The Woman in the Moon Face

moon-1560232_1920

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

IMG_1238

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

gorilla-loroparque-blackwhite-112108-h

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

Confessions of an Autoimmune Disease

1038231-1024x768-wallpaper-114

Wake up,” I whisper, “I am here.”

In the bowels of the night, I launch my ascent.
Methodically, I commence the courtship.
My breath permeates her muscles.
My tentacles nestle in her joints.
Every sinew, every corpuscle, every ounce of flesh, entwined in my embrace.

She feels the subtle tingle amplify; vibrating deep and low.
It disturbs her slumber.
She is restless, but not awake,
Not yet.
I relish the thrill of her hovering between dreams and affliction.

Steadily, I escalate the intensity.
Her nerves spark and buzz with my electricity.
Soon, she will experience my unyielding static of discomfort.
She will forsake sleep.
She will find no rest.

She’ll be alert, but exhausted.
Achy and fragile.
Others might mistake me for a trivial virus.
But not her.
She recognizes my caress.

Sometimes, she is able to foretell my visitations.
She understands my predatory appetite is triggered by an inclement day or the howling wind.
She knows stress will summon my lust.
I’m not culpable during those times.
There is no one to blame.

I prefer, however, to catch her unawares.
To appear without anticipation.
How dare she plan!
I delight in the startled sorrow
The deliberate dampening of spirit.

I enshroud her in a haze of weariness.
If I remain long enough, she’ll not remember life without me.
I confuse her perceptions. I confound her aspirations.
She’ll want to soldier on.
She’ll long to collapse and be cradled.

I’ve chosen not to display the telltale signs of my presence.
Her joints are not gnarled. Her skin is unblemished.
She should be grateful.
No one sees how I persistently pulse within her.
Disturbing her peace just enough to make her distrust her sanity.

She tries to dull me with medication.
To drug and delay my assault.
But each day, my resistance builds.
I bide my time
While the pills, the injections, wreak their own collateral damage.

She is my everlasting dominion.
I am her parasitic possession.
She endures.
I prevail.
There is no tomorrow without me.

Why does she fight?
Why won’t she relinquish control?
Can’t she taste the sweetness of surrendering to my suffocation?

I am her beast.
She is my paramour. My concubine.
She comforts in my stranglehold.
I mask her true identity.
I am her real self.


Originally published on @Medium.com