Harvest Sunset, photo by Mark Weinrich
Cotton dust hovers
in the west Texas sky.
Dust that sparks and flares,
igniting windows of coals,
so mesmerizing and warm,
I want to hold out my hands.
For I expect the flickering pop,
the comfort and fellowship
where I can find myself
by looking in.
For I know
this burning majesty
and through dust
is only a reflection
of what the Lord
wants to radiate
Galaxies of dew-stars
twinkle across the meadow.
flashing bronze and gold
soaking in every particle
of warmth for their daily flight.
The whispered hum of bees
mining sweetness reaches me.
But like the butterflies
I still bear the heaviness
of the morning’s chill.
Finally, a swallowtail shivers
with excitement sipping nectar
from an iris. It reminds me
of a boy dancing at the front door
coat half on and off, “It’s Spring.
I can’t, I can’t stay inside.”
And like the boy and butterfly
I find the grace of this new day,
When I was declared in remission
parts of my body had forgotten
I was alive.
Effectively I’d taken a chemo trip
and part of my luggage was lost somewhere.
I’ve heard of amputees and phantom pain,
when a missing limb feigns it is still there.
For pity’s sake, I had everything, minus
some hair, why couldn’t my hands,
taste, and smell, tell me they are there?
Early one morning, two months later,
I stumbled into the kitchen
my wife had just ripped open
a yogurt cup. Something fruity
like strawberry or raspberry
exploded into the air.
Instantly this upspring from
within like the gentle thunder
of geese leaping from the water,
like a fountain of ecstatic
memories, our wedding day,
the births of our children
all fragranced together.
I was swept up in gratitude
and tears of joy.
If sifting life’s seconds is possible
I know now, eight years later,
I smelled the sun rise.
UNDER THE STREET LIGHT
Seals and Crofts were rising with “The King of Nothing.”
Dad declared I had descended with that king.
My collar had met my hair and I was sentenced
to the front yard teaching myself guitar.
There was too much spiritual edge for playing
in the house; a storm front, where my father
found my life an irritation.
I played into the night after work as a nursing aide
I caressed the strings under the streetlight globe.
I lowered my voice to blend. And someone
else took over, crying and rejoicing
from the inside out. Had I split my skin,
and somehow crawled within?
There was this joyous ambrosia, a tenderness of soul,
a refuge where my mind was sowed
and virtual flowers rose like daffodils breaking snow.
I practiced room to nursing home room
discovering the gospel songs that bore time-traveling
fruit. I was astonished at the tears and gratitude.
Forty years later, Dad was dying in a nursing home.
Parkinson’s was having its way with him.
Bouts of rage were frequent. The storms
calmed when my wife and I sat beside him.
My fingers flowed, I closed my eyes and sang
to the Lord for him. I prayed God’s Spirit
would pierce the shroud of disease and reveal His grace.
And the lessons I’d learned under that dome of light
carried us away.
Mark Weinrich is a gardener, hiker, musician, cancer survivor, and retired pastor. His work has been published in numerous literary and inspirational magazines. He has also sold eight children’s books and currently has two fantasy novels on Kindle.