by Judith Michaels Safford
The screen door whispers –
to a close --- the gate latch –
clinks quietly – Blue’s tail remains tucked
in the curl of a dreaming dog.
She walks the dirt road – like a teenager
sneaking out past midnight curfew.
St Nino’s Catholic Church, silent and empty,
sits at the road’s fork.
Turning right – she plants her feet.
She walks –
the only paved road in town
besides the highway behind by a quarter mile.
She inhales the dawn and space to
erase the four walls of yesterday’s face, as if
there is time and space and walls
in place forever.
If she wasn’t 80 she might
run and run. In truth –
she never ran, not even in
her youth and so
she walks to still the barking
mind – exhaling her shuddering shoulders –
shedding burdens of past and
present pain – while vultures circle heaven waiting
to feast on the debris.
Her soul knows her fear of what is –
Are her walls in place forever?
Can she be
his brain for him again today?
Time becomes static--
St. Nino’s casts a shadow like a sepulcher
of buried secrets.
HWY 180 awaits one-quarter mile ahead--
and down one-quarter block of a dirt road
awaits home, him and Blue.
* * * * *
In 2006, Judith Michaels Safford discovered a radio program on writing poetry. She mustered up the courage to press the send button. The invitation to read her words opened a door that had not previously existed. Judith self-published her memoir in 2009. Don’t Sell Your Soul, Memoir of a Guru Junkie. Her second book, Joyful Surrender, A pilgrimage, is a book of prayer poems. She has shared her poetry with many fellow poets as featured reader and at open mic in Silver City, NM, Her home is in Glenwood, New Mexico.