Saturday, June 2, 2018

Direction


Photo by Gellinger on pixabay

5:30am
Mom gently touches
my hair
wakes me.

I dress in slow motion
sleep walk upstairs
out the door
down the front steps
into the blue van
onto the make-shift bunk.
Paisly patterned mattress
the magic carpet
that carries me
and my brother
across the landscape
to visit again the family
mom left behind
in another land.

But first
sleep.

Green and rock blur by.
Stretched out,
propped up on elbows
I’m awake,
but my world changes before me
as if a dream.

My brother and I read comics, play cards, tell jokes
read books, count half houses on trailers and other
oddities seen on road trips, read license plates, eat snacks…
sleep.

Blue flame heats lunch
on the picnic table. Mom stirs
beans and wieners
again. Tomorrow we’ll eat real food, but
I don’t mind camper’s fare.

Last night on the road,  
light from the rest stop threatens
to keep me awake. Suddenly
the engine starts.
Mom’s awake and ready
to be there, to be home again.
Maybe to just be off the road
with two kids
and a cat or a dog
or sometimes both.

Rural before city.

Corn fields follow us
for miles. I wonder why we can’t stop
and get some.
I can almost reach it.

Thud!

Black meets glass.
A crow.

My father stops.
Pulls over
climbs out
gently lifts the bird’s limp body
from the windshield
carries it towards
waves of corn
turned dark
by slant light.
He lays the bird
to rest
in a grass gutter.

We pull away in silence.
Somehow aware
that what is contained
in our blue van,
the family that flies
across landscapes
will change.

The magic carpet rides
through seas of corn and granite
stop
three years later.
Then in two more years
before I’m fifteen
Dad
ill
disappears.

He leaves
us for golden fields
or piles of sawdust
like those he waded through
as he made
and made.
He left to
fly with the crow.
He took
Mom’s sense of direction
with him.

The crow reappeared
thirteen years ago.
This time
it hit me.
Its wing gently
brushed my hair
brought back
my point of compass,
directed me south.
Another journey,
this time through air
on new found wings
to a new life
a new family.

©2011 Joanne Young Elliott

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Ship in a Bottle. A Memory in Time.


Artwork by Leola Walker

You can find her work here at her blog.

A tiny ship alone on a shelf finds itself
once again born from shadow’s
memory of a time where his hands

longed to reach up hold this miracle
a ship in a bottle forever encased
with masts raised in the night

under a dusty desk lamp.
Rough hands made tender by delicate
placements in glass.

On the floor with clunky wood trucks
and trains he was silenced
by the weight of the moment

when masts were raised
gently tugged by a thread  
between thick fingers.

Then slowly the ship set sail
in his imagination
and in his hands now finally rests.

Hands smooth and used to
keeping books not sails and ropes
holds this treasure of the past.

The sun begins to rise. Within
that tiny glass bottle his heart rides
the waves, feels the wind

knows him who now sails the seas
outside time and memory. Stares into
early morning rays. Remembers

harrowing tales of ghost ships
and crushed limbs. Becomes
lost in the swells lit with the light

returning to the dark ocean waters
shining on the early morning calm
bringing him back from the storm.

© 2012 Joanne Elliott

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Emergent



Photo by spiker on pixabay

The sun emerges from behind its grey blanket.
Love emerges from behind the glass wall.
The soul emerges from its dark night.
What was is becoming known again.
The veil lifts and all returns.

Joanne Young Elliott ©2016

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Camp (An island of memories anchored by stones my soul knows by heart.)



Lake Hubley from The Camp - photo by Amanda Young

My foot lands on the next stone
and the next.
In this way I walk around the Camp,
an island rimmed with stone
on Hubley Lake’s rocky waters.

Round and round I go

Blue grey water eases in
and out of crevices.
I hear the glop, glop
as it hits rock.
Life breathes in and out
as I walk counter clock-wise
around this home
away from home.

Cabin
wood burning stove
well
outhouse
dock
boat house
all ancient
to an eight-year old’s
sense of time…

and here time has slipped
back to a past
where tiny porcelain dolls
with painted faces and
movable limbs play
in a tiny church.
Here the past is layered
in the scent of wood smoke
and the memories of others.

Round and round I go

I look across rippled waters
see another island. Wonder
who walks its paths.
A whole other world
only a boat ride away.

I continue my rounds.

In the distance, a stretch of beaches
where we catch minnows
as soft sand squishes
between our toes.

Round and round I go

I come to the lookout.
A huge, lichen covered rock
waits for me to climb up
become a part of it
as the wind blows
and the sun
breaks through
drifting clouds…

Round and round…

The Camp lives on
as cousins rebuild
take care
layer in more memories
that by now must be so thick
you can barely move
without being pulled back
to another time.

Round and round it goes…

And perhaps,
beyond the mists
my father
young
with his brother
building
repairing
cleaning fish
cooking
laughing…


© 2015 Joanne Elliott

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Break Ground





The paved world
has to go.

We need to break ground
unbuild this edifice

we call civilization.
The Earth needs

breathing room or
we’ll cook in the heat

that is never fully
released

held within hard surfaces
rising at night

building clouds that
never rain down.

Nothing escapes
and the cycle replays

each day until
our thermometers

can no longer read
our meltdown.

©2015 Joanne Elliott