The Woman in the Moon Face

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Image by Mona El Falaky from Pixabay

A pericarditis poem

Palpitations reverberate her ribs
Tremble. Thump. Squeeze. Tremble. Squeeze.
Staccato rhythms ricochet to her skull
Throbbing. Pulsating.
She awakens

Brain awash in a celestial haze
she levitates with caution
drifting to the vanity mirror
“Good Morning,” she sighs
to the Woman in the Moon Face

Half a year since the voyage began
Launched into orbit by an autoimmune flare
She tried to abort the mission
but there is no dousing
the combustion of chronic illness

Disease incarcerates her heart
Unrelenting gravity constricts her core
Shallow breaths through concrete
Each gasp measured
to preserve oxygen

Countenance circumnavigated by treatment
Her once lean expression
now eclipsed
Medications store plump reserves of blubber
encapsulating like a spacesuit

The image on her home screen taunts
A brighter, joyful time
Two years earlier
thin, carefree, euphoric
flanked by her sons beneath the Grecian sun

Averse to comprehend
this alien reflection
Reluctant to accept
the morphed figure as her own
The morning’s trek has made her weary

She retreats to her bed chamber
and dreams of normalcy

 

Basil, Babcock Peaches, and Salt Air

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I want to drown in the fragrance of my grandparents’ house.
To be enveloped by the aroma of Italian Santa Barbara.
The scents exist only in that corner abode.
I have searched,
but have been unable to find it anywhere else:
the bright bouquet
of basil, Babcock peaches, and salt air.

When they visit, their clothes, their blanched hair
possess the perfume.
I inhale,
take a deep breath-dose
before it begins to dissipate.

They’d rather be home among soothing saline breezes,
away from the harsh valley gusts.
Grandpa observes our weakling lemon tree
struggling to live in the choking clay dirt
and dreams
of his white-fleshed fruit trees thriving in black soil.

It’s what saved him — the earth — the doctors said,
after his stroke.
No nurse’s deep kneading,
mechanically flexing his limbs,
could match the therapy
of tilling his own garden.

My grandma eagerly anticipates
the gathering of pale peaches for pies
and the drying of basil for ragu.
She carefully cuts shoots for my mother,
who wishes to match the recipe,
to replicate a taste of her old home.
My grandparents once tried to bring their harvest,
but the delicate crop was too fragile —
spoiled by the drive.

Time remains remorseless in its passing;
Incessantly stealing the physical.
In return,
it bequeaths an inheritance of the senses —
tender remembrances
of basil, Babcock peaches, and salt air.


Originally published in @HumanParts @Medium.com

False Bravado

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I told a lie.

I told it multiple times.

I told it over and over. I told it ten times, one hundred times. If I told it once, I told it a thousand times. I must have said it a million times. I told it infinity times infinity.

I told a fib. I told a tall tale. I told a cock-and-bull story. I did a song and dance. I told a whopper.

I falsified information. I misrepresented the facts. I perjured myself.

I told a little white lie. I told a whole pack of lies. I lied down with dogs and picked up some fleas. I lied like a rug. I lied in wait. I lied in ruins. I lied at death’s door.

I told it with a look. I told it through my teeth. I told it with a smile.

I told it in a whisper. I mentioned it in casual conversation. I shouted it from the rooftops. I told it to the ends of the earth. I told it to the moon and back. I declared it to the heavens.

I put it mildly. I put it bluntly. I told it to the best of my ability. I told it with piss and vinegar. I told it with vim and vigor.

My lie was an all-out effort. It spared no effort. It was a last-ditch effort.

I told it at full strength. It was my main strength. It was my weakness. It did not know its own strength. It was my pillar of strength.

My lie kept the home fires burning. It was fired up. It was fired upon. It added fuel to the fire. It spread like wildfire. It fought fire with fire.

My lie was a force of habit. It was out in force. It was full force. It was forced down my throat. It was a force to be reckoned with.

My lie was idolized — customized — publicized. It vitalized — galvanized — agonized.

My lie has been an open secret. A trade secret. My lie has been safe with me.

I told it to my friends. I told it to my co-workers. I told it to my neighbors. I told it to my pastor. I told it to my family. I told it to acquaintances. I told it to strangers.

I told it to myself.

My lie has reached to the sky. It has been out of reach. It has reached its boiling point. Has it reached its conclusion?

If the truth be told, it’s the moment of truth. Can I handle the truth — the naked truth, the gospel truth, the honest-to-God truth?

Here’s the truth:
He died. He’s gone.

Here’s the lie:
I’m fine.


Winner of the @Medium writing prompt contest