MJ blathers

dark poet who loves to laugh

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layered feelings
joy at others’ happiness
sweetness of memories
delicious anticipation
celebration of beloved
family and friends
gnawing ache, realizing
how alone i am
without you


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E ashes

he’s gone
not buried with his parents
not contained in marble urn
but scattered
among thuderous clouds
and spikes of lightning
mud puddles and
sprouts of pine and fir
a vaster part of earth now
than when he was
mine alone

gentle, gentle mist
clinging bit by tiny hint
to my arms, my hair
and eyelids
causing me to blink
caught between
warm and wet,
heaven and earth-bound
wishing for what
can never be again
longing for his arms
close around me
granting me love

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Kelley’s Island

I am from sliding down the Glacial Grooves (now fenced)
I am from stepping on someone’s broken bottle half-buriedin the sand
of Sandy Beach, my sister Carolyn burying my trail of blood as
Mom carried me to the car; the doctor in the trailer near the ferry dock
stitching up my gaping foot
I am from Caroly carrying me on her back through the field of poison ivy
because she was not allergic (she was)
I am from the concrete steps down to the boat landing at the mansion
on the far side of the island; Grandma Page fell down, hollering
“Char-ruls” all the way; Grandma depended on my daddy, too
I am from Mom’s brothers, on leave from Army and Marines, on the barrel-raft
out in Lake Erie, yelling and waving to warn Uncle Bud in Navy whites
not to set foot on the slime-coated rock shelf that played at being beach
in front of our rented cottage
Bud’s legs ran many miles before they went out from beneath him
and he slid on his behind into the water
I am from campfires among the rocks on starry nights
singing to the mosquitos
and the goo of som’ores
as the sparks flew upward

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paradise burns

home video
but home is lost
to embers from the distant fire
whipped by wind
raining, without life-sustaining water
on the shed and roof
starting a blaze
among a dozen blazes
a hundred
a thousand
gather the children
push them into the car
and hope
as you press into
three lanes on the two lane road
heading east north east
as the children pose
fearful questions
you can only answer in measures
of relative safety
almost past the inferno on our right
roll up your windows
high and tight
and now we’ve nearly gone by
the towering bright yellow-orange
flames on our left
see, we’re nearly safe
can’t we go faster?
all the cars in front of us
want to hurry, too
we’re moving so the flames can’t get us
that tree is outlined in brilliant fire
but we’ll be passed before it falls
all the scrub by the road is already gone
just one more raging fire up there
half way by
there! see, clear sky! clear sky!
we’re safe
who wants to say a prayer of thanksgiving for us?

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walking stick

every place is within walking distance
if you have enough time
my time on earth
have i done enough?
could i have done more? done better?
of course
can i forgive myself the waste of precious sand
as my time eddies into the whirlpool leaving
the upper globe of that unyielding timer?
the grains now are so white and fine
most of the sand i have lived
has been gritty, rough, abrasive
and yet the joys!
my daughters finally connecting
to share supper last night
hugged one another in deep joy and love
knowing either would come
in the case of dificulties
what more could i ever ask?
what else do i need on this journey
i walk so humbly?
despite my own shortcomings
i am blessed to know
that the next generation – and the next
love and cherish themselves and each other