Posted in poetry, TekoaManning, TM

Darkness and Light

I stumbled across this poem written many years ago and decided to post it.

It was covering every windowpane
Darkness
Thick and draped and full of dust
A scent of mothballs
A hint of myrrh
And along the hearth a candle burns
Dripping wax
Collected things adorned on nooks
Coat racks and cluttered clothes
Boards of oak along the floor
Spores of mold
And years of death
She reaches up to grasp the sheath
Releasing vision
Her eyes are hit with piercing glass
Shards of regret sting and burn
As the curtains flutter from the past
The sunlight scorches her pupil’s sore
She clenches her eyelids and feels such pain
If only the sun would erase the rain
She raises her hands above her head
And in a moment parts her lips to whisper
Praise
Oh, Ruach, please fill this space
Engulf this temple
Come and stay
She softly sings a precious hymn
About a King who came and bled
About a Light that raised from death
About a man who took the keys
Once more she bends the knee
Once again her fingers bleed
Take this cup!
She shouts at the moon
Take this heart!
For I fear it will never bloom
Take my seeds, and perhaps they’ll land
Not dusty ground or quickened sands
She talks to the little girl inside her soul
Heal my child, for you are to become whole
You know precisely what you must do
Allow the Son to light the moon
Alight your soul and let Him envelop your heart
And covenant stands when yet we fall
Upholding the truth
Upholding the law
She bathed until the waters were black and drained the tub of dirt and ash
She burned her garments and clipped her nails and after a month wedding bells
She cut her hair close to the scalp
She sighed through parted lips
The Father blessed her childbearing hips
Although not broad or birthing ready
The blood-stained thighs were now round and steady
She dried the ink that was stained with tears
And exhaled all the years of bent up fears
Away she flies through wind and rains
Her hair now long whipping her face
Her nails are polished; her bow is aimed,
Her strength cannot be bent and swayed
In Hurricanes and raging seas, her trunk is like the Palm of Deborah’s tree

Had she finally learned to bloom?
In a desert?

A vineyard grows along her fence line, and honeysuckles scent the breeze
Her head is glistening— shiny, silky tassels bud with orchids that dance in the moonlight
As she runs to His Light
And she smiles, and she finally sees her strength and knows she is beautiful
Yeshua smiles and tilts her head upward to His Face, and she sees that He has eyes the color of the heavens and a smile that awakens the dawn.
His power shakes the heavens and the earth
And His Voice calms the seas
And suddenly she no longer bleeds
“I have many scars,” she says. And He holds out His Wrist for her to inspect.
Me too, my daughter, me too.

Posted in Inspirational, poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM

Beauty for Ashes

I found this poem from last year and wanted to post it. Maybe you have felt the same things at times?

close-up photo of human eye with tear drops

I gathered all my strength and tried to raise up from the ashes. I held ashes in my hands and raised them up to Him
“Here, take these ashes– I screamed!”
“Give me beauty,” I belted.
I glimpsed at the altar of tears.
An ocean of bottles.
My breath trapped inside one container.

green glass bottles
I dragged one leg and limped to the throne room.
It was there that I mourned the loss of everything.
Every title
Every child I carried in the womb
Every house, home, and lineage
Every gift
Every friend
Every Judas
I broke open like an alabaster box and poured my soul on the bottom perch before the Lamb that had been slain.

white sheep on green grass during daytime
“Give me beauty,” I moaned.
His gentle eyes were piercing through me.
“Give me oil for this heaviness,” I wept.

I pawed the earth like a horse who’d been shot.
I scraped my boils with pottery and whispered a faint
“The Lord Adonai has given,
And He has taken away,
Blessed be the Name!”
“Baruch HaShem!”
I bound up my heart with bandages, and still, the blood ran
I opened the Psalms, and He told me I had forgotten how He parted the sea,
Spared me of death–
Covered my sins–
Bathed me and cut my umbilical cord.
How He covered me with His skirts and anointed me with oil.

person raishing his hand
Then suddenly–
I felt chains snap!
My wrist a bloody mess–
My hair unkempt–
My mouth in need of fiery coals from the altar.
Place them on my tongue, I plead.
When will you come again and pick me up and carry me off? From this vast wasteland?
He waited until I was 99 years old.
My dried up womb–
My dried up pen–
My dried up exhausted spirit met first fruits morning,
Then, Suddenly–
The sky opened up,
A fountain broke forth from the deep and poured healing waters over my head!
Baruch HaShem!
“Thirsting for God in Trouble and Exile.

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.

1As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?

3My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

4These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.

5Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.

6O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

7Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

8The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.

9I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

10As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

11Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 42, NASB).

person in front of waterfalls with double rainbow during daytime

bottles–Bhavyesh Acharya

Lamb–Sam Carter

tears–Aliyah Jamoushttps://unsplash.com/@aliyahjam

Water/ rainbow Jared Erondu

bloody wrist–Valentin Salja

Posted in Inspirational, poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM

Grace

cabin

The picture above is a cabin built out of refurbished wood from my grandpa and grandma Green’s home. It was built on their land, and I love it.
I entered this particular poem in a contest a few months back but did not win. However, I enjoyed writing it, and since my husband and I just moved into our new home, with the lights of Hanukkah shining brightly, it seemed like a good time to post it. I hope you enjoy it!

Even the quilts were tired here.
The bedraggled mattress sagged like an old man’s baggy trousers.
The tile floors were worn, and the grout had crept away little by little with every sweep.
The stairs hung like a sunken ship,
it’s stepping too exhausted to hold up feet.
The chairs, with their feeble legs, refused to offer any bones a place to sit.
The walls held each other in an embrace that looked like men coming home from battle.
One huff and one puff from the wolf would collapse the rooms like a cardboard box
still, the house hung on for dear life.
Rumples and cracks filled corners like spider webs.
The ceilings, with their age spots and vein lines, gave way to the constant dripping of tears that needed proper patching.
Pipes coughed up hairballs but never found the strength to feel a river run through them again.
The windows plucked their bushy eyebrows by shedding the moth-eaten clothes that covered their eyes. The sun had given up trying to shine through their glass panes coated in grime.
The front door hung on one hinge, swaying to the sound of the mulberry trees mournful refrains from the yard.
The foundation raised up in a few places, trying to gasp for a breath of strength but never falling back into place—stuck in passing.
The cupboards echoed with emptiness, no longer a place where little hands grasped the delicacies hidden on shelves.
No more little feet were running to greet its arms.
The shades closed their eyes, and the chimney stopped its breath.
And the dilapidated old house, board by board, was falling to its death.
The autopsy revealed it had died of a lonely heart.
One day some men came.
The house straightened his torso as best he could and attempted to hold the beams and the boards for the men’s girth and weight.
One young man looked familiar.
As if the walls held bits of his laughter,
Smudges of his fingers and words soaked in plaster
Yes, the house had felt his presence. He was sure of it now.
Another man yelled, “Shall we bulldoze it and throw the wood in the fire?”
Another mouthed, “Yeah, doesn’t look like there is much left here to savage.”
The house gathered all his strength and mouthed an exhausted, “no.”
The following week a young man in a truck took the bones and stacked each limb; even the stair rail was placed neatly in the bed of the pick-up.
“Where are you taking me?” the disjointed pieces asked.
Shiplap, and refurbishing the old with the new, and the tired house straightened its shoulders as each piece was nailed in place. Each limb was given a new anchor to hold.
Once again was heard the sound of tiny feet, a bark, a yell, a chimney sweep–music and laughter, and chatter galore.
The old house felt as useful here with his new friends as before.
The windows needed no scrubbing. The stairs were sturdy and straight, and the stars danced on the roof with the sound of rain.
It’s like a dream, thought the house as he looked around. Freshly coated paint and shiny new floors. No mildew, no spiders, no rotten floors. No broken-down bedding or sheets with stains and the old boards embraced the books on the shelf, the scent of babies and freshly baked breads.
Suddenly, the front door opened, sturdy and straight adorned with a brass knocker, and from the front yard, a new maple tree waved as the new owners invited their guests to enter the threshold.
“I love what you’ve done with the place! Using grandpa and grandma Green’s wood from the old homestead was a magnificent idea!”
And the chairs in the kitchen straightened their backs as the children sat down to enjoy a meal. The adults held their glasses up for a toast, “May peace, joy, health, kindness, and good fortune live here!”
And the house straightened his posture, and bowed his head and in appreciation said
Grace.

Posted in poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM

The Photograph

mom poem

It hung there like a branch on a tree.
The color?
It was more of a brown,
Like shoe leather and cream with orbs of splattered sunlight.
The timeworn camera had captured a split second of special.
We would call it a black and white photo today, but to suggest it had a quality of such would be illogical.
The little girl in the picture was very colorful, indeed.
Her eyes were sorrow-filled holes that bored into your soul.
Her hair was ringlet curls that hung draped in perfection, adorning her oval face.
No one could have noticed anything else in the photo—not the trees or the rose bushes or the sailor dress that draped her thin body.
Her eyes were too potent,
They pled for love, solace, or some form of healing.
They drank you in, mesmerizingly, till one could scarcely pull themselves away.
They held you
Captive.
Concealed in black and taupe were irises speckled in a blue of the palest sky.
Eyes of wonder.
The picture hung on the refrigerator,
A constant reminder that the white-haired woman with Parkinson’s disease,
The one who could empty a whole coffee cup within seconds by sloshing it on the floor was the same child in the photo.
A child who would later hold the title of my mother.

Posted in Kentuckiana Authors, poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM

Son Flower Seeds

sunny 2

She sopped me up like a piece of bread dipped in venison gravy
She said she tasted something wild even though I soaked it in vinegar
“It’s a tad gamey.”
she folded up three creases on her forehead and twisted her mouth unpleasantly.
“Buuuttt how?”
“I steeped like a teabag.
Why I submerged until my skin crinkled up like an accordion!”
She added more indentions to her scowl.
“It’s a prune, dear!”
“Dear,” sounded condemnatory.
She was no peach, but neither a prune.
I quickly sprayed Sunflower perfume on my skin,
And hoped she would get a whiff of it.
Her nostrils flared.
I absorbed her like a cotton ball full of astringent.
She got into my pours with her words.
It tingled in a cleansing manner.
Other words stung like a wasp.
I opened the window and shooed out those words.
Saving the witch hazel and rose water for my complexion.
“Can you catch it?” she said, looking somewhat concerned.
“What’s that?”
“Our words before they fly out of our fingertips or lips?”
“I’ve been trying to capture mine in a net and bathe them first.”
Interesting.
I started to speak but rolled it around for a bit.
It tasted like lemon drops–the letters forming words.
Sweet, yet sour.
Like a ball of snuff in my cheek, ready to drip out of my mouth.
“The bars of teeth are hard to keep locked down,” I said.
“The vapors get out.”
She bit her nail and looked worried.
“I let them out in a ball of fire, I fear.”
She chewed her index manicured digit.
“Well, if we remember to use SonShine Words, they fly out like orbs.
Glowing balls of light that penetrate clothing and even prune skin.
They inject medicine and cause hearts to come back from the dead!”
I shouted a little too loudly like a two-year-old.
“I like that,” she said–
“SonShine Words.”
“But now and then, I mistakenly let a lousy morsel or two get past me.
I ask myself, “Did I harm their character?
Did I make them look bad?
Did I send words soaring through the air sticking like wallpaper paste?”
“And what if you have?” she said with wide eyes of ginger, placing a hand over her mouth.
“Well, I gargle with Listerine!
I spit and wash and try again.”
I waited for the wasp sting but instead smelled a hint of rose water.
“Hmmm, I see.”
She seemed to like my response.
Only two creases showed on her forehead now.
I planted a field of Sunflowers, I said, sitting up straighter.
They can be contagious–attract bees as well.
They can take over a meadow.
Salty Seeds were spreading through the Wind.
She ran and got a burlap sack and untied it.
I’m knee-deep in Sunflower seeds!
“I had no idea!!
Had these hidden inside my bedroom closet.”
Her eyes now peppermint bark scented.
“They were a gift,” she beamed.
“Of course, they were!” I squealed with delight.
We danced and threw them in the air.

tekoa 6
Sunflowers

The wind wore high heeled shoes and rained seeds that day.
We held our mouths open, and a steady stream of water began to beat down.
Suddenly we were as Naphtali running through the hills.
Leaping on the mountains,
Springing into flight!

Artwork and poetry by Tekoa.

Posted in poetry, Tekoa, TM

Bruised Plums #240

bruising-after-getting-breast-implants

They were unpromising
Words grated like cheese.
Words reduced to small shreds.
Words strung like pasta.
Tossed like a salad
Thrown together with a pinch of thyme
And oregano
The other morsels were small.
Irritants
Acidic
Tomatoes, garlic, and onions
Barely noticeable to the tall ones
Their necks stretched out in the clouds.
They see the aged with grey hair as mere babies.
Standing in need of correction.
Their wisdom is tossed in the air like pizza dough.
Nothing tastes decent until it’s heated up.
They baked her in the oven with egg wash on her face.
Disgraced
My Father took a cloth and removed their lipstick.
It was bruised plum number 240
She barely noticed any longer.
She was singing songs in her head while their lips moved.
Dodi li va-ani lo, ha-roeh
Bashoshanium
Thinking of her husband’s mouth splattered in paint
Paintball guns blasting colors at different ones
With our tongues
Sweetened by the juice of a pomegranate
What if our hearts were exposed in our ribcage?
What if they glowed red with rage when angered?
And the whole world knew?
Or turned black when we had hate
And the whole room prayed
in tongues
Where would we hide from our colors?
Of green with envy
What if they turned pink like the sun setting when we felt loved
And loved our neighbors as ourselves.
What if we all leaped over the hills
Dancing among the lilies
With our Beloved
Who washes our bruised plums?
Until
Our hearts are glowing amber.

Posted in author, poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM

Hate is?

blog hate

Hate is like a piece of yeast.
It permeates and puffs up with satisfaction
It says, “I am right!”
I hold truth!
I carry all knowledge!
I will rebuke!
It wipes its mouth with a napkin
And still the juice runs
Hate dripping off chins
Spilling over into diaper bins
And storefront shelves
Magazine covers,
Fake news
Hatred from the SAME WOMB.

What words will we choose?
To
Soak
In
Kerosene
And engulf in flames
A big ball of detestation
Abomination

Hate picks apart a man born of a woman
It pins labels neatly on their chest
Or even discusses the cup size of her breast

Hate inspects with microscopes
And pulls apart the chambers of one’s heart
And looks for dirt
It gladly finds a few choice particles and cries
AHA!
And holds it in its fist
Towards the one who created the dust and says,
LOOK!
See what I found
IN THEM.
As if Yah could not see the grease and sludge pumping through our wings

Hate never brushes its teeth.
It calls throughout the streets
Looking for flaws in people

She’s too skinny
Too white
Too black
Too blue
Too conservative
Too liberal
That dress won’t do

New age
Snowflakes
Ignorance is bliss
You Baptist
You Messianic
You Stinkin
Methodist

You Muslim
You Kabbalist
You
Fat
Rich
Jew,
You Whore
You Bastard
You Pompous
Proud
Fool!

Hate is a Parade
Noisy and loud
Marching proudly down streets
Getting the attention of everyone it meets
Hate invites us to wear white
And enter buildings where good people go
As we stretch out our pocketbooks on the front row

Hate is quiet
It’s silence during a time of applause
It can’t stand or clap for those whom it hates
It can’t even acknowledge
A floral bouquet
Why is that?
Might the one we hate smell better than our scented stew?
Oh hate, please take a look at YOU!
Might their floral arrangement
Blossom
and
Bloom
With more color
More fragrance
More honey
More
bees?
Oh, hate let love bring you to your knees!

Hate will try and cover the good that we do
Hate twists its lips while it shifts with its eyes
Hate acts as if it has nothing to hide

Hate passes the poor in the poverty rich streets
And whispers I am better than thee
They did it to themselves
It’s their own damn fault
And hate tightens its purse
Its wallet won’t belch
It wraps its wool scarf around its stiff proud neck

Hate cannot waste even a dribble of spit
It doesn’t even move its teeth
To celebrate
Another’s life
It loves jealousy,
envy
and strife

Hate has seeped into our pores
Even in the silence
It snores
Loudly in the stillness
Hovering in the dark
Hate cringes at one single scented spark
Of love

It whispers words
Green tainted
Streaks
Soaked into our walls
Encased with Leprosy
As hearts are searching for one
Single
Tiny
Mistake
To
Grasp
And splatter across the front page
And why?
For the sake of making us taller?
Better
Holier
Than thou?
As if we had all the answers
Like Job’s best friends
As if we could enunciate His Name
And pretend
To have His
Dust on our shoes
As if we were the one who ran to the tomb
On resurrection morning

Hate invites
It makes a request
Come, join in the gossip
Slander
The ‘those people’ salute
No, I think I’ll pass this time
I’m going to the juke
I’ll Smoke another cigar
Pray with a sinner at the bar
For the hatred has spread even among the ones
Who
Say
God
Loves
You and me!
And when we bow in front of heaven
And we smile, and we say
I am not like them
I am better, you see?
More righteous
More holy
More pure
And our lips part to utter
Words

Empty
Painted
Words
Floating up
Laced with snuff
A Lingering
Garbage dump of
Words shut up in our bones
rotting

Let us stop
May we
Inspect our own fruit
May we inspect our love?
And the weight thereof
Weighing it against the hate that’s still pumping through our veins
And wash
And submerge
In the waters of the muddy Jordon
And allow Him to scrub us clean
And echo His Words
The one who bled and died
For
ALL
The wombs that ever came forth
And inhaled Eden
Or crossed the Reed Sea
And left Egypt for a mouth
Flowing with milk
And honey!

Oh, Love come and save us from our lips,

And burst forth like the light of Sabbath rising over the hills.

into our parched hungry souls.

Help us to become

Whole

Echad.

 

Posted in author, contest, poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM

Candy Apple Leaves

Yellowed candy apple leaves floated down the skies and melted into the grassy brown earth.
The wind sang in her ears.
It shrieked with delight, whipping and twirling more leaves, causing them to dance a forceful Allegro!
The sun crackled from a fire on the horizon, and her heart drank in winter like a warm chimney puffing softly in the folded hills that seemed to request snow.
Their bareness needed a covering.
Who made a storehouse for the snow?
It was the same one who opened the water spouts.
The same one who filled the womb.
His breath had filled everything with LIFE, and He was tossing up dead leaves to the wind.
She wrapped the scarf around her cheeks and felt guilty for loving the sandy beaches that left the soles of her feet as warm as her heart that burst at the sound of the ocean’s voice, which was louder and grander than the greatest sound she had ever heard– minus the cries of her son’s taking their first breaths.
His VOICE!
He was born in November and tossed with gold. A grandson named Truth.
Such wonders untold.
Holding life in the palms of her hands.
Letting go of dead things.
Sweeping leaves up from her floor into heaps to burn.
Watching the faces of her son’s dream a dream, and seeing it come forth from the bitter bare hills of nothing.
Could something so warm be born in the month of Cheshvan?
Could a flood of water pour over her and her seed?
Although her legs felt like dead trunks, suddenly, she could leap like a prima donna assoluta.
The sky opened its gates, and the birds all gathered in place.
They were as white as the snow that had started to fall in a steady rhythm.
The sound of stringed instruments and a fragrance of cassia, myrrh, and cinnamon bark dripped from the trees, and they began to bud with new leaves in the midst of winter.
Almond buds like cherry tree blossoms weighted down the arms of the trees, and she glided ever so softly into His hand, and He carried her to a quiet place.
“Rest my child,” He said, and this time she was obedient and did.

leaf yellowleaf

Posted in poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM, Uncategorized

Off the Grid

grid

I want to go off the grid.

My mouth and fingers away from the eyes of a button marked click like, love, unlike.

A thumbs up.

An emoji that cannot equate the feelings in the heart created by Our King.

I want to go off the grid.

Away from the scrolls and scowls of the minds of men.

A million eyes stare back at me–

And I at them . . .

Go to a place—a space–

Where I am more than the Clichés and quotes, I post or link.

A place where I am me.

Free.

Learning.

Leaping.

Where my words are not shuffled and played like an accordion.

Where I am not judging selfies or scholars, or blue collars.

Where politics cease to exist.

Where religion is mute.

And the horns of the greatest are no more than a toot compared to HaShem and His shofar rebuke.

I want to hideaway.

Go off the grid.

We are all just broken men.

I must go off the grid.

Where a paintbrush sings in my hand.

Not to be applauded by man but by Him who gave me the gift.

Where I learn from the bread, I don’t eat.

The water I don’t drink.

To lower my camel and water the sheep.

To rise up as Gimel and still be small.

Like a dish with a chip–

Like soap dried suds–

Like waves of grain and sands of shores.

Like Dalet to an open door.

I must leave the grid and hold up my arms.

Like Moshe and rocks’

Oh, send me friends like Aharon and Chur.

Friends that bend an ear and whisper a prayer from a heart filled with doves.

I must fling–

Off of the screen!

When the cup overflows, and it’s not due to holes.

A sieve in a heart.

A snuff of dark or gilded thread to uncover the dead.

Casting a pole into the water.

Catching fish without dollars–

or signs,

or a title,

or a tale.

The sound of the birds and the trees that clap their hands.

The rocks cry out, and the mountains sing,

but I can’t even hear the buzz of a bee while sitting here looking at you from the face of a button–

A television.

A computer screen.

I need to go off the grid and write for my soul.

Touch the grass barefoot- the freshly fallen snow.

Drink the honey and eat the comb.

Samson leaves a Lion dead on the side of the road, and the old prophet requests to dine—stay and eat, he says, but I think I’ll pass.

On the side of the road lies the dead next to a donkeys ass

And a lion guards the way.

No, I’ll not eat with you today.

I must go off the grid.

“He went and found his body thrown on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the body; the lion had not eaten the body nor torn the donkey. So the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back, and he came to the city of the old prophet to mourn and to bury him. He laid his body in his own grave, and they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” After he had buried him, he spoke to his sons, saying, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. “For the thing shall surely come to pass which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria.” 1st Kings 13:28-32 NASB.

Photo by me 🙂

Posted in poetry, Tekoa Manning, TM, Uncategorized

Pink Cotton Candy

Image result for cotton candy

“There’s always a time to shine,” she said, curling her bottom lip.
“You need to let the light shoot out of your hair like cracked eggshells covered in glistening white yolks.”

Sparkles.

I pictured her hair standing up all over her head, illuminated and glistened like the moon draped over an armchair or a starfish on fire.
She looked up at me compellingly.

“What are you thinking?”

But before I can answer her, she continues . . .

“I like to take out my pastel pink shirts on these occasions when I feel shiny. It reminds me of cotton candy and the summer of 1972— or a breezy blouse that’s indigo blue.

“Whattaya think?’

She twirled around, showing me her new outfit.

I frown and reflect on the dozen black shirts hanging in a row on one side of my closet. Even the hangers looked tired and exhausted from holding them up. The other side has a smaller colorful section that used to hang off my thinner, more active body.

She looks up again with a glazed expression.
“Sometimes on rare occasions, I braid my hair like a fishtail and sit on a rock by the river.”

“Over there . . .”

She points down the hill past the briars and the thorns and the medicine.
“It’s best to go just before the Sun begins to bursts forth like Samson stretching and yawning his head full of fire.
The fish move their mouths above the glassy waters.
Do you like water?”
She said it as if I might be thirsty.

I’m always thirsty.

I try and answer her.

“Yes, sometimes the sea calls my name and the ocean crashes into my bed and pulls me upstream.”
I look down at my black shirt and notice a butterfly light on my shoe–just the corner of my flip-flop.
Its vibrant blue and the palest yellow.
“Did you see it?”
“See what?”
“Never mind.”
I sigh long and hard and stare at her ginger brown hair woven into the sun.
I cut my hair with a paring knife and a dull pair of scissors.
Choppy.
Suddenly, I feel gloomy despite her pink shirt and the trace of Dianthus on the wind, and I try and think of a song or something cool to say, but nothing comes to me.
I force it.
“Remember when we were nineteen? And you used to walk to the corner store with me to play Pac-Man. We’d eat ice cream and go to your house and play your Grease, Zeppelin, and Meatloaf albums until dark . . .”
It was 1982.
I wait for the spark and the engine to fire.
And then her hair lit up her smile, and the butterfly lit on my arm, just as she motioned with glee.
“I see it,” she says finally.
“You need a butterfly.”
“You need to shine.”
Suddenly I feel duller than the scissors I’d used the night before, like a sparkler that goes out on the 4th of July.
Her perfect white teeth look like choir boys rehearsing for an audition. She was forever telling me what “I needed.” As if she held all the answers.
“You need a black shirt,” I say rather curt with my nose crinkled up.”
“Just a hint of sorrow would be refreshing.”
Now the light coming from her had sizzled.
Her hair turned mossy brown, and her eyes faded.
Was I to blame?
I fold up my lips and tell her that the earth has eaten the trees, and we’ve killed the honeybees, and the oil has spilled into the Sea.
“Aren’t you starving for something tangible?”

She laughs hysterically.

“Darling you’ve always been gloomy and extreme.”

I cup my hands that are now suddenly full of oil and swath my hair in it. I pick up my shoes and then barefoot run through the thorns licking up the straw-like grass, and throw myself into the river. It’s alive, and suddenly I can breathe.

I am the sea.

“Oh Abba, Mikvah me!”
The moon gleams from the now darkened heavens.
The waters tremble, and then the fish light up like light bulbs in the dark.
They’re as green as a cucumber salad.
I come shooting up out of the river like a sea creature. I’m covered in gold dust, and the waters turn pastel pink like cotton candy.
It tastes good on my skin.
I drink it in like pomegranate juice.

She yells something incoherent and then runs down the hill past the briars and the weeds. Her pastel shirt snagging on a shrub. Out of breath, she dips her foot in the pink waters that match her blouse.
“Are you thirsty?” I ask.
Her fishtail braid falls to one side of her shoulders, and with a just hint of candidness, she whispers.
“Parched”
And then she jumped into the deep.”