Friday, February 01, 2013

Sky Lessons (from Anita Bee)

You recall looking up to summer skies
A sheer filter of crystaline blue
between you and heaven
It looked even bigger to you then

Relaxed on a pallette of green grass
Soft blades hugging your small body one at a time
You remember the patch of Earth
cool against your back
tickling your neck
an easy comfort for you to rest your head, so full
of new thinking

You did not know how to to lasso the clouds
with those fresh, new thoughts still awkward
and unwieldy between your ears
You were afraid to name those clouds with
your soft, wet words
Fastening monikers that might be too new
might not be just right
Your small lips pucker into a whisper:
     Elephant, you say
     Kitten, you say
     Cereal bowl
     Mama's good church shoe, you say

You learned to transcribe cumulus tales of summer
Clouds scrolling like silent movies across your blue sky
trust your untethered translations
Even pointed your chin up to the darkness
Tear-filled eyes behind sealed windows
searching the shadowed firmament for
constellations, for guideposts, for wishes, for

Only shades of blue between you and heaven

You do not track the stars as you once did
Do not measure fate by darkening rains
You rarely affix new names and claims to atmospheric smudges anymore
Rarely feel the thunderclap beneath your tongue
But the stories you scrawled across summer days will call you back, one day
The sacred songs of midnight sorrows will lulluby your soul, one day
You will see the florid script of your legacy clustered in frosted breath
in smoke
in promises
in poems
in clumsy kisses
in prayers you sealed private for God

You will search this sky for the forgotten names and prayers
you floated upward like a child's balloon
like a wish upon a star
like gospel on a cloudless day
Even if you never think of me, look up
Look up to this sky and recall the ambition of eager, young words
Suspend the fear snaking up the length of your convictions
Remember the bravery you gnawed with abandon beneath the cover of summer skies

Look up. Pin new names to a slow-rolling grace
When I laid beneath the choreography of clouds, I called them:
     Roller skate
The grass, cool and soft against my back, I always knew
that behind this blue sky was God

It still seems so big to us now
for this shimmering blue to stretch between you
and me, between homecoming and homegoing
Heaven and heavenbound
I always knew I was heavenbound
and summer sky words have ushered me home.