Impact*

She holds the weary head
of her spent Little One
saying – Welcome Home
This bosom is for your nourishment and relief
I am Mother Bobcat
the Watcher in the Tower
my golden eye fixing
to protect, not prey.
You can enter
You can rest
I’ve left the front door open
for you.

Come, I will drape a gossamer veil of calm
like a floral shroud
over your pyramid body
covering your living, yet still-vigilant brow.
Let us cocoon in safety
Let us camp here for the night
Let us build a blanket fort
buttressed by bricks
that have stood for a thousand years.

The chaos is now a dream
of broken spoons and vessels
a ruin of daily domesticity
order and routine
shattered and still
yet haunted by a crouching oil spill
an iridescent echo of what was
a hovering reminder
of what might have been
the Angel at the Moment of Impact.

Push off from the sides now
with your muscular thighs
Float up, up towards the north
Float back to the horizon
where the meerkat watches with patient calm
He will hold vigil
He will sit shivah
under the amber eye of the predator
that looks to tomorrow
for today is a truce
Today there will be no more violence.

Rise up when you are ready
Rise up from the frozen ground
Witness the torchbearer
relight the flame
in your outstretched mandala’ed hand
Carry it forth once again from your tomb
to light the way
towards a firey dawn
leaving a trail
we can follow
and build upon.

© S. Rinderle, 2020

** NOTE: This poem was inspired by the incredible art at the top of this page, which was created by my artist sister Nancy Alder in response to a serious car accident she experienced in December. You can see more of her work at Innerwoven, or purchase her creations on Etsy.

Green Burial

When my final day is done
I would be returned to the earth –
nothing between me and the soil
of my birth
but rotting skin.

Let my body decay like a ruin
laying in state
like the great houses of old –
monuments to pride and achievement
laid waste by the triumph of time
and the superior will
of rain and roots.

Let my interior walls be exposed
to the warmth of the sun.
Let ferns sprout from my eye sockets.
Let dragonflies and mockingjays
frolic inside my skull.
May young lovers sneak out under moonlight
to hump wildly among my bones.

Let streams gush
from my open, toothless mouth.
Let cougars and mule deer drink
from my pelvic bowl.
May fuchsia and daisies
burst forth from my ribcage.
May sycamore and oak
be nourished by my flesh.

And I will no longer be lonely.
I will finally be at peace
and contented
knowing that my feeble life made a difference
to those who truly matter
after all.

© S. Rinderle, 9/16/18

A Memo

A Memo

To love a kitty
is to love routine
the precious monotony
of daily feeding and chores
an unavoidable anchor
to what matters.
It is submission
to the welcome tyrant
of inescapable need
a furry reminder in the doorway
that now is the time to stop
put down the pen
come back to the world
return to the body.

To love a kitty
is to love constance
the deep comfort of knowing
there is
always
a round, velvety presence
contentedly sighing
in some familiar nook.
It is to know that play
and warm vibrations of companionship
are reliably nearby.

To love a kitty
is to love generosity
for this tiny being
depends on you
for its very life
yet never gazes on your eyes
with mistrust and doubt.
Instead he teaches by example
intently watching the wind
and fluttering leaves
as if they are enough.

To lose a kitty
Ah, but to lose a kitty
is to lose
all these gifts
yet discover
many more hidden
in the crannies
of your heart.

© S. Rinderle, 2018
RIP 7/00 – 11/17

Muertos

This year
I have built no
altar to the dead.
For the first time
in half my life
I’ve gathered no
keepsakes nor mementos
of those already gone
lit no candles
holding vigil for the death rattle
in what I hasten
to pass.

This year
my life is my altar:
Lost sense of place,
of belonging
and any striving
to make it so.
Lost friends
lost foes
both still beckon
my attention like ghosts.
Lost illusions that people
are anything other than they are
or chose.
Lost hope that I am anything
other than I am –
unrelenting, broken,
tender
and bold.
Lost desire to pretend otherwise.
Lost faith
in my role in progress
my power to
change anything
other than my
self loathing.

This year
my body is my altar:
207 years of legacy ending
my mother will have
no heirs
I only regret
I never wanted them
enough
never trusted
never felt a tribe
of sturdy shoulders around me
knew
it was only up to me
and it was the one thing
I couldn’t do alone.

It is Samhain.
I fling my belongings to the winds
burn letters to ash
under a full moon
merciless and unforgiving
remembrances now hollow and thin
like abandoned trees.
I lay waste to the past
cauterizing
my rotted flesh.
I must be buoyant and
aerodynamic.

I weep
only because of the smoke.

I urge the months on quickly
seasons to pass expeditiously.
I’ve had enough of deaths.
This year
I lay my barren womb
and stubborn ghosts to rest.

Next year
I will have come back to life
my essence revived
resurrected from ash
by the sun.

Next year
I will be
phoenix.

© S. Rinderle, 11/1/15

 

Sunflower

I wish I were a sunflower
face always turned
towards the sun
back always turned
on the shadows

I’d grow eager and hearty
in weak soil
unplanned
uncomplaining

I’d thrive on unexpected street corners
unnoticed by passersby
unadmired
uncaring
spirit undampened

My perky summer mane
of auburn golden petals
would seduce bumblebees
velvet sable upon amber
delicious reciprocity

Although my looks eventually desiccate
their colors would linger vivid
gilded finches feeding
from my smiling autumn face
satisfying generosity

No need to over-rely
on my bright disposition
to get by
No need to talk myself
into acceptance or trust
No thoughts of “must”
No need to convince myself
of the wisdom of seasons
the rightness and reason of Will
beyond mine

When the harvest sun waned
I’d nod off and droop
letting go my final seeds
with a contented sigh
ready to sleep til spring
when my neck stretches again
jaw yawns
and face turns
towards the sun

back always turned
on the shadows.

© S. Rinderle, 2015

Susana Rinderle

photo (c) Susana Rinderle, 2015

Without you

Mama
I missed you today
not an unnatural emotion
but unnatural for me
in the midst of a song
that’s not about you
contemplating my lover’s familia
there you were

smiling.

In 43 years I don’t remember ever
feeling this way
not even
in the 13 since you disappeared
I still recall
that 2 a.m. phone call
from 1500 miles away
the hardest phone call
my father ever made
his voice saying
“sweetie, she died”
and my roommate
who understood no English
lurching downstairs crying
because of whatever
was coming out of me
after that.

I stood in line at the airport
in my black coat
and by the time we got
to the tarmac at LAX
to sit and wait
for a gate
while they harvested your organs
in my absence
I’d had all my feelings.
Impossible to explain
what it’s like
to lose your mother
the one person you know nothing without
whose womb was ground zero
for your very existence
dawning.
Even though I sometimes hated her
often pitied
usually feared
and always mistrusted
I now miss the best she did
and the things she never gave
not because she didn’t want to
but because she was unable.

I wonder now if she didn’t love me
because I didn’t love her.
I’m sorry mama
I so wanted you to see me
my simmering rage
and oldest daughter’s pain
kept me from seeing you
seeing true
and now at 13 years of distance
and safety
I can finally admit
the garden of my life
is more thirsty, faded
and barren
without you.

© S. Rinderle, 2013