I hadn’t a clue what to say, what to write about. I tried looking at writing prompts at the NaPoWriMo website and at Writer’s Digest. Both prompts — an elegy and a roundelay, respectively — seemed unnecessarily difficult considering there are only six more days before April and NaPoWriMo end.
But as poetry is wont to do, it came. And in an elegy, no less.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. – Isaiah 6:6-8 (KJV)
my mother visited my office today I almost didn’t
recognize her but she’d have forgiven me, I know
unexpected she came dressed as a family friend
their faces so entwined I almost didn’t see her there
the eyes were not the same ones I see in dreams
different: voice, brown skin, flesh pressed tight in embrace
we sat down and I laid my cut bare in the telling
how it came to be, nestled just under my collarbone,
left of my sternum, a blight blessing visible to all
how my heart stopped and started, stopped, stopped
and started, started again according to its own algorithm
words burning my mouth for freedom with no room
no air left for the other story sitting opposite
I’m sorry, sorry I wanted to say manners demand
a place and audience for the guest sharing the stage
all of it: one ending and the beginnings’ of other ends
wrapped in shaded laughter was heard, understood
a deeper moment of gravity tied up the conversation
and I saw her, my mother she spoke to me
in the voice not her own
You made the right decision.