Endangered Afternoons

These endangered afternoons hang
like eggshells, suspended from a sky bleached by
its own wind, the way a desert seems like its own fault.
These afternoons are a different kind of barren,
pierced by spindly fingers of trees,
half-cracked by wasted plans, fading indistinctly
into the extinction of a deep and perilous evening.
Were these the longed-for afternoons I sought
when, drunk on the bee-sting venom of a sweltering afternoon,
alone in the jungle of my discontent,
I swore to another bleached-through sky
I would only ever love the winter?

Had I known then what I know now, would I have
been so eager to cast off the beaded arms
of friendlier warmth – not tensed so soon
or so fully, and learned to love the scent of a morning,
and learned the language of insects as they
spun their symphonies above my head?
Or would it have mattered to a girl
too young to be built on, fragile in extremity,
hardened by fear, unwillingly tanned –
was it that she was always unable to appreciate
the curve of a mountain hung with the scorched fruit
of a season? Am I still so illiterate – willfully so –
that the language of afternoons yet leaves me
so mutely terrified of time?

The afternoon is dying, but
I bear the curse of still being young,
earning still the bone antiquities that plague a soul
slowly brittling,
slowly shaved to sharpness –
must this be the way I grow old?

©K Paige Medina 1 December 2017

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Braver Love

Love,
we have cooled, haven’t we?
Slowed to the rhythm of days
we never saw coming,
preoccupied now with the minutes
that once seemed tenuous.
Is it granted, this life,
made up of the coffee spoons we
recycle without telling each other?

Or are we still
allowed to burn with the flames we once knew,
standing billowing upon the mountaintops
of hills we fought to crest,
when we were brave and excited?

Let us not go gentle
into the twilight of our love’s forgetting,
but make of life
a more impassioned cry

and remember once more
that ecstasy does not keep,
but must be found and caught
like the fireflies we saw in humid nights.

It is work, this
braver love, this
scaling of walls, this
looking at another person and seeing them
as another universe filled with light and sound and fury
and yes,
the smallness, too,
the inconsistency
of fireflies.

I will not sit
to watch love wilt in jars;
let us climb again
those towers that yearn for, but do not reach,
the stars.

©K Paige Medina 27 March 2017

Cinnamon Afternoon

What is this magic–
This calming of light,
Cooling itself into gold?
What, then, this alchemy
Bubbling greenery into
Fire and sunsets?
What the cinnamon afternoons,
What the transference of life
Suddenly from skin into sky,
The brilliance of time
Passing gently
Into an older light,
A quieter music,
A distant and welcome memory of home–

© K Paige Medina 9/16/2016

Suspension

Is there a creature left on earth
Unafraid of falling–
Of the violence of shaken ground,
Of time suddenly stalling–
Do fish flung back to sea
Feel relief or feel afraid?
Are they sorry then to cease the
Soaring flight that they had made?
Can they mourn the loss of flying
Though it ended in a fall,
Or do they swim away instead
And never fear at all?

For I’ve been flung, myself,
Into abysses I have known,
And never been the happier
For once more falling home.

©K Paige Medina 6/30/16

The Clock Breaks

Clocks are very lonesome things, as
their tireless ticking shows;
what other thing holds time itself
in regimented rows?
Its hands are stiff and even,
its face is round yet sallow,
its purpose simple yet mundane,
its love broken and fallow.
And yet it keeps on ticking,
marching out to dust the time
in metrical perfection–
its sisyphean rhyme.

A clock does not ask questions
nor ponder why it moves
time from life to seconds,
as its ceaseless slicing proves.
A clock could never face
the senselessness of time
were it alive and breathing

imperfectly.