Monday, September 17, 2018

The Niche

On September 18th, four years ago, incurable cancer became a part of our story. I had to write about it in order to cope. Writing felt like the air I needed to breathe.

On September 8th, only one year ago, the remains of my beloved mother were sealed inside a niche in a columbarium at Glendale Cemetary in Washington. It had been eight months since her death.

At the time, I couldn't write about this.

I have been bereft and I have been silent.
I would like to try to find my way into a new space of writing. I'm not sure what that will mean, but I do hope those of you out there in the world that follow this blog and keep me and my family in your thoughts will stay with me.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Eureka Lake Road

September’s fields of tall, crisp stalks
are like dry soldiers martyred by harvest—
Their innards, tender and warm produce
reveal robust kernels or rot—
the industry of cutworms, beetles, borers.
Tassels are fingered by hurried youth
unloaded from yellow, sticky buses
their bundled glands pumping sweat
into drenched long sleeves and socks.

At the lake, the basin is scorched,
undressed by drought.
Groups of family geese with black necks
and white cheeks stagger across the
cracks in the mud bed and huddle as they honk.
Their chests and bellies protrude,
hovering over the dried membranes of their feet.
They will decide to go—take flight
in their groups. Yet it is one single thought.

Creeks have withdrawn unto themselves.
The industry of mice and rabbits becomes
precarious as the hawks glide above,
dropping wide black shadows
across tan trimmed lawns
and hot pavement—a road with death,
where the skunk and squirrel corpses
have already been pillaged.
The throats of the hawks are ready,
their feathers tickled by the air.

Monarchs have lived among the milkweed
in the warmth of the summer.
Now those of the last brood dash over the road;
they dart, flutter, whisper, shout.
Their sunset wings become daring
with thick lines of black warning.
An ancient pulse within them bellows—
It is time for migration.

I am reminded of a Black Swallowtail
I found clinging to pebbles at the cemetery—
her white-dotted body
leaning under the weight of her
large and delicate arms of darkness.
I touched her blue band on her hind wings
and she stayed with me until her final fright
and she leapt away.

It is said that butterflies are a resurrection,
hope, the soul.

I yield unto what I do not know.

-Leah Herzing