn the color of your day's tan).

I have put on your lotion too
and may use it all.
I hope you don't mind.


Blood is more than pulse running
from a hidden heart.
Blood is a spectre,
a deep purple clot
that surrounds the body
that slaps hard
against mouth and nose.
A heavy cloth held
by a muscular hand.
Blood is pressure outside,
grief closing in.

We must struggle against this,
our breath which carries this clot.


Resurrecting the dead
is the only true ambition.
All else expires in body heat.

Let me understand the Cabala,
instruct Rosacrucians in The Golden Dawn
tell Chinese The Secret of the Golden Flower,
rewrite The Egyptian Book of the Dead,
share voices with Edgar Cayce,
cast dice with Madame Blavatsky,
show Blake eternity in a wild flower,
seize darkness from John of the Cross.
This alchemy of a wandering mind.

I'd trade it all
for one good shovel
to fit my hand like callus.
And dig, never to quit,
till sweat becomes baptismal water
and dead love comes to life.

Resurrection is all that matters.


My daughter is dead
again in my arms.
I touch the cold
that is not she. She
dies in my eyes.
Nothing comes
from her closed lids.

She visits my emptiness
and layers it with strands
of her golden hair.
They are the ladder
that I climb.
I reach toward her,
not knowing what I'll find.


My daughter blesses
my regret.
Her touch is a breeze,
a balm to my ache.
Then she is gone.

I look in the wind,
the nothing that's left.
I have felt her love
and need to again.


Morning breaks through dreamless skies.
Night surrenders easily.
Summer rises once again
in folds of zinnia, daisy, marigold.

All of that is outside.
Inside, funeral roses still bloom.
They infest the air
my daughter no longer breathes.

Her scent is no longer everywhere.
Not in her tee shirts which I wear.
Not in her make-up, clothes,
and shoes her mother keeps.

It is another summer day
she has not seen, a day
without our smells and shouts,
another day without her warmth, her smile.

My brother-in-law sits now
by his father's hospital bed.
The man feels death coming fast
and orders his son to buy a funeral suit.

My brother-in-law sits among goodbyes,
his mother and sisters, and his father
whom the priest has already blessed,
while my sister cries in my wife's arms.


My daughter comes into our new house
on waves of music we listened to together
in our difficult island life.
The sun is crisp, Canadian air sweeps in.
I ask her what she thinks.
She only shakes her head.

I feel she's about to speak
but words are lost in transit--
somewhere between impact
and that last breath,
that last sound no one
but her has heard.

I strain to hear her voice,
my own ears dammed with tears.


My daughter does not care
for me speaking of her as dead.
But her admonishments are gentle.
We speak to each other in new ways,
though I still lumber along
on halting steps and brood
like an ancient earth-worn man.
She is a light
just beyond touch.
She caresses my head
with an imperceptible pale yellow
refraction of sun.

I speak to her often.
She replies in a language
without sound. I listen
and begin to learn
of love,
and its silence.

by LL

An anniversary poem
(for Chrissy)

Your death, daughter,
Was a hurricane. Wind
Shrieking terror at 4 a.m.
We lay in our beds dreaming
We were safe. When we awoke
Darkness was everywhere.
Destruction rained on us like
Black blood. Broken bones
Littered the streets
Where we walked and walked, searching
For pieces of our lives, searching
For you.

It's been a long time, my love,
Since we've seen a green or living thing.
But now the sky lightens in the east
And hope
Is a tree in bud.

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