Enclosed

Our bodies were meant
for the sun, the rain,
the gusty winds,
starlight and moon baths,
fresh air and seasons —
So why do we trap ourselves
      in indoor cages?

If we can’t hear the
birds chirp, feel the breezes,
how are we to be refreshed,
to heal, to know the world
beyond the borders
      of our bodies?

—Terri Guillemets

Real eyes

Now that I’m over the hill
I can see it’s just made of
skeletons of dead monsters
that were never really there.
But that past is no less high
and no less there, and I am
no less on the other side of it.

—Terri Guillemets

October-blood

This time of year, October-blood
runs through the veins of autumn —
a slowing heartbeat, longer breaths
shorter days, golden light, scarlet leaves
warm hearts and sanguine thoughts

—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.

—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.
I ache and hurt, I’m stiff and sore,
      but my spirit’s 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’ve found all my true colors.
I get out of bed earlier,
      but still I have plenty of dreams.
I live more softly
      but don’t back down from doing hard things.
My teeth are artificially getting 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 I still look forward.
I tell the same stories over and again,
      but still I’m new every day.
I’m nearer to the end,
      yet I’ve 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

2020

canceled, isolated, distanced
dazed, befuddled, harried
rationed, washed, disinfected
zoomed, homeschooled
furloughed, fired, scared
impoverished, subsidized
learned, helped, sacrificed
inspired, respected, thanked
hospitalized, intubated, died
lied, gaslighted, denied
masked, tested, untested
endured, abided, accepted
annoyed, outraged, protested
anticipated, waited, voted

—Terri Guillemets

Death lights heavy

Hummingbird mama —
abandons her nonviable eggs
but keeps checking back
a few more times, just to be sure.

Arms fall off a saguaro,
break open on the ground
like fragile eggshells —
after years of desert still-life
a few seconds of death-motion.

But the night breeze is so beautiful
those breezes are — so beautiful,
it’s hard not to get swept away.

—Terri Guillemets

Talons

Owls are hunters
Humans are mechanical separators —
separating by metal machines
      meat from bones
      life from death
      fat from essence —
but in Nature, where Man used to come from
a long time ago — remember it? —
none of those things is separable.
      BRAIN  from  SENSE

—Terri Guillemets

Flux

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

—Terri Guillemets