Wednesday, June 07, 2006


When my cousin turned eighteen,
she asked if she would go psychotic
like her sister
and two brothers before her--
believe the Nazis had poisoned her,
that she was an unrecognized
minister from France,
or end up in an institution
until she forgot who she was when she went.

I was a psychologist,
but what did I know?
The moon could explode tomorrow,
or dinasaurs could come shooting
out of black holes to rule
our planet like Godzilla did.

My baby cousin,
the tagalong,
the tail at the end of the kite
the five of us formed
those Montreat summers,
flying down the steep mountain road,
breathless and barefoot
to plunge headlong into Lake Susan,
so sure life would bring wildflowers
to our hands, forever.

She was never poisoned by the Nazis,
didn't preach in France,
or knock her father flat to his back
on her rare visits home.

A tumor found her, instead.
Thick, like a vine, it slowly strangled her.

Her chair is empty now.
My phone never hands me her voice.

So sure she would outlive me,
I'd willed her the Family Bible
and grandmother's old chocolate set.

Maybe I'll list them on E-bay,
let somebody else
take over our family's hauntings, or

just maybe
I'll look for a field of wildflowers somewhere,
lie back, watch clouds
turn cartwheels through the silent sky
until dusk falls and petals
drop softly to pillow the ground
with memories.


steve said...

Wow - very powerful piece! Thank you for writing this. I will have to come back and read more!

Pris said...

Hi Steve
Thanks, and welcome to my blog!

Michael Parker said...

I love this!

Pris said...

Thanks, Michael..I got your note at MySpace, too, and appreciate both.

Pat Paulk said...

Always enjoying reading your poetry!!

Pris said...

Thanks, Pat...and ditto!

Carl Bryant said...

I love this, Pris!

Thanks for sharing it with the web.

Ellen M Johns said...

I love this Pris...the last stanza just shone through for me.

Pris said...

Thanks, Ellen!