These are old poems, but they fit the prompt. They are both written in memory of my sister.Â This first one's a sestina.
Â I Shall Not See Her Again In This Light
In the beginning, it was like any other month,
but there were missing figures on the ledger where
the facts should have been. And her fingers
curled clumsily when she stretched to pull
the chain while turning on her bedside light,
which was needed to warm up from the rain.
November in Kansas still brings rain.
Itâ€™s funny that way, how the month
is still changing over to snow, and the light
fades to almost nothing. She wonders where
itâ€™s gone--her brain has a hard time trying to pull
up facts and sort reality with cold, cramped fingers.
And thatâ€™s just it. It was the tremor in her fingers
that betrayed her, not the limp or the rain.
Though my mother said it hurt like hell to watch her pull
her left leg around like a lame dog thatâ€™s been leashed for a month
to the back of the shed, baying at the moon, where
were the owners, couldnâ€™t they have left on a light?
By January, solstice returns the light
illuminating her bare head and boney fingers.
And the question of treatment no longer centers on where,
but how much more? We wonder if sheâ€™ll hold on until the rain
falls again in spring. We stop counting each month
and begin numbering weeks as we feel the moonâ€™s pull
strengthening its grip. We watch the pull
tab on her zipper pinch sagging skin leaving her light
headed and gasping. Itâ€™s the last month
I see her with moving lips and fingers.
From the south, clouds again move in to rain
on our cap-less heads as we wander aimless, to nowhere.
April holds no refuge. There is no where
to run to avoid this dizzying pain, the pull
to wrap up in fantasy falls like rain.
Each new day is one step closer to her celestial light.
She listens to father murmuring â€œHail Mary, full of graceâ€¦â€ as he fingers
his rosary, begging the Blessed Virgin to end this month.
Sunlight follows rain. And though she doesnâ€™t know where,
in this new month, she accepts the sempiternal pull
toward the light and spreads her arms and fingers.
This second one's a free verse.Â
Iâ€™ve had my ear to the rail forty-six days and counting.
Three yards up the line, my sister huddles,
waiting, same as me.
I jerk my head up,
study the horizon.
But, no, it is nothing,
perhaps the whine of an airplane overhead;
its contrail divides the sky in half.
My sister clears her throat.
In the alfalfa field small birds--
warbler and nuthatch--flit from stalk to stalk.
I lay my ear down once more.
The steel rail warm and soothing against my skin.
Its smoothness is like a sharp, sharp blade,
ready to slice a tomato.
Now I hear rumbling.
Under the palm of my hand, vibration.
With my head on the trestle,
I see a plume of white, smoky steam
unfurling in the sky.
A finger pointing,
but not at me.
The vibrato becomes a shuddering.
The grumble: a deafening roar.
horrified and immobile.
With a scream, the locomotive is upon me,
shaking me senseless like dice in a cup.
Yet it misses me,
as if I were invisible.
I sit up after the last car passes,
watching my sister as she sails away,
her brown hair laughing with the wind.
Farewell: For our final prompt, FWE asks for a farewell.Â Think of a past parting or give a fond farewell to Poetry for the Senses, but make it dramatic and appeal to the senses one last time.Â Â