February 19th: The Sweet Release of Denise

I still feel the coil of your gray hair between my fingers. The oils grandmother used on our scalps drips down the part in your hair. I handle this earth with care for she is delicate. Oh how your brown skin hums melodies we cannot trace but remember; like the recipes we boil in pots.

My hands glide down silk arms light enough to wrap around my neck. Your strength transfers into a new vessel as I pick you up. You smile against my breast and we nest like two lovers reunited. I am familiar with this scene. You were me and we were meeting under the midwife’s reach.

I stare at my baby and pray I can give life to her. Take my life for her. But her might kept me here and her essence fills the morning air. I remember mother’s fingers in the coil of my hair, and I know who life has chosen.

A growing love

We are hopeful. The evening we kissed gave breath to love. Our lungs were weak with wonder, and our limbs were like jelly. We run and play in the warmth of this new life. Innocence keeps our eyes locked and we cannot see the danger that watches us. Lurking eyes dance over youthful lovers. Arms, coated in candy, hide sharp tongues and piercing teeth. But your arms never leave me, and I know that we are children no more.

Sunflowers seek out and face the sun. 

My love for sunflowers started when I was 8 years old. I saw one growing in the backyard. My mother said, “the seed must have followed the wind to our house.” I thought that was amazing; a sunflower seed flying in the wind and landing boldly in the center of our lawn. Throughout the summer, I saw its head raise to the sky and fall at night. I thought the sunflower was sad because the sun went away. This was hard for me to see: a bold, tall, and bright being with its head hung low.

The next week I sat at an art desk my mother bought me. I loved to draw and paint on the weekends when I wasn’t harassing my siblings. The sunflower with its head low was seared into my mind, into my heart. So I picked up my pencil and started sketching, and then I started painting. Mom walked past me after an hour and smiled.

“Why did you give the sunflower feet?” she asked. I picked up my paper with two sunflowers running toward the sun and walked to the window to look at the sunflower. Its head was high and its leaves dancing in the slight wind of the afternoon.

“This way it can chase the sun forever, mommy.” I laugh at this memory now. A child unknowingly drawing an image of herself.

Author and photo: M. Dels

Womb Smith

My Love,

       I see the phases of your life.  The waning and waxing of joy and strife.  And still I bathe beneath your aura, seeping love into my water. 

I hear the metal slice through wind.  The battle blood you spill on them.  And when your rage leaves you to roam, sheath your sword and come back home. 

For in my womb is war and wealth, and for you I will surely melt.  Form me under flame and fan.  I am the shield maiden of man.

Your Shield,

M. Dels