maternal

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freshly laundered
folded
wrapped in tissue paper
and sealed in a plastic bag
she’d tucked it
in the back of a cupboard
even though she’d told you
it had disintegrated in the washer

held you as you cried
and handed you a corner of blue
she said she’d managed to salvage
a soft, small piece of comfort
not even large enough
to absorb the falling tears

one day
forty something years later
you open a package she’s sent
filled with odds and ends
she’s clearing out
crocheted doilies
wooden dolls hand painted
by your grandmother
antique pantaloons
and paper-thin, cotton camisoles

between the exquisite scraps
you uncover the blue
of the blanket that swaddled you
full of holes
but mostly whole
worn but still more than enough
much like her love
always there
even when you were certain
it must not exist

May 2015
Julie Ayers

Sonance

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She missed the quiet
not the kind found in forests
but the peace spun from the hum
of tires on pavement
a beat of jump rope
slapping against sidewalk
girlish voices singing in time
laughter drifting through windows
bacon sizzling
to the velvet of Billie Holiday
urging listen
let your heart rest
eased
you belong here

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 30

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Bloodline

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According to my mother
I am a descendent of Mary Queen of Scots
as evidenced by my odd, stunted thumbs
a byproduct of centuries of royal inbreeding
Our family tree also claims
Lady Jane Gray
the tragic Nine Day Queen

And then there is the teenage boy
who fled Scotland to avoid a death warrant
dressed as a girl
Arriving in young America
he sought out George Washington
to plead his case and request employment
Impressed by the boy’s ingenuity and bravery
Washington hired him
eventually making him a trusted aide

If you look at the signatures
on the Declaration of Independence
you’ll find another of my ancestors
on the far left column, second signature down
Lyman Hall, connected by my Cooke clan

What I have inherited
from this rather remarkable lineage
is a propensity towards a life filled
with epic drama and intrigue
and a marked talent
for losing my head

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 29

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The Day After the Riots

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The men of Baltimore
formed what they called
a love line
between the police
in their riot gear
and the protesters

They talked of unity
and the strength of this city
and that although last night
rocks were thrown
and fires lit
today we stand together

People rose before the sun
and swept the street
of ash and debris
but let the anger linger
a necessary incentive
as no justice means no lasting peace

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 28

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Thanks For The Heads Up

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(a poem composed from a random line from texts, each from a different person, that I received this week)

Our 7-11 is all smashed up.
Total shitstorm.
Noisy spot.
From peaceful to asses.
Glad it wasn’t a work day.
Should I send vodka now or later?
I’m trying to prevent problems, but it looks like that’s not going to work.
Glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Fuck that, it’s all about cockfights up in this bitch.
Maybe we can get together with the girls soon?
Keep the plan the same.
Reservation at Farmstead Grill in Canton Crossing.
We are having bacon wrapped fillets, grilled asparagus, fennel salad of some sort, and cupcakes. Oh, and wine.
May I use the corset?
Cock at my house this week?
I’m a mess; broke my heart, but I’ll get over it.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 26

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