Thoughts of Sofia

I dropped you off at school today

We conversed on the way about imposter syndrome and the implications

I went off about my past employers and other such folk who seemed to deride a certain pleasure in feeding off of insecurities

Maybe I went on excessively, because you asked how long I planned on talking

I have a habit of soapboxing I suppose

We pulled up to the school and you let yourself out

I watched you walk away and resisted the temptation to shout out an embarrassing “Bye Sofia!!!”

Your introverted self would have been mortified

As I drove back home I found I was starting to sob. I caught myself because one must see to drive safely

I choked back those burning tears that had come rushing out with my sudden surge of emotion

You see, I was just thinking about how beautiful you are.  Your mind, your lovely compassionate soul, and your sweet little twelve year old, going on 20 face.

Turned up nose, cupie doll mouth, and dark blue eyes.

Only you don’t know it. You probably never will. I tell you sometimes anyways. I will continue to do so

I don’t want you to be conceited or anything like that

I just want you to realize all this beauty you possess- to never doubt the wonder of your precious femininity and inherent worth

I want you to understand that such beauty is a gift

And gift that it is, it must be given and shared

Reciprocated simply by living in gratitude and loving others

Recognizing and respecting the gift that also dwells within them

I want you to understand that there are those that will despise such beauty

And that you must never allow this gift to be disguised as something it is not or shut away by those who recognize it for what it is, but covet it  and seek to pervert it to something else instead

You see, if you cannot first recognize your own beauty, you cannot protect it and you cannot help others recognize and protect their own

I suppose all parents may feel this way. And without a doubt, I know Our Lord must too

How God must glory in the beauty of his creation

And how he must mourn at its degradation

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Reconciliation

I am sorry for those who never knew the want for tear

Who never yearned to make the long rips and ignite the nest of debris surrounding them

To set the world ( as we know it) aflame and walk away

Never even turning around to watch it burn

I am sorry

Sorry if it seems so frightening now

I don’t want you to be scared

And I would give you peace

As for myself

It has been a time of static brumation

And realizations late in life

For one who was always slower than most

Discovering that such unhealthy longings were tied in (like cancer round an organ) to something true and good

And of course it took The Great Surgeon to lovingly, expertly, start to separate the two

And He did, and He does

And now I know that even deep in my own depravity-there was gift

For though I feel the labor pains of this lost world

And suffer in watching my brothers and sisters double over in pain

Subjects to the painful contractions of the earth our bodies are tied to

I can also smile through the suffer, I can dance through the hurt

Because I know my true mother

Because I know my soul’s home

And I have spent a lifetime longing for the purge

And even as this world begins to fade and pass away

Curling in at the edges

Like an old photograph in the flames

The veil shimmers and I can see the rosy glow of that new life to come

From without, from within, shed this life, we shed this skin

After the burn, we will begin

The reconciliation of ourselves

Back to Him

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For my grandmother

Beverly

You could be in fields of flowers endlessly

Where quietly you found your peace while the world’s wars waged on

Bit by bit, like falling leaves-the prejudice, the petty things

Old hurts and pride just dropped away as you prepared to meet your king

That little girl

So lost and scared

That grew up with her cross to bear

Became a woman, a wife, a mother

With much more to protect

Beverly

You loved so fierce

A hurricane across the sea

A love like that has casualties

Yes love, I’m afraid there were some casualties

Some damage along the way

But in the eye, one could find rest

Blue skies with ones she loved the best

And tenderness

The softer heart of one who has known loss

The love you gave

Tried to give

The cards, the cakes, the Christmases

Summers at the beach, salt water taffy gifts

Virginia cabins and grilled cheese

I’ll keep it all with me

I’ll keep it close to me

And as for all the rest

It doesn’t matter now

It’s time to lay these burdens down

So we’ll let it go

Like you let go

And take that easy yoke

And all those hours in-between

Half awake, half asleep

Who dares to say what dreams did come

And who did speak your name

The one who loved you best?

Yes, I believe it was

For as precious as you are to me

More precious to him you will always be

And always, always were

Our love can be so complicated

Life gets messy and low

But in the end we see how simple it always was

Yes Beverly,

In the end we know

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Better than


Beauty , joy, gratitude- can creep in so subtlety
Whisps and tendrils brushing feet and face
Wrapping slowly around
Breathed in until it fills lungs and heart
Squeezing almost painfully
Sharp tenderness
Catching breath
Slow exhale


Or conversely, it slams you square in the solar plexus
Sudden impact                                Filling with more than what could ever be without              Powerful-with the rounded force of a softball launched from the heavens
The soul responds with concavity
Creating a space around the inflection points


However, my favorite, is a combination of the two
A fiery meteor almost frozen in time
I watch it approaching slowly-a tidal wave towards the shore
My feet are frozen in the sand
And I open my arms to this beautiful fury of emotion
The steel blue burn radiates out from where I am pushed in against myself Suffocating beneath the heavy rapture
A slow burn begins and I am torn
This tearing- so akin to grief that my encompassing joy feels like the deepest of sorrows. A sword piercing my heart
As the sobs of joy wrack my body, I understand a bit of The Passion and the ecstasy of Saints.

And for the briefest of moments, I  see that trace of God, like the tail of a comet Beauty so great, so vast, my mind must let it slip away. But I am allowed to keep the memory- an outline of a burning ring of fire I  see the shadow of him all around , all around in everything And even as the great ocean recedes, a longing surges within to be pulled in with it I know one day I will , a happy cast away And that knowledge brings back the joy

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A child’s photograph

I love the kind of pictures little children take. A stuffed animal, half of someone’s face, a stick, or a pillow on their bed. These are their little treasures: an aspect of life as seen through their eyes. These photographs capture the hidden beauty of the everyday objects surrounding and provide comfort to them each day. It is a gallery of a child’s world and I find these seemingly haphazard photos to be most precious and as individual as the child which takes them.

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Ride

It is a rare occurrence that I get to take a ride in my car alone. When I do receive this privilege,  it is always my time to listen to my music. I have a cool folder in the car’s computer that contains my “Favorite ” songs. The list is rather long and contains music of all sorts. The songs evoke a broad spectrum of emotions and memories and it is the most sublime therapy to listen with my window down and the air conditioner ( or heater) on. Unfortunately,  there never seems to be a ride long enough to listen to the full gauntlet of songs. I am always a bit saddened when I pull into my driveway with a song half way through. It somehow feels like a therapy session where I am pouring my heart out when all of a sudden, the therapist takes out his watch and says” Oooo sorry! We are out of time. We’ll have to pick up next session! Toodles!”. Hurtful to say the least.

So though I am not a fan of winter, I am rather grateful that the weather will be cooler soon. I shall take my MP3 player/ portable therapist, and go on very long jogs. When I get to the end of the trail, if I am not yet drained of my emotion and thoughts along with the rest of my body, I can simply take off again down another trail. Letting my mind mimic the forest paths as I twist and turn into shadow and then slip back into brilliant light again. Surrounded by green as I am surrounded by sound and solitude.

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My silence

Silence

As you speak of injustice, of injury, of political offfense

I am silent

As you point out the oppressors

Exacting judgment and excluding mercy and compassion

I do not wish to detract from those profoundly relevant, profoundly sad, profound wrongs against humankind

And when you scream at the cruelty of forced birth

The wrong of unwanted life in a cradle created for protection even as the protector has rejected the cause

I am silent

Because when I do speak up, you shut down.

You don’t want to hear about my silence

In that cold room where no one made eye contact, conversation. Where no one gave a damn. Just a form and a monetary exchange. Silence.

Six weeks, six minutes. Over.

I went to a party that night, told the father.

He said he was sorry. I said not to worry about it. I wasn’t.

I wasn’t then.

Or the second time

My mother took me then. We laughed about whose baby it was. Because I wasn’t sure until then. We laughed.

Six weeks. Six minutes. Over.

But what if?

What if someone had not been silent?

What if someone had shown me the beauty of what I carried? The life within.

Shown me that small heatbeat, fluttering like a bird. The way they show you when you want your baby. When pregnancy is celebrated.

What if someone had told me they would be there, to guide me, to help me along the way?

What if someone had given me the choice?

Would I have chosen? Would I have chosen to birth, to love, to cradle my children, my lost ones, my babies?

Would I still be rocking them instead in empty arms, my eyes burning with tears they never were able to cry? Still carrying their DNA even though I chose not to carry them?

Naming the un-named. My unspoken children. No graves, no ceremony, no anniversaries for their deaths. Just silence.

To all the world, like they never were at all.

But they were. They existed. They were mine.

And you keep on and on about choices.

While you never give her a choice at all.

What is a choice in a cold room, with folded pamphlets and anonymity?

What is a choice when all the relevant information is withheld? Are you protecting her from truth? Truth is always revealed sooner or later

Twenty years later perhaps

When it slaps you in the face as you cradle the child you chose to have and suddenly realize you killed their sister, brother.

Had them ripped, limb from limb. As you hear the tiny pop of each joint inside your mind. Reverberations of the past.

There is my truth, there is my choice, there is my freedom.

Little bodies in the trash. Their images are considered cruel to show while the slaughter of animals is shown as an educational tool

Hypocrites

And the ones who would stand up for the unborn, for the could be mothers, for us.

They are silent.

Relegated to the parking lots across from where the innocent are murdered and the victims are twofold.

Standing with their signs. Depicted as aggressors as they quietly pray.

Praying for you, praying for me.

Keep your rosary of my ovary.

Passersbys scream in rage, hurl objects, furious at their peaceful protest

Like only they have a right to educate, to dictate what freedom is, what pain is, what tyranny is

Violence begets violence. Always has, always will. One act of violence cannot heal another.

I know that you don’t know.

I know you are doing what you believe is best

I forgive you

But understand my silence.

Understand that your choices are painful for me. Maybe understand that truth, full truth, full knowledge has to be included in choice.

Understand that years later, what seemed be the only choice now to a frightened, ignorant girl, woman-may be an impossible choice later on.

That the unborn child that seemed to be the end of everything at the time, can become the beginning of beautiful. Given the chance, given the choice.

Understand that the consequences of a child living and a child that was killed, brutally, never even given a chance to be held, loved, looked at, buried- are what a woman, a man, a family lives with or without. Forever.

I am not alone. I am joined by millions upon millions in this painful silence.

I am not alone. I wish I was

And I wish, I wish, I wish…

But there is only silence.

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Damage

Damage is a funny thing

How it trickles and pools into every aspect of your being, your life

Like an infestation, crowding in the dark places

Scattering to the crevices and cracks when the lights are turned on

But always ready to creep back out in the quiet still of night

Damage does not respect the boundaries of the recipient

Rather, it uses connections and lineage like a deep root system

Permeating relationships and soaking into offspring like a malignant mental cancer

After all, the source of damage cannot be defined in self

It is a legacy of our very beginnings

Passed on and on through time and history

And if we, the individual, make a choice to eradicate, to attempt to heal the cracked and broken places inside

Our remedy will seep and flow in much the same manner as the damage, but it cannot kill the blight altogether

It can only staunch the flow from one

It is up to the others, the tainted, the tinged, to lead the cure through

To milk it on to the next

Free will must make a choice at each checkpoint or the blot will continue to spread.

Still, if we, you, I-can just take a bit of that tidal wave of hurt away

Make it ebb in slight recession

It is worth the cost

The price of forgiveness

Paid once by one

May now be given by all

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Entrench

In the muddy trench that we have dug

Where we lie low together

I know I’m not alone

But vanity of vanities

That death buzz deep inside of me

Suffocating monotony

And ricochet of day to day

I am here alone

I raise my head in desperate plea

Where above me there are golden strings

Like spider webs, glistening

Pulsating in arterial melody

Mary beads of hope

And if I turn myself around

And reach my hands up to their sound

Pulling blue sky heaven down

I can strum along

It is orchestral, symphonious, operatic in its majesty

And when I hear that harmony, I know I’m not alone

All this suffering, this sacrifice-we are not alone

So I turn back around, to pull you up into the sound

And find you lifeless on the ground

Face down in your despondency

And as quickly as it is realized

My fear is made reality

I want to believe that I too will die, that without you I’m undone.

And I am

Undone from zip to fingertips

But I know I will go on.

When all hope is lost and all is dark

I will still go on

I will hold you close and breathe you deep

And then I will go on

Vanity of vanities! I am all alone.

“We are all in this together, we are all in this alone.”*

In this muddy trench that we have dug

None of us alone

*Pierce Pettis-Just Like Jim Brown

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A poem for my mother

La Chinita

Dark haired girl, dark eyes stare out to the sea

But she could not see

Here on her little island, high upon this hill

Where you can almost see everything

Thunder rolling in the future

Her future

So many miles away

A hundred miles away from everything

A hundred miles across the sea

 

Dark eyes, soft eyes close against the warm breeze

Warm against brown skin, warm on tiny shoulders

Her little bare shoulders-so small and so free

Free from the weight that they will bear,

Barely able to bear it

They will still bear it

But for today, she has her island, her home, her family

And, the sweetest face, the softest cheek teaching her to Hail Mary.

Hail Mary! You too knew tragedy.

Yes, none knew it better than you.

 

La Chinita runs back home

Home to Abuelita, to brothers, to Papi, to Mami

Home, to where arms will reach and hold her close

And gently lay her down to sleep

She sleeps in peace

Holds the days in memory

These days and nights before the journey

Her journey across the sea

Where she will wait. And wait and wait.

Sent so far to keep her safe.

 

 

But little girl will only know that she is scared, she is alone

And foreign eyes will look on her, but little girl they will not see.

While in the night, she cries and cries

Cries for her island, her home, for her family.

Still child, be still

Across an ocean of time she may hear me

And know that I see her, there in the night

So I whisper her comfort of things to be

 

La Chinita, listen.

You must wait a long, long time, for them, for me

But you won’t wait forever

This won’t be forever.

And you will be loved forever.

And one day, someday- your little island will be free

 

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