Afloat on hope

a viral magic act
making all disappear
except essentials —
our souls are ailing
emotions tested
communities spread thin
but never so together —

fear and negative mindsets
purpose and positive actions
our generosity unmasked
inspiration is contagious

we live, we die —
we survive, but barely

it’s been so long
we are getting sick of this, but
it’s gotten us closer to ourselves
even as we distance from others

some have perspective —
others have only anger

a year of austere warning from
mother nature, which many won’t heed —
suffering, separation, and need
a year of gratitude and pain
disorder, loss and gain —
yes, many gifts too — science, love
veiled blessings, principle, priorities —
months were lost but not the lessons

we have homework — wrest the energy
to begin our rock-bottom rebuilding

—Terri Guillemets

Vanished

i hurt every day remembering
that i wasn’t there for you
the hardest day of suffering
— i left you painfully alone
when you needed me most
so damn close, but not there
which is the farthest away —
i was a fool, oblivious numbskull
a frozen hearted ragdoll zombie

            i’m sorry

—Terri Guillemets

My heart sees all the better

my eyes can’t see as well anymore
but my heart sees all the better

my ears have begun to fail me
but I hear the quiet budding of success

I move more slowly now
but have learned to be still with myself

my aching body is stiff and sore
but my spirit has never felt so fine

my memory is slipping
but I’ve got a firm grip on what it is to live

my head is going gray
but I have found all my true colors

I get out of bed earlier
but still have plenty of dreams

I live more softly
but don’t back down from doing hard things

my teeth are getting artificially replaced
but my soul is real and all my own

my bones are brittle
but my resolve is strong

I no longer bounce back
but continue to look forward

I tell the same stories over and again
but become a new me every day

I’m nearer to the end
yet I have only just begun

—Terri Guillemets

Battery

my youth is caked over
with heartache and pains
regrets and inflammations
and sudden calcifications
of ligaments and spirit
not-bothers and defeats
that went to my head
and bruises that take
too long to heal
cracked teeth and
why-tries and i’m-tireds

that which galloped
now rolls in ruts
my blonde has passed
to mousy and gray —
everyone i know
looks tired and frayed
sagging from the weight
of time and overbusy
and too much stuff
in too-big houses —
it’s too much life
and too little living —
no vitamines will fix this

—Terri Guillemets

Flux

cracks in poetry
are not ruins
but gaps to let
meaning breathe

—Terri Guillemets

At two-fifty-nine

Prayer to the middle-of-the-night gods:
      please let me sleep —
thank you for the beautiful moon
      and winter silence
but please let me fall back to sleep —
      no offense.
                        Amen.

—Terri Guillemets

Transforming

I translate stars into daydreams
I make rain and rainbows into
      freshly squeezed joy
I breathe the air of possibility
I swim deep in rivers of passion
I use my loneliness as
      stepping stones to love
I am on the march to freedom
I tend to my blossoming soul

—Terri Guillemets

Half-breaths

Grieving is being
      at the bottom
      of quicksand
      trying to claw
      my way up —
because I need to breathe

When you died, my
      breath left with you
      my lungs, my life —
filled with half-breaths

I’m thankful for your life
is all that gets me through

—Terri Guillemets