Author's Note: For me these are poems of Remembrance, of memories from a time when it seemed my life had stopped, and would have to be brought back from nothing—a frightening time, and a challenging one, a time of returning to life in small steps, inch by inch. Something we are all being challenged with now, on the “Knife edge” of the battle with the pandemic, when it is not at all certain how well we will do.
Nothing can touch you. You wear an electric halo that keeps you safe from memory. You are made new again, clean as a baby, nothing can be your fault. You are a saint without a history, preparing to perform your first miracles. You will be generous and blind. You will sniff out pain like God’s own bloodhound. You smile and your smile leads you through the day, empty as the halls you walk up and down, up and down, going nowhere, empty as your face somehow still wet with tears you didn’t shed
After the Storm
Sometimes you survive like Robinson Crusoe. Alone in a strange place you steal what you can use from the broken body of your life. Nothing will ever be the same. The scraps you find you must now fit to some new purpose, like bits of broken china set in clay to make a mosaic, they have a ragged second-hand beauty, and are a testament to the kind of thrift great failures force on us. Nevermind, take your grief and make a basket for your tears so they don’t go to waste.
Some crazy angel put her finger on me and pinned me down here for you to find, the kind of useless prize that comes tucked in the bottom of the crackerjack box you bought without thinking. Such gifts have short lives and can’t make good on many promises, but it’s too late now to turn away to say you weren’t home or you lost your invitation- You can’t pretend we never met. There are some miracles too hard to refuse. So open your arms for me my most reluctant winner and take whatever blessings I can give.
©2021 Mary McCarthy
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