My mother’s lipstick

Several months ago, Casey repainted our bedroom–the last of the rooms to receive a fresh coat since he built this house more than a dozen year ago.

We agreed/he surrendered to a faded, earthy shade of rose.

And it’s been my pleasure–a daily dawn & dusk meditation–to notice to subtleties that arise in the changing light–from morning to night–autumn to winter–and now into spring.

Sometimes it’s too peachy or too pink, other times it’s more a creamy-rosy-mocha, like the lipstick my dark-eyed, dark-haired mother used to wear (before she went blonde), or the shade of a top that lent itself beautifully to her equally dark complexion.

Over the year, I’ve lightened the curtains from fawn to sea glass to alabaster in an attempt to better commune with the walls.

It may all be too soft come summer.
Or just right.

The light will tell.

Love, Part II. Portal

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Faulkner

Mile marker 69 and the portals open, sensing the proximity of the past.

One by one the memories come, like waves, leaving bits and pieces of story behind, like broken shells.

“No wonder everyone drinks here,” I say, at mile marker 63, feeling the undertow of my youth.

Who decides which memory comes?

Is there some alchemy of sky and scent and age?

If I took your hand in mine, would we jump?

Could we survive?

MINE

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Timothy Parker, all rights reserved, 2013.

I lie (asleep?) in a room full of beds…
A man (my uncle?) slips under the covers behind me.

Pulls me close?
Presses into me?

Is this a memory? A sensation?
Did I watch it happen to another?
Was the other, me?
Is she 4, 7, 11, 13?

I see the dark wood floors. The white ceiling. The door frame. The handle.
The hallway. The bathroom. The white porcelain tub.
The water running. My aunt in her nightgown.

The narrative remains unclear, but the ache in my sacrum is strong.
A pulsing. A defense. An outrage.

THIS IS MY BODY!

I lie on the carpeted floor. Knees drawn to chest. Feet pressing against my assigned partner. My job in this first chakra exercise is to push away, to claim, to say:

MINE!

But my voice, typically strong, cracks. Breaks apart.
I am struck by the absence of my own belonging.
Embarrassed.
Disrobed.

I return to explore my first chakra with the help of my therapist. Recover this violation. The foggy narrative.
Then narrow in on a clearer intrusion: spanking.

At 51, it’s hard to fathom that this trauma could still be lodged in my body. It was among the first that I consciously released with the assistance of healing practitioners some twenty years ago.

In fact, in my mid-thirties, I sat in this very cafe, drinking hot cider and enjoying a roll with jam, while writing the poem that claimed my body as MINE.

I’ve since lost my taste for sugary things, and now prefer everything bitter.
And yet, here I am, revisiting the same pain, in the same place, with espresso.

I sense the energy, once locked inside my sacrum, drain down my legs into the earth. It moves in slow currents like the flow of water beneath the ice on the river beside me.

Beyond the river is a mountain.
It defines and nourishes my view.
My strength.

MINE.