Tag Archives: Friends

Make It Count

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Every miserable day
and good one
near the water
or in a hospital
I try
I try
I try
My manta of gratitude
for functioning legs and serotonin uptake
quiet moments
and every last hug
for a soundtrack
and friendship
and good enough health
for those I love to make it to sunset
then sunrise
Repeat
Repeat
Repeat
Chaos and uncertainty
are too tight socks
pinching circulation
and leaving deep ruts
but limbs intact
if a tad blue
When I manage to roll them off
a more seamless state slowly returns
The heart relentless
doing its work
Pushing
Pushing
Pushing

NaPoWriMo Day 27

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League Apart

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At 21,
I imagined her in college
or backpacking in Belize
working some 9-to-5 job that she loved or hated
so that she could earn enough money to cover her rent
and the cost of clubbing with her friends
making art and living in our basement
joining AmeriCorps and teaching children how to read
spending hours wandering in museums for inspiration
rarely leaving her room because she was so engrossed in creating new apps
or music
or poetry
or never being home because her social needs were so high that she was always out
in the world and we wished at least once a month she’d stop long enough to eat dinner with us
as a young, single, loving mother
on a boat in rough seas with Greenpeace protecting whales
married
researching grad school programs and stressing over paying back student loans
single and ambivalent about the status
obsessed with locating and meeting her birth parents
working in a tattoo parlor
preparing for medical school
skating in the Olympics
building a tiny house with her girlfriend near the edge of a lake next to the greenest forest
base jumping in every continent

All is less than optimal
it is not the future
that any parent imagines

I didn’t envision
the organ failure
or cancer
the speech therapy
and special education services
wrapping my arms around my tiny-in-frame but adult-in-age daughter
as she buried her head against my stomach
her body shaking
as we went to visit
the program she’ll enter
when she graduates from high school in June

My language is foreign to my peers
they struggle to understand and respond
mishear my hope and optimism
as acceptance or surrender
to this abrading future

Although I’ve learned to mine the joy and beauty
in the oddest of overlooked cracks
no dreams have been conceded
as I attempt to swallow with some grace
each of these real days

 

February 3, 2017
Julie Ayers

size of it

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the envelope looked innocent
the size of a birthday or condolence card
opened easily
announcement slipping out
and into her palm

a baby picture
a cap and gown
a proud to announce

they’d been pregnant at the same time
both nurturing all that promise
discussing life alterations ahead
the early mornings and diaper pails
the farewell to spontaneity and happy
hour therapy sessions

girls born just months apart
became separated
by more than a decade
gap ever-widening
one getting her driver’s license
while the other finally mastered
tying her shoes

she set the invitation on the table
walked over and kissed
the top of her daughter’s head
bowed over a coloring book
and thought –
forgive them
they know not what they do

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 9

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Written

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we have our stories
written in indelible DNA
myelin sheath to lace
amino acid to crystal
bell curves on the bottom of tranquility
organs falling still, silent
cells that morph to blossom darkly

the other stories
we draw in soft pastels
only fix them by resolution
dangling by thin wire
in all their suspended coloration

the plastic hospital bassinet
sheltering wisp of white onsied baby girl
arms stretched upwards, reaching
our hands unequivocally catching

forceps liberating, cord cut,
blue eyes open, fingernails fine as rice paper
a boy all weary, bloodied
from the long struggle to here

heads that fit snug in collar-bones
hair smelling of baths of bubbles
Goodnight Moon and bunnies
and spoons of mush
sippy cups and squeak of swings

hospital hallways, sleep chairs, ERs,
ORs, intensive cares, incisions, syringes,
liquids, pills, capsules,
nights and nights and nights
full of tubing and machines
that pump and beep and drain
procedures that punish and save
and save
and save
and save

circus clowns spring-board launched
somersaulting over lines of bowed children
chemo-bald and nervously giggling
cotton candy in blistered mouths
that needed to relearn the shape of laughter

a call, a text, a visit, an email
a party invitation and picnic at the pool
a book, a glass, a poem, a concert
hats and sunscreen and trophies
and tribes

fires browning marshmallows
warming fronts and feelings
as backdrops for men thumbing guitars
vivid sparks of voices rising
into midnight blue

and saved
and saved
and saved
and saved

 

May 7, 2014
Julie Ayers

Tribal

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Because you were already singing
Ring of Fire
as we approached the table,
the Social D version
thumping out
through the restaurant’s
speakers.
We slipped into our seats
and into the chorus
at the same time.

One by one,
you dropped ice cubes
twenty-feet down from the deck
where you stood watching
the pinking sky,
aiming for my glass
full of tepid beverage,
raining joy
and refreshment.

You baked a cake,
full soft and sweet centered,
topped it
with a desiccated hand
and waited, giggling,
for me to take in
the entire sugar
of this long anticipated reveal.

Beach house, kayaks, fire pit,
me assigned the room
with the balcony and best view
so I could wake to ducks
and friends and bacon,
we sat on the sand
watching surf roll
and spring tease,
talking of crab feasts
and college towns.

Entry halls strewn
with instrument cases,
you bring your guitars,
banjos, percussion pieces,
everywhere,
including on vacation,
encouraging
us to sing along,
loudly, enthusiastically,
even if badly,
subsuming us
in each musical moment.

It is because you have patiently waited,
stayed beside me
while I found my own key,
made note of it,
and adjusted
your play accordingly
so we all could be
at our very best,
that we are
tribe.

 

Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 20

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Drum Beauty

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(for Betsy – something happy)

Satin sport shorts
outlining tanned thighs,
they sat along the field’s edge
watching the drum and bugle corps boys
as they practiced.
Not wanting to wear hats
and risk messing their ponies,
they used their hands as visors
while they assessed the most committed,
best smile, astonishingly athletic,
biggest show off.

Summer school typing class done,
they’d bike over and drop in the grass
to lose hours
deregulating their heartbeats
from the onslaught of a seventy-two
steamrolling horns, a line of drummers
that spanned goal post
to goal post,
and teen boy testosterone
too abundant to quantify.

 

April 10, 2014
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 10

 

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