“Justice” and other poems by Rachel Lauren Storm

Justice

I believe in transformation,
pupa-to-winged emergence.

I believe in the power of the
pulsating chrysalis
the eating of lessons and
the uncurling of fetal winters.

I believe in the stillness of
calm after storm
the redressing of old wounds
and the snakeskin-shed of bandages.

I believe anger is grief in new clothes,
I believe violence her stillborn child.
Wrapped in cloth and carried
over our jagged terrain, cradled
in the skeletal arms of the dead.

I believe in the fading of scars,
the catching of tears in the old jelly jar,
and drinking in their medicine.

I believe in transformation.
And the movement beyond.

[Justice was first published in the Spring 2020 issue of CURA Magazine]


Death and Waking

Thank you for the reminder.
 I suppose I needed it.
 Had almost forgotten to
 squeeze your hand upon parting.

I won’t ever do it again.
 Or at least not when I think of it.
 I’ll finish the fight before bed.
 Make sure I’m calling my mother.

Sure, sometimes I’ll fall into old ways,
 Patterns of habits formed in my sleep.
 Sweat rings embroidered into my pillow,
 when I was dreaming of life without death.

But I am awake now,
 Still drying my clothes from the freezing bath,
 Picking icicles out of my hair.
 I promise to cherish it here.


The Gendering of Cotacachi

With each fragmented patch of earth,
that Andean sun-god catches her step
until she is falling against the wayra,
toward the mud fence at the foot of
her curves; this mountain her homeland.

A mother, that hushed story-teller,
whispered to wide-eyed babes,
the aged myths of the mountain.
Told of how the sleeping volcano appeared
to dreaming men as woman, blonde, blue,
and pigeon-toed; her deformities
aberrant, but captivatingly beautiful.


THE LAST HAIRCUT
For Patricia Connolley Schaefer (1938 - 2016)

I remember folding hair between blades,
cut/comb 
    cut/comb
         cut/comb
gray straw
dried as candlewax

I remember trying not to break them
fragile strands I’d known so well
cut/comb 
    cut/comb
         cut/comb
dull shears
a dangerous dance

I remember touching your crown
skin-cracked and peeling there
cut/comb 
    cut/comb
         cut/comb
like old newspaper clippings
breaking between fingers

I remember smelling your scent
sweet smoke and dryer sheets
cut/comb 
    cut/comb
         cut/comb
trimmed pieces
falling like leaves

I remember your gratitude
When the cut was nearly done
cut/comb 
    cut/comb
         cut/comb
your kiss on my cheek
your frail embrace

I remember loving you then
Hair wrapped ‘round my finger
cut/comb 
    cut/comb
         cut/comb
not yet foreseeing  
this last goodbye

Justice and other poems © Rachel Lauren Storm