Eve’s Lament

I’ll take the blame, OK? Relax. I will.

I ate the apple from that bloody tree.

But don’t get in my face all loud and shrill

The reason at the time made sense to me.

You’ve heard that I was made from Adam’s rib

I thought that meant that I was his first wife

And then I heard that story was a fib

Some broad named Lilith had once shared his life.

I needed knowledge! Where was I to go?

The Tree of Good and Evil! it would tell!

What’s up with Lilith? What else should I know?

To live in ignorance, I feel, is hell.

And so I took a deep and juicy bite.

And all I learned is I am not too bright.

Siblings

My sister Martha is no way like me.

When she heard He was coming to our house

She yelled out, “Mary, we can’t let Him see

A dirty home!” She glared through knitted brows.

She took a broom and thrust it in my hand

As she declared, “You clean. I’ll make a meal.”

“What for?” I thought. “He’ll bring that scraggly band

That tracks in dirt and stinks of fish and creel.”

Instead, I waited for Him at the door,

Ushered Him in, and then sat at His feet

To hear His words, His wisdom to adore.

Then Martha called out with an angry bleat.

“Lord, don’t you care she’s left me all the work?”

He asked, “Her chores or Me. Which should she shirk?”

Shoulds

I should get up from this chair.

I should take a shower and get dressed.

I should go see my husband in the hospital.

I should clean the house before the house cleaners come, so the house is ready when he comes home.

I should start the painting that’s driving me crazy, begging to be put on canvas.

I should put all the scraps of information I’ve been gathering into the notebook I bought.

I should pack and mail out all the varnished paintings sitting in my living room.

I should wash the dishes and clean the sink. And the counters. And the floors.

I should break up all the boxes Amazon has been raining upon me, and take them to the dumpster.

I should bag up all the garbage in the house and take it to the dumpster.

I should bandage my bad knee before going to the dumpster.

I should buy new bandages for my bad knee.

I should make an appointment with a doctor about my bad knee.

I should make a dentist’s appointment.

I should have lunch with friends before my schedule tightens up.

I should have lunch.

I should get up from this chair and make something.

I should get up from this chair.

Caretaker

Everyone has questions

Even those who should have answers

And I’m supposed to know

The information they seek.

I don’t even know what to ask.

I only know I’m lost

And I’ve been put in charge

Of something I can’t control

Or deal with.

I pray to God for strength

And I pray the people around me

Not to press

Not to yell

Not to add to the guilt I feel

Or expect me to satisfy

Their wish for a reasonable plan of action.

I don’t have one.

But when I do

I’ll let them know.

This I would dye for

Sometimes it’s mud

Sometimes it’s stone

Some comes from long dead

Egyptian king’s bones

Which then may be mixed

With the sweat of crushed flax

And thinned with pine resin

Or thickened with wax.

It’s slathered on fabric

Coated with collagen

Of boiled bunny rabbits

(Who will not hop again)

And it somehow pulls out

Bright new worlds from the cloth

Landscapes and portraits

And abstracts and froth.

Luminous, glorious

This tint without taint

Is my greatest obsession:

A glob of oil paint.

Instructions

Sing Schubert’s Ave Maria

And sing Amazing Grace

I’ll be singing with you

At the right tempo and pace.

Tell me the Lord is My Shepherd

Lift up mine eyes to the hills

Speak David’s words in King James’ tongue

Their cadence gives me chills.

Take me out with a show tune

“Corner of the Sky” is a must;

But whisper the truth as I enter the ground:

“Another One Bites the Dust.”

Frustration

Shut up.

Don’t ask.

No matter how much you care

It’s not your place to find out

Whether they’re looking

Or trying

Or following through

Or even initiating changes

Which could impact their lives

And frankly, yours.

Shut up.

They’re sensitive.

Your questions make them uncomfortable

And maybe even hurt.

You hurt, of course, but that doesn’t matter.

You’ve lived your life.

Let them live theirs.

Asynchronous

S l o w l y h e p o s i t i o n s t h e p l a t e

As I dig into my meat and potatoes

H e r e a c h e s f o r t h e m u s t a r d

And I take a deep drink from my glass

H e s p r e a d s t h e m u s t a r d o n t h e m e a t

As I notice how quickly my potatoes are disappearing

W h i l e h e p i c k s u p h i s f o r k a n d d a n g l e s i t o v e r h i s f o o d

And I cut up my last piece of meat.

H e t a k e s h i s f i r s t b i t e.

A n d c h e w s. A n d c h e w s. A n d c h e w s.

The family palette

My father looked like Sun Yat Sen

My sister like Rosie Perez

My mother’s father had bright blue eyes

My own are like brandy from Jerez.

I once had nappy, tight brown curls

Before I grew old and arthritic

My children don’t look much like me

Their visage is frankly Semitic.

All colors and races infuse in our veins

Our skin cannot quite tell the story

But we feel like rays in a prism

Refracting God’s own glory.