“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

7.17.2013

he left for a week and she planted flowers


he needed space, and time to think it over,
and she needed the dirt under her fingernails.
he was in the car, driving west;
she was in the sun, facing the shadows.  

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from one window in my house i can see the growth of tomato plants side by side with the flowers, and i wonder if it has helped.  she hits the bbq joints with girlfriends on saturday nights and seems okay, but i hope she sneaks a cigarette when he's not looking, he so full of rules and all, all those rules being hers to follow.   

she will offer him a bite of something her tears helped water, and he will buy roses wrapped in plastic, picked up at the last moment on his way past the grocery store.

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all i need is a window.  the stories are everywhere.

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7.12.2013

in which i toss things out



i'm needing a blank white page here, if only for a while.  i need the empty space around me.   the silence.  these white pillows i am leaning against, the cat sleeping next to my toes on a white blanket, the sunlight bright against the windows, yesterday's thunderstorm.  all needed.  insert gratitude right here.

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7.07.2013

the girl who painted walls

some times it was just a wall, other days it was the detail work, the up against the molding parts where she would need an artist's brush; she never used painter's tape, all that was was wasted time, taping up against the edges of things when she could instead be laying a new coat of color next to those edges - no, the joy of sitting still, moving her hand into the just right position, at the exact right angle, the one where she could glide along for a good 24 or 28 inches and not even hold her breath to keep the brush steady, the brush now an extension of her, of her not feeling anymore anxious - that was a joy only to be had when she was past the worrying about perfection point, which of course is where the perfection actually turned out to live.


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not that that matters.  there are walls to be painted.

i will start here, in this first room.  the room of july 7th.  i have a small bucket of white paint and old-but-good brushes that have seen me through many a wall or chair or table.  the room of july 7th is cluttered and the early sun is laying lazy outside the door.  it is an honest room with stacks of books and scatters of pillows and a couch that sags too much for its age.  the room of july 7th doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks.  i won't cover that up with new paint - i've tried before and it doesn't work, it just creates problems under my skin.  i will paint the wall with a color called truth, a color which does not set you free, no matter what all the cool kids tell you.  truth is a prison when your truth is not their truth.  

i won't lie.  i may stay silent, but i won't lie.  i will paint this room with truth and leave the door open for anyone who wants to leave, or for anyone who wants to enter.


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some days her hand hurt or she had to paint the high up parts, where the walls met the ceiling - she'd hold her head in such a way to give her hand freedom and her neck would begin to ache from all that tension and staying still; she would catch herself holding her breath and mentally give herself a shake, physically give herself a stretch, climb back up on the stool or the ladder or the chair she'd been standing on, and continue on.  sometimes, though, she stopped, could feel her muscles giving in, could feel the exhaustion in her bones, and she washed the brushes and scrubbed her hands and later stood under a hot shower.


she always slept like a baby on those days.
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this morning: the sunday birds, dressed for church, midmorning breeze.  the cat up a tree.  paint under my fingernails.

claiming my name.

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