Bio Note: I live in Lima, Peru, where - while y'all are sweltering - it's winter and often bitterly cold. Not because it's cold cold, but because houses have no central heating. And 16º outside - or even 18º - eventually creeps into your bones, especially since the humidity is at about 98%. We are growing gills instead of ears and mushrooms on our shoes. How better to warm up than writing a few poems.
Flatlining during the operation
Where the river Styx meets the shore, where Charon’s boat lies for anchor, where I stepped off the vessel returning to where I was so unceremoniously bundled into the lower decks, I saw. I had inner compound eyes and the sharpness of an eagle. I looked down at the topography of my life and saw rivers turning back onto themselves, sinkholes of life’s random disasters, enormous canyons carved out of dissatisfaction, gentle lakes of passing beauty taken over by poisonous algae, deserts from droughts I had inflicted on a once verdant landscape. There were the Himalayas of my expectations, the Andes of my most joyful moments, the Alpes where I searched for the mystical blue flower. And then I knew. That search had created the limitation of my geography. I had hunted the unattainable while fields lay fallow, weeds conquered all, small houses and enormous constructions crumbled, the sheep and cows--skeletons of negligence, species I hadn’t even known lived in me--extinct. The world could have been mine while I idled, doubted, sowed out empty seeds, procrastinated at great speed. When I returned from the Underworld, I threw open the borders, righted the rivers, mowed the meadows, vanquished the weeds, and strapped on the wings I hadn’t yet used for fear of falling.
I am tired of being tired
The lethargy struck together with the monster virus. When the worst of the coughing was over, when the fever had left, when I could breathe freely again, I thought I could pick up my life where I left off. Instead, there was total fatigue. Brain fog. Too tired to think. Too tired to plan a future. Too tired to write. Too tired to smile. Too tired to dream. Too tired to be afraid. Too tired to hate. This poem doesn’t like to be written. My fight no longer wants to be fought. Climate crisis? Let it happen. The latest news? Who cares about Ukraine. Trump? There is a faint echo of outrage. White supremacists? A discreet wake-up call but not enough right now. The UK prime minister is an idiot? They all knew that when they voted for him. Every day seems an effort, life itself bends under the load of its weight. Tired words stretch like bubble gum. Would I be a hibernating bear, safe in the knowledge that nothing was asked of me but sleep.
Should you not recognize me
I fear you have pegged me with your expectation, have created me in the image someone prepared for you. If all you can see is black and white, look again. Search for colour within colour, shape within shapes. Within. Stay for a while, calm, open your heart and your mind. Listen. I may not be what you expected, but I can give you peace.
©2022 Rose Mary Boehm
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