The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton
Our tattered aprons waving like deceitful flags in the wind,
we are indignant and undignified, berating our own haggard selves
as we leap over thise lines separating the kitchen
from rooms where we live, eat, breathe, swear, are silent, and sleep.
Unscarred by the million flames that came before our rage untethered itself,
created by rubbing sticks against stones
or built carefully with chopped wood and layered kindling,
it matters not - still, we feel their burn.
Grateful for the comfort of warmth and furious at eons of destruction -
animate or inanimate, there is wealth and poverty within us all.
We do not rise and bloom merely because it is Spring once more.
Perhaps we stand to make sure Winter has left and will not return
until seasons and time determine his intrusion as necessity.
Beyond weak light, on that unseen side, there is strength
and fierce heat ravaging other landscapes
while we shiver and mewl pitifully.
Women bake kneaded loaves
as portents against the hollowed fears of lack,
of emptiness, of starvation - not only of body, but of spirit, as well -
it is that dearth which summons death to our thresholds,
its shadows lengthening until we are engulfed by its madness
and become mute.
Music leaves us, barren, a brief remembrance at best -
a ghost of fragmented memory at worst.
Lift your heavy heels and dance while you can,
before darkness falls and unwanted creatures stir,
penetrating delightful dreams with dire dread.
O Women, gather your children, both young and old,
and break your beautiful bread before it grows stale.
Raise your cups high and toast daylight with praise,
darkness with defiance - let shadows admire your strength
before they steal it and swiftly disappear.