Poem of the Week #12
March 23, 2008
What I Learned from the Trees
I began as a clump of cells deep
in the deep darkness of sweet nothingness.
A snug, tiny room that I had all to myself
for nine months. I slept, romped, grew;
I learned my mother’s songs and the touch
of my father’s hand on my head.
One day, an immense squeezing began
an indescribable gushing. I felt myself—
a small wet rag—being wrung by
giant hands. I saw myself
standing on a bridge over a river,
sucked down into the moving stream below
I did not really want to go, and yet
it did look tempting.
So I accepted my fate; allowed the hands
to push me out of my safe cocoon
into the wide, roaring river of life
in whose cold waters I learned first
about flowing and being carried,
later about eddies and bumping against rocks.
One day, I looked up out of the water
pleasantly choking me and saw
massive, sturdy oaks on the river banks
reaching in two directions—
roots grasping the earth, leaves caressing the sky,
stalwart, yet able to flex in the breeze.
They jogged my memory
of another place; a thought grew in me—
I was in the river, but not of the river.
I determined then to be like the trees
who do not call the birds to come sit in them;
do not cry when the birds fly away.
One day, when I pass by my bridge again
I’ll be ready, old and feeble as I am,
worn and polished as a smooth stone.
On that day, should you be strolling
by the river, you will see a stone leap.
© Lisa Vihos
Poem of the Week #11
March 16, 2008
From the One Who Didn’t Stay
I heard you calling my name
and I started to come by you.
The fact that I had to leave
does not mean that I
did not love you
or find you
to remind you
of the preciousness
of life; and your fullness
in the one you already have.
He came late in your life, the first time
you tried. He’d been waiting
a long time at your door
for you to slow down
and make space
a wise old man
an innocent child,
to teach you what’s what.
As for me, I left to teach you
something else—how to fill holes.
© Lisa Vihos
Poem of the Week #10
March 9, 2008
It Happened In Silence
The bleeding started
after the evening lecture
at the meditation retreat.
We were in a time of silence
but surely, a crisis of this proportion
required words, sobs, attention.
So as not to disturb my roommate,
I used my cell in the hotel stairwell—
hanging on to Mike’s voice.
Find a phone book, call a hospital.
Turns out, my roommate
was a nurse. She made me lie down.
Held my hand, called the authorities.
How much blood? Is it bright red?
Lie still, wait, see.
For hours, I fought sleep in the strange bed,
held vigil with God, hoping to retain
my innards, push back the fear;
my clump of cells nothing
I could call a person,
but already so familiar, so dear.
In the dimness of dawn, I came to,
checked the sheets, breathed relief.
No maroon pool, no gelatinous clots.
with the X-ray technician—
she examined the screen, hunting
for that little universe of joyful specks,
spinning toward personhood, entranced Sufis; an image
I had seen years earlier of Owen before he was Owen.
She kept turning the picture to look from every angle,
every angle, the same. In my motherly blind bliss
I was still ridiculously pregnant with hope
too positive to put two and two together
until she called for the head of radiology
and he told me in plain words
what had happened.
© Lisa Vihos