a mother waits to hear him say her name,
his father, to play ball.
the child breaks silence only with his piercing cry,
tosses his food, his fists.
the daily fare of parents of autistic children.
down the street, around the corner,
potted flowers adorn window boxes.
behind closed shutters,
a neighbor/friend (not old)
decides it’s time to let death visit.
a phone call later—cancelled chemo—
he makes his peace and dies.
outside, sun plays with clouds in azure skies.
inside the empty chapel, darkness fills the stagnant space.
an ancient monk buries his head in his hands,
waits for the shroud of doubt to dissipate.
dementia creeps through tangled plaques in her brain.
with trembling fingers she punches in numbers,
asks her daughter to come in a hurry
before it’s too late to make her wishes known.
fingering bruises on her face,
the woman ventures out beyond the confines
of the world she knows.
$35.00 and change,
a scrappy paper bag of clothes,
a 3-year-old child in her arms,
she sets out hoping that there’s room for her,
the address of the shelter jotted
on a crumpled envelope
in her pockt—
the pocket of her husband’s red flannel shirt.
she hates her tattoo.
she hates her body.
sometimes she hates her life.
she longs to be accepted,
she walks away from those kids
when they offer her the drugs.
Offered for the Hero Prompt at dVerse Meeting the Bar. Join us soon…there’s still a bit of time left.
Photo: Creative Commons License
Small vignettes of people in pain touch the heart so.
This is wonderful.
Victoria, these were all portraits of day-to-day life made so real by your words. I especially related to the mother trying to get in touch with her daughter to make her wishes known… and the patient cancelling chemo. Something about not fearing death that is touching in its own right… and the parents with an autistic child, chilled me to the bone and reminded me how lucky I am to have a functional, “together” daughter like Riley. Thanks, and peace, Amy
Beautifully written scenes! I love seeing glimmers of hope and strength amongst sadness.
Such courage in all.
Victoria, such a wonderful write. I enjoyed it !
What beautiful and humbling word portraits. Thank you so much for sharing them.
This one hurt to read. But that means it was very effective. 😦 🙂
A great indepth look at the real heroes of this world…striving to get on with it the best they can.
There are some wonderful, sad and poignant snap shots of life here and I like this format of poem that is split into different sections, not something I do much myself but this is great. Hope you’re OK, kindest regards David
i meant…with open eyes…
wow victoria…so many different heroes…the silent ones…the ones we only notice when we walk this life which open eyes…you obviously do..
This is beautiful, Victoria. You’ve definitely dampened my eyes by describing the heroes you’ve noticed. Thank you.
Wonderful choices as heroes…yes, they are.
Thank you, Victoria, for being one who notices.
Yes, they are all heroes. You’ve touched my heart with this, Victoria. Thank you for the wonderful prompt.
What??? no stanza to glorify the athlete that makes millions of dollars??? or the rock star for whom girls throw panties onto the stage during concerts? 😉
Now, how did I forget them??? Easily.
What a great series of poignant vignettes portraying people who overcome circumstances, showing that human heroism we all admire. I think this brings together such diversity that it’s amazing how your heart has captured their trials. Number 5 is especially meaningful for me, since my mother had just this type of heroism.
oh snap…you got right into the grit…each one the heroes willing to stick it out or face their toughest challenge…i think on some level i know someone that fits pretty much each of these or has…nice fresh approach to your prompt too…you been holding out on us victoria…smiles…
Wonderful poem, Victoria–the particular details telling and individual. I especially like the close. K.
Love these sad-but-true slices of life. Heroes among us, indeed. Thank you for sharing this.