Sun Sets on Christmas

In my backyard, I take a few moments to myself after sun sets on Christmas.

I am drawn to the silhouetting branches of a tree and the stars surrounding it and eventually retrieve my camera to play with all the ways I can arrange the composition. I realize again what could be one of the reasons why I am drawn to photography: control.

I, in fact, am moving the stars. Positioning them. I manipulate the light. Later, I can manipulate in even more ways with editing apps.

I have danced with control so many times over the years, I had begun to think I was actually the lead. Control for me, though, never has had anything to do with power, simply the illusion of stabilizing, balancing, the perpetual chaos. Little bits of time. Of moments. Of situations. For survival.

As much as I’ve danced with control, I’ve had affairs with denial. Love-hate relationships. I think denial at times was truly a friend, keeping me afloat. At times, I think a betrayer; I could have stood up in the water that was actually shallow. I could have walked out of the water instead of treading. I could have maybe avoided the future near-drownings.

I am drawn most to putting the star here, cradled between the branches reaching for it.

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My Labraheeler has joined me, and I give in to kicking his ball for a bit, then decide to do a few laps around the half acre. He is used to this and follows beside me, jollily carrying his partially deflated mini basketball. We run, silently in companionship.

The weather is simply beautiful, the kind that the soul takes in as the breezy, summer-like night air is inhaled. I trust I know the yard enough to not trip in the growing darkness and trust my pup enough to not cross my path underfoot; I look up to the sky as my blood extra pumps, and all of me feels refreshed, renewed, freed.

This is peace.

The day was merry, and Christmas Eve too. I can’t recall another Christmas in which it truly was. Last year, I wore the smile, made it through, and then was nearly drowned in my after-tears.

I believe in miracles. And in magic. And in love.

I’ve always held fast to faith over the years, but in that hopeful someday kind of way, struggling to not drink in the devil-potions that would make me question and challenge the unfairness of the situations plaguing me. Only a few years ago did I fully recognize miracles, the direct hand of God at work, the Spirit inside me. I had a merry Christmas. We all did. That was a miracle. I’ve always wanted that. I did not think it possible.

I made Christmas magical and happy for my children when they were younger (with the help of my community most years), but I did so under the immense weight of all that being married to an addict-alcoholic adds. Add the strain of being the peacemaker, the glue, and often the leader of my whole family tree. Heavy. Stressful. Masked. Martyr. Superhero. Weighed. Bending. Cracking. Moth-eaten cape. Suffocating. Hiding. Pretending. Pleasing. Holding in. Suppressing. Swallowing. Denying. Lying. Stretched. Thinner. Thinner. Breaking.

Currently, light, airy, floating, feathered, free. Breathing.

So this is Merry Christmas…

I don’t think I’ll edit anything.

Almost Worthy

The silent tear
and its companion,
slipping away
from a hidden river
subterranean,

an inner well
I wish to visit,
I pay the obol
but am refused
admission.

I touch the solution
risen to the surface,
released to me
at the green-galactic
entrance.

It absorbs, vanishes,
as if it were only
imagination,
but I know it exists within,
the ancient pool
of my essence
preservation,

disturbed
by a pressure,
a fissure,
from the near past,
a conflict of interest
to who I am

attempting to contaminate
the purity of my heart’s intentions,
sent from the sacred waters
to get my attention:

two harbinger drops
to warn of the bubbling,
but how can I mend
the underground rupturing

when I cannot access
the pre-war,
cannot reverse time
to remove the source

that lies beyond
the lies
in layers
of conditioning,
beneath the protection
of pain
self-buried?

Desperate, kneeling,
thoughts begin spinning,
I get dizzy
in the spiraling,
plead for the ripples
to take me down
into the spring.

“I want to go there!
I want to come!
Let me face
what I know not
head on!

I am brave!
I am strong!”

The portal
closes shut.

What more must I do
to be worthy
enough?

Solarium

It’s not an attic window,
there are no shutters bolted tight,
no tower, no moat,
no strandedness by height,

no yellowing wallpaper,
no final-resting dust,
no musty-air poisoning,
no bed coils caked in rust.

You are in a single-story solarium
with windows open wide;
the enticing garden path
tries to lure you outside.

I’ve laid it myself;
it leads away from here.
The butterflies know the way;
the fireflies by night, steer.

There is no warden present.
There is no warden at all.
You are not kept prisoner;
screens and panes make up the walls.

I do see your ghosts;
they cordially serve you tea,
sit faithfully by your side,
read you books of false history,

but they are apparitions
as thin and weightless as the breeze
I blow into your windows
in hopes of distracting.

You feel me again,
look past them out the window;
your heart flutters to wake you,
but it’s noticed by one ghost

who floats to the window
to look out again at me.
I try to stare through him;
he grins maliciously.

I come by again in each tomorrow.
You are starting now to grey.
I’ve since given up my immortality
to free you from these
non-chains.

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Dress Pockets

Over the years, I’ve collected
the best fragments
from the jagged breaks
of the past,
revisiting the scenes
after the immediate threats
have into ashes passed.

When the sun faithfully returns,
each ray seems to gently lead,
reflecting in intermittent beams,
to rebuild resilient dreams,

refracted off each of these
gorgeous shards of glass.
I add to these, the heartifacts
unearthed from avalanche

and dug up from old spots,
buried for protection,
washed and polished rocks
diversifying my unified vision.

In dress pockets,
I tuck into shadows
the reflections resurrected,
reunite them with the rays
as I sentimentally
deconstruct them,

assembling a mosaic
stained-glass arboretum
to grow from pains and grief
a new garden of suncatchers
and walk among the rainbows
into a new and beautiful future.

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

To Where You Are

A poetic letter to me sent upon a wave and star
to reach through time, back to where you are… 

This “he” of your fantasies
receives your Little Red Balloon
and your whispers
to be delivered by Moon.

He will continuously clean
your mirrors until you see
as he does, all of your beauty
clearly.

You will weave wedding
wildflowers in your hair
and feel the wind whip
freeingly through the despair.

You will radiate in dresses
and feel feminine,
barefoot and free
upon grass and sand.

Your wavy locks
will be teased by the breeze.
Your hand outstretched
for a companion will receive.

Your heart reopened
will be filled to overflowing,
exceeding your dreams
with God-blessed reality.

Your voice in song
will again reach the heavens,
your loquaciousness endlessly
received with eager anticipation.

That voice in your head
and grip around your growth
will fall away as he convinces you
to love yourself.

Your faith will grow
as anticipated;
God will see you through
as He always has.
He knows always
what is ahead.
He will deliver love
if you cut the thread…

You will not give
your whole life
to this verbally-abusive “man.”
Soon you will be filled
with enough courage to act.
You will come to realize
those decades
of hurtful words
were lies all along;
you will come to know
your worth.

Who you once long ago
hoped instead you were
will appear as unwavering
truths in every mirror.

Ebbing Regrets

Before they drown me,
I set them free,
release regrets

to the benevolent sea.

The negative leaves
in the ebb,
and in return
brings baptism.

Another rebirth,
a buoyant start,
no more weight
syncing me
to the dark. 

Crest reflects
heaven’s light,
angels waking
at sunrise.

Arms spread wide
as the flow approaches,
submerged in the healing
saltwater solution.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise