Fastidious

Fastidious. Circumspect to the moment’s crafting light,
my mother. Her eyes lost in those memories, visions;
some called it the ‘inner light’ (what did she see?), othering
worlds just beyond the seen, where the known and unknown

cross each other like lost travelers: puzzled, observant, quickened
by strangeness. Stubborn and focused she’d shape hands to thread
creating dreams made visible, objects both magical and ordinary.
Slipping from one memory to the next, voicing her perplexity with time,

she’d quip and quote women I’d never known except in daguerreotype;
brown tinted lives gone gray in the world we’ve all forgotten; yet, uncanny,
her remembrance bringing such thoughts and images back from somewhere,
somewhen. (Where? When?) I could tell when she was about to drift —

wander into the othering place where men were not allowed. I often wished
I could follow her there, down into that blessed region outside history,
where she seemed to gather strength and power, a woman’s power
               to carry us who could not carry ourselves. 

©2021 S.C. Hickman

Night’s Changelings

Day by day the cracked earth stings,
lips chapped to the sun’s unslaked fiends;
step to step sounding the gray dawn,
circling furrows in a vicious crawl.

Eyes strain against the heat, the fake light
hovering in illusive trailing’s of a rich man’s life;
a semblance of paradise, not the grasping whirl,
a dust wall presaging terror in a knot of icy fire.

Red gasps at end of day, twilight’s reign 
where two worlds shake the inlaid chest;
the silver on the winged cloud lies of change,
where only now the confused cry of a lone hawk fell.

He lays there listening, night’s changeling
rifting paradise of its last silences: a voice
breaks free in the emptiness: a drifter’s mirage,
oak-born owls swinging branch-wise against his mind.

©2021 S.C. HIckman