Keeping the Mind and The Fruit Bowl Full
I’m surrounded by coasters with inspirational messages. “Keep life simple! Enjoy the little things! Good things are going to happen!” It’s possible the mind is naturally attracted to positive messages, and buries negative experiences, like when my father begged grandmother to send me to meet him for the first time at his dying bed. I forgot his plea for many years. “Do I want to meet him?” I questioned myself at ten years old. A man who ignored my existence wants to be forgiven. She didn’t send me to meet him. “I regret nothing,” she insisted during a time of inner struggle. We never spoke about her decision again.
In my own kitchen, I carefully arrange my wooden fruit bowl with pears, and Honeycrisp apples, tangerines I don’t want to eat. They will be rotten in a week. I want to preserve them like the happy memories of holding each newborn in the family for the first time. They sink into my bones, captured in photographs on my mantle. There’s no inner struggle simply inhaling the scent of a fragile fruit or holding the tender hand of newborns. It must have felt like walking on hot coal having to make grandmother’s decision. “Yes! Good things are going to happen,” as well as bad things. Decisions will have to be made, disappointments with broken vases and marriages, losing one earring and searching relentlessly for it in the crowded parking lot. Grandmother dies without regrets. I live with father’s plea. Yet, I sniff each fruit in the bowl. My brain absorbs the positive message, “keep life simple,” if only it were all up to me.
On the Lake
I’m afraid to fall asleep, to dream of you, so I trap the sunlight in a jar and leave it at the foot of the bed on the oak trunk. If only, the rays could lift my eyelids, keep my eyes open, I won’t feel the loss, see wings of silver dragonfly bookmark you held in open palms, hear your laughter like the whispery wind. I get a chill from your brain splattered on green landscapes of a wall behind you. Your golden silk cloth blanket as a wedding gift covers my swollen toes. Ashes are sprinkled on the lake, frozen, thawed and frozen again. In Autumn, I watch the black canoes at dusk and wish each one would go to where your spirit roams and tell you a beautiful tale of a boat that sailed far, far away to reach an arc in the sky.
A Child On the Amazon
I always arrive early to see her hand wave like Audrey Hepburn, a quick flutter of a dolphin’s tail from a bright blue ocean’s car window. We hug. She rubs my back, a sweet hum in my ear. We sit. The sun shines on her cherry red lipstick as she bites into a pita bread. Her foreign languages are silver raindrops. I don’t understand them, but I love rain captured in a wooden stick leaning on my window sill in my living room. It’s not a perfect lunch date unless I hear about the circle dances with children on the Amazon. I am a child holding Eva’s hand twirling in the rain.
JERRICE J. BAPTISTE authored eight books. She performed her poetry at numerous venues including the Woodstock Library’s Writers in the Mountains series in association with other noted female authors and poets in the Hudson Valley, NY. She published in the Crucible; Typishly Literary Journal; forthcoming Autism Parenting Magazine; Gyroscope Review; So Spoke The Earth: Anthology of Women Writers of Haitian Descent; African Voices; Chronogram; Shambhala Times; Hudson Valley Riverine Anthology; Her poetry in Haitian Creole & collaborative songwriting is featured on the Grammy Award-winning album: Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti, released by Spare the Rock Records LLC.