On Remembering his Melancholy
Carol Lynn Grellas
He was a rover with his hands, a brilliant fool
in need of a challenge, but I was only asking
for romance and a windy breath to ride away
on. We were strapped within ourselves, over
polished with manners, heavy with expectations.
It’s hard to recall the way he held me
too careful for passion, no caress worthy
of lament, yet I can’t forget his brother’s
death and the nights we cried inside my bedroom
when even the softest touch gave way
to an open brokenness. A dying took
place in his eyes and I wanted to hold him
with the kind of courage it takes to heal
that kind of sorrow, though it was more
than I could bear. Unmeasured grief wept
through his skin, my body doused with tears,
aching and weighted with loss, then failure for trying
to absorb that kind of mourning.
Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is a six-time Pushcart nominee and Best of the Net nominee. She is the recent winner of the Red Ochre Press Chapbook contest with her entry Before I Go to Sleep. She has authored several chapbooks and two echaps along with her latest full-length collection of poems: Epistemology of an Odd Girl, newly released from March Street Press. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online and print magazines including: The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Able Muse, Poets and Artists, The Foliate Oak and many more. According to family lore she is a direct descendent of Robert Louis Stevenson.
While I address the children, there's a way they gaze at me,
as though I am a mystic wearing motherly attire.
Sometimes there’s need for magic, as I go about my chores,
I'd tell them they are very wrong, but then I'd be a liar.
Since every day I whisper truths that ricochet about
I have been guilty more than once for not dispelling notions.
Escaping capture, I possess the cunning of a sleuth,
in knowing I've no hiding place to brew my sparkling potions.
It's only now and then erroneous beliefs are born,
performing wizardry with certain spells on dreary nights,
uncovering a miracle, allured by fantasy.
I've let them think I'm made of silver flecks and Christmas lights.
As tinsel trickles over apron strings, upon my feet,
imploring I am nothing more than me when I begin.
With thoughts of whimsy from their lips, of dreams they pray come true
their wishes carry beauty, giving hope, and so I grin.
On Our Way Memorial Day
We drove that day beyond the meadows
away from home, passing all the broken boughs
sweeping eroding roads,
moving towards wherever branches go.
They’re always traveling from last night’s storm,
collecting under a Cherry tree.
There’s nowhere left we need to see.
No place will surprise me anymore.
We’ve dropped through every secret hole
landing in paradise once or twice,
weaving through peach orchard tails
where the scent of Bellini’s laced the air.
We’ve supped in
ducking in and out of rain, tasting voices all the same
I have pigeons here at my feet,
though I’m far from Saint Marco’s square.
If you hide your riches high,
no thief will ever find them there
Oh Galileo, magnifier of Heaven
I’m swinging like a pendulum
yet unaware of any length,
hanging from a point that’s fixed
and always ends, at seven.
Call to Mind
I told her we were there last week;
had Greek coffee in her kitchen,
she was dressed black again
just like she has for forty years.
We checked the closets for lost
ghosts and told the nurse
her favorite channels, both of us
covered in a patchwork quilt
with the heater cranked to ninety.
She squeezed my hand extra hard;
pressed it like a piece of fruit,
kissed my face on either side
then twice as we were leaving.
She said she had forgotten that
wondered if we’d be there soon,
I could have told her anything
as long as I said, yes.
CAROL LYNN GRELLAS is a Northern California-based writer. She attended Santa Clara University where she was an English and Art major. Her Chapbook: Litany of Finger Prayers will be released in 2008 from Pudding House Press. Her second Chapbook, Object of Desire will be released in 2008 from Finishing Line Press. She has had dozens of poems appear in magazines and online journals, including most recently, The Oasis Ezine, The Oasis Online, Las Cruces for Poets & Writers, Munyori Poetry Journal, Words on Paper, The Pregnant Moon Review Moondance, Dogzplot,Twilight Musings Anthology, The Verse Marauder, A Tender Touch, MSU Great Falls Literary Guild: Writings from the River, The Storyteller Magazine, Kingly Blue, Ken*again, Chanterelle's Notebook, The New Mirage Quarterly, Silenced Press, The Hiss Quarterly and Flutter. She has poems forthcoming in The Oak and Bend Review, Octaves Eight and The Boston Literary Review. Her first book, I'm Packing Things for Heaven was published in 2007. She is a moderator of an online writer's workshop, The Critical Poet. She lives with her husband, five children and a blind dog named Ginger, who inspire much of her poetry.
MOTIVATION: "My children, faith and love..."