Alzheimer Dreams, by Debi Swim

Alzheimer Dreams
by Debi Swim

Her mind goes back
and further back
to days of long ago
to things of which
she is fond
June bugs, fireflies
pollywogs in the pond
grass tickling her toes
screen door slams
homemade jams
and wildflowers
picked for mom
climbing trees
summers free
her childhood
over and over again
This is where she lives
till her mind gives out
her body gives in
and existing is finally done

Process notes: Watching my mother-in-law wither away.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet. Blog: https://georgeplaceblog.wordpress.com/

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Death of a Poet, by Debi Swim

Death of a Poet
by Debi Swim

I have become an empty cistern
A dry river bed, bleached bones
Have forgotten the smell of rain

I am words stuck in the throat
A horse without a whisperer
A pot untended, boiled away

I am parched, athirst, panting
Where is the well that I may sip
Where is my Erato?

Am I singing my swan song?

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

It is the Nature of the Beast, by Debi Swim

It is the Nature of the Beast
by Debi Swim

See the wisteria’s jumbled limbs? Their tightly clasped leaves just beginning to unfurl makes a green lacy pattern against a clear sky. Soon it will be a jungle, a maze of hidey holes and perches for the birds. The feeder hangs from a low branch. All day juncos, grackles, jays, cardinals and their cousins dash and jostle, scrabble and fuss for a place on the ledge. A woodpecker swoops in, hangs by its claws, half its body underneath dangling like an acrobat. The nuthatches fling seed hither and yon – picky eaters – while below on the ground heavy, clumsy doves clean up their mess. Turkeys come early morning and late evening scratching the spot beneath the feeder for leftovers furrowing a patch that will become a muddy mess with the next rain.
Marvel at the chipmunk as he climbs the thick, twining base and gracefully, agilely jumps to the feeder, the squirrel, too. Deer come, mostly fall and winter and butt the feeder with their heads, then munch on the splatter at their leisure.

                In every season the feeder an oasis, a cheery café.

And yet, this happy scene is marred by an ominous shadow. A circling hawk is attracted by the activity below. His keen eyes on the prize, he waits for his chance, sees a careless chipmunk scampering across the lawn and with a noiseless plunge scoops his prey in deathly grip of talons and carries the limp bundle away. Imagine the calamity of it on a peaceful, ordinary day. The swiftness of the attack, the scurrying of the creatures and then the waiting, with trembling and skipping hearts till one brave bird dares the feeder again and all becomes normal again.
It is the way of nature and of the world. But, at least nature is not malicious. It does not attack out of hate and erroneous ideology. It is only survival. Let man take notice.

                Greed, terrorism, hate, ways of the human order, nature’s greatest foe.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

Lord, Have Mercy, by Debi Swim

Lord, Have Mercy
by Debi Swim

Delicate bones under dried leaf skin
fingers clasped loosely in her lap
tributaries of green in ropy veins
and her thumbs go round and round.
She sits and stares into the past…
a burning house, she upstairs
a jump into the banked up snow.
She sees it all again.

I know she’s thinking of two small graves
and she whispers “Lord, have mercy.”
And her thumbs go round and round.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet. Blog: https://georgeplaceblog.wordpress.com/

Rainbow Hollow Good News Tent Revival, by Debi Swim

Rainbow Hollow Good News Tent Revival
by Debi Swim

In the field back of the houses it stood
as though the gentle overnight shower
had mushroomed it into being.
We kids dropped our bikes, awed, excited
and entered that great tent, its flaps raised
to let in what bit of breeze was stirring.
Straw was scattered over the stubbled
ground, dusty, musty, hot smell of barn
and row on row of folding chairs, empty,
waiting to cradle sinners’ sorry selves.
A lectern at the front stood
full of grave responsibility for tonight’s
Rainbow Hollow Good News Tent Revival.
Giggling, I stood behind the lectern,
motioned the others to sit and preached a
rousing, shouting, glorious story of
sin and death, and born again. Then
we ran out lest the Holy come down
at our possible sacrilege (though I
think He would have smiled at our game)
ran out into bright sunshine of
biking and tag and country lanes.

Process notes: Every summer, in the small community of Rainbow Hollow in northeastern Tennessee, a tent revival appeared like magic for a week of hard preaching before moving on to the next little town, an attraction (not unlike the generic carnivals that were small town fare in those times) to the children filled with wonder and yet a thing to laugh about, too.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet. Blog: https://georgeplaceblog.wordpress.com/

Pax, by Debi Swim

Pax
by Debi Swim

Winter is a sulky bitch pitching
her fits into spring when she
should be gracefully walking away,
instead a hissy fit of jealous ire
before she retires to sleep.
She’d been all silvery glittering sway
in her heyday but like an aging beauty
queen she fades. Age spots on the porcelain
skin, hair dulled to dishwater drudge,
a sludge of cinders and salt, she peppers
her talk with indignant spit and sputter.

But Spring knows you catch more flies
with honey sweetness. She persists,
gently insists on having her day,
replaces the glitter of snow and ice
with buds and blossoms, scents of spice,
as we long for her to stay awhile, warm
the grass, swell the lilac limbs with nubs,
spread maternal love to birds nesting in trees.
She wafts health to body and mind
and I’m buoyant with a zest for living.

Process notes: Saturday and Sunday we had around fourteen inches of heavy wet snow. The electricity was out for twelve hours and by Thursday the temperature got to 78 degrees. I was ecstatic. Friday, overcast and cool. Last night a heavy frost. Today promises to be nicer and tomorrow even better. Snow flurries are forecast for Monday. GAH! I wish Winter and Spring would quit bickering!

Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 373.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet. Blog: https://georgeplaceblog.wordpress.com/

Time Laughed, by Debi Swim

Time Laughed
by Debi Swim

I rub the remnants of dreams
from gritty eyes, yawn, stretch
and face the dawning day
Discerning there are just so many and no more.
A measured number known to God, meted one by one.

I’ve spent my life like a man with pockets full
of gold and no fear or thought of running out.
The days ahead stretched long and smooth,
so I thought, in foolish youth.
Time laughed at my poor innocence.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet. Blog: https://georgeplaceblog.wordpress.com/

After All These Years, by Debi Swim

After All These Years
by Debi Swim

I’m sitting here feeling old and grey
listening to Sinatra on the Bose
you walk in the room, just like always
but this time you stop, extend your hand,

I say… What? You say, let’s dance.

You pull me up and close
I feel awkward, silly, out of step
I’m not a girl anymore, too many miles
and lines on this face, you just smile,
you don’t care – you twirl me round
the living room and sing with Frank

“cause I love you,
Just the way you look tonight.”

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

Vernal Hope, by Debi Swim

Vernal Hope
by Debi Swim

The robins flew in unannounced
and wrenched worms from a
greening yard. The air was soft,
tepid, tempting tender shoots
to peep aloft. A hint of spring,
an insinuation of vernal hope.
And as it seems so often the
cold surges back. The robins
shiver, fluff their wings and
carry on. They’ve learned.
I’ve learned, too. This hope
is not a false hope
but a hope briefly deferred.

Process notes: We had been visiting in Alabama, enjoying the warm weather, yellow daffodils, and trees clouds of white blossoms along the avenue. We came back to West Virginia to mild temperatures and a forecast of high winds, frigid air and possible snow the result of a nor’easter off the coast. It is disappointing to go from warm to brrrrrrr but I take heart from the robins.

In response to Red Wolf Prompt 366.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet. blog: https://georgeplaceblog.wordpress.com/

Saying Goodbye, by Debi Swim

Saying Goodbye
by Debi Swim

And someone will come and do my hair
one final time, make-up my face, clothe
my body in a favorite outfit and fold my
hands one over the other and I’ll repose
as though I’ve just closed my eyes for a
moment. I’ll even wear my glasses which
is ironic but I guess after all this time I
wouldn’t look natural without them.

That’s what the old people say as they
pass by the coffin trying to look like
they’ve just dropped by for a short visit,
Oh, doesn’t she look natural. No, I want
to shout, I look waxy and my smile is
a Mona Lisa smile of let’s get this over
with. A millimeter short of a smirk. Finally,
they close the lid.

I know there is music and the preacher will
say all the right things. You’ll say I was a good
wife and my sister and brother will tell the
funny stories of our childhood. I imagine the
children and grandchildren wiping their eyes
as tears spill but I am alone in this ornate box
smiling my tight little smile, immune to grief,
keeping a stiff upper lip.

Note: Written in response to Prompt 364.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.