Search This Blog

Thursday, April 14, 2011

by Mary Saracino

I was bred to appease
close the gaping mouth
of desire
a child speaking
in the foreign tongue of docility
relying on conforming consonants
denying voracious vowels their due
jailing truth behind clenched teeth
taunt lips, a shaking, frightened heart.

Even then something inside
refused to cooperate
prowled the dark alleyways of muscles
scrawling thick, bloody letters
on the walls of veins staining the bedrock
of sinew with graffiti
something stood proud like a furious flag
called for revolution
something howled: "I am not for sale."

Even under the sullied breath of childhood
I sometimes whispered whole
sentences of insubordination
befriended the slang of dissension
quietly at first
then more confidently, questioning
each syllable that stuttered across my startled mouth
all that my voice withheld
my relentless heart demanded.

Long miles from youth to now
ripened into insurgence
not anarchy for its own selfish sake
not lawlessness
but justice breaking free.

The years ferried me past complacency
away from the shoreline of orthodoxy
beyond the borderlands of muteness
far from the places where a woman’s silence
is her best kept secret
where she must always know her place
abdicate her will
keep her mouth shut.

Now rebel nouns and verbs dance
upon the tender tip
of my tenacious tongue.
A woman must always ignite her voice
speak of her hunger
satisfy the ache
of purpose that gives birth to defiance
suckle it to her breast
tend to it as if it were
the last child on Earth
the only hope for humanity’s survival
because it is.

Friday, April 8, 2011

by Mary Saracino

Crows don’t seek bread
or sheltered warmth
but something else more sustaining
something that defies gravity & time
the whims of shifting seasons
unrelenting heat
bitter cold
sheets of pouring rain
and all the many other
encumbrances life trusts
upon birds & humans;
the crows’ sturdy black wings carry them
over rooftops, treetops, highways
one lands on an eave, turns her head
blinks at the sun glinting off the metal
downspout; another circles an aspen
claims a limb, waits for who knows what
I watch from the sidewalk, head cocked
wondering if crows worry about
sleet and snow and boys with BB guns
or getting safely home
the birds don’t mind if I stare or fret
they leave me to my musing
I sit on the grass, gaze at the clouds
distracted by my own illusions
when I turn back, the crows
have left their roosts, flown away
off to places unknown to me
places beyond the reach of my
limited ways of knowing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What Starts
by Mary Saracino

What starts is never what arrives;
the eager door swings open
hopeful feet step on stones from here to there;
we traverse the long road from home to hinterland
wearing shoes dusty with dreams
a tattered coat, a hat soggy from sleet or dew
our bellies hungry for bread, meat, comfort;
we begin the journey as pilgrims
befriending fields & lonely mountaintops
biting brambles & whimsical wildflowers
beneficent bees & boisterous birds;
we sing to towering oaks & thorny roses
swollen rivers & murky lakes
chilling winds & replenishing rains
biting snow & blistering sun;
we end the journey as refugees
longing for where we started
uncertain of where we have arrived
our skin tougher, more wrinkled
our hearts opened, yet weary
our hopes & aspirations forever altered
by the weather, the whims of chance
the kindness or cruelty of strangers
the losses & joys, laughter & tears
gathered or spilled along the way.