Miss Rena In Memoriam

Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

If you’ve spent any time around me, you ‘know’ my Miss Rena. I probably talk about her at least once a day, on average. She definitely crosses my mind at least once every day. Born Ena Mae Attride on this day in 1927, she was my grandmother by virtue of being the woman who raised my mother. She was a small, feisty, half-Cuban former floor show dancer who would not hesitate to tell you about yourself, especially if you dared cross her or trouble her own. Think Madea, minus the gun and getaway car. In her younger days, she probably would have fought you, too. She often shared the story of how she was expelled from secondary school (I think it was Convent of Mercy) because she hit one of the Sisters after being caned.

Continue reading “Miss Rena In Memoriam”

To Dust

a work in progress

Photo by Kunj Parekh

And suddenly you’re just a body
the things you owned and prized
left to be cast or given away —

the books you read, plus the ones you never got around to
knickknacks and mementos you never could part with
jeans you swore you’d fit into again someday
new nighties and underwear and fresh towels
folded away in a bag in your closet
just in case you were ever admitted to the hospital
your favourite, well-worn Sunday church shoes
plus the new ones still shiny and spotless in their boxes
pictures from beach trips and parties and birthdays
and embarrassing candid shots
your signature smile or belly laugh flash frozen in each one

— picked to the bone by family and friends
desperate to hold on to a piece of you
even those who never bothered to hold you
while you were still a life

The rest will be thrown into bags and boxes
detritus left outside the gate
to await their own demise

Next you’re a memory
your best moments
in a looping highlight reel
played and replayed at future gatherings
and in dark and lonely hours
to help soothe the pain

Then one day there are no more tears
and slowly you begin to fade
your image disintegrating
drifting away on the wind
swirling around like ashes
returning to the earth like dust

I Will Not Speak My Fears

a poem written under duress

Photo by Barun Patro

I will not speak my fears
lest they become winged beasts
with mighty jaws
talons of steel
and eyes of fire

They will hunt me
crush my heart
lacerate my flesh
and make ashes of my dreams

I will not feed my fears
with dark wonderings
in midnight hours
to shroud my realities
beneath lies of the impossible

No

I will not give them life
I will suffocate them
under the weight of
thoughts and words that are
true, honest, just, pure, lovely
and of good report

For as I think in my heart
so I am
and I think I am brave
and strong
and brilliant
and I can do all things

If I have to eat the fruit of my words
then I prefer it to be sweet
to give energy to my spirit
and health to my bones

And I will spit out the seeds
that will grow into tall trees
to give me shade in my youth
and bear more fruit in my old age

I will not speak fear
for I shall have whatsoever I say
and what I want
and will have
is life more abundant

— for donalee, keresa and kendra