Origins.

The paths from where we came
Are not straight but winding
Around cliffs and abandoned buildings
Ghosts of former glory, decaying love
Contrasted against the beauty of Mother Nature’s nurture.

At night the owls call asking me “Who?”
As if I ever knew. As if I could ever hope to know.
Who, who?
In the dark I have no mirror to hold it up against.
In the dark I have no reference but the blood in my veins,
The same veins that contain venom from 21 years of life.
My blood cannot be trusted. It has been contaminated
By strands of DNA, codes telling cells how to act
The same bond determining the relationship on the outside–
Original telling the new how to live.

The owls never stop chanting at night.
Their questions keep me awake as I find branches to make into beds
To make into homes somehow.
I wish they would ask another question;
Though the hows and wheres are equally vague,
At least they are not phantoms sent to hunt.

Two wholes forms halves to make another whole,
But the equation always leaves something out.
The sum is not equal to its respective parts.
Ratios and fractions puzzle even the most versed.
The glue holds it together, barely,
Until something shakes the foundations and the cracks start to show.
Who, who?
If I could travel backward, find where the path started,
Find out how my halves made a whole,
But one whole is missing, leaving holes in the whole plan.
Too many bridges out, destroyed by fires, earthquakes, and other
Semi-natural disasters.

Forward, never knowing what came before,
What will come after.
A traveler with no navigation tools,
Completely unprepared for life on the road.
Yet the owls, with their nighttime eyes
And superior senses
Can see for miles in any direction their heads turn.
I ask them “where?”
But all they ever say is “who.”
Broken records that find their place among other broken things.

I lie down among the graveyard of broken,
With my twig-homes and dripping glue and tainted blood,
And I let the whos rock me to sleep.

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Coaster to Coast.

Roller coasters at their best. We expect some kind of relief, but the hills keep coming.
And the waves—oh, the waves!—splash over my head before I can take a proper breath.
But I love the ocean, and who doesn’t love the thrill of a coaster?
Coaster to coast I flit, whiplashed and tired.
Bob and sway, bob and sway.
Mayday, mayday!
Operator, stop the ride! I’m out of energy and tickets to spend.
I never remember walking onto the beach, stepping onto the pier with the ride that never stops.
Excuse me, miss, where are we? Sir, can you tell me time or place?
Faces blurring past, I think I catch yours but it’s gone.
This place has a vague quality to it, as if I’ve dreamt about it before,
but the edges are blurry, and even when I touch things they don’t feel real.
It’s all sensation.
The woman who sits next to me in the front seat whispers, “How do you feel?”
How do I feel?
“Tired,” I answer.
“That’s not a feeling,” she winks, and I know that I’ve been false.
But the motions tells her all I cannot say.
Motions conveying emotions—
A far more efficient conveyance.
Conveyor belts bring us higher and higher again
And I smile for a moment as the sea air hits me
Because though I still fear the waves I relish not being in them.
The smell is satisfying. It speaks of survival.

But I know what’s coming.

We climb until we think we’ll touch the clouds,
But the lurch comes and I’m facing the sea and I’m not ready.
We’re tipping and flying and falling and why aren’t we stopping?
Why aren’t we pointing upward again?
And then we cascade into the sea.
Waves return the favor by cascading over us.
Over me. Only me.
Were the others ever there?
I want to find them but the undertow requires my attention.
It tugs at my ankles, soft fingers locking around my legs and

I’m under and the water floods my eyes as memories pool behind them.
The taste of fear on my lips.
And the sea, I let her take me somewhere new.

—————

I recently lost my grandfather, and this came at a time in my life when I was finally setting out on the road of accepting and grieving my father’s death. I think this poem is my commitment to the journey–to not running away from it this time. Even though I am pained and afraid, I will make this trip to recovery. I know it’s what they would both want for me.