Poem: Blooms Among the Stones

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Blooms Among the Stones

You stand on your front porch,
barefooted in the cold,
coffee in your hand, looking up
at the mountain of slate just across the road.

Abandoned for decades, it is a thing of color,
the trees, wild flowers and vines
dying magnificently in the October air,
proof that when left to its own devices
nature emerges from even the best efforts
of murder.

There are birch trees there, in improbably yellow.
Poison ivy drapes over the stone like dripping blood.
tufts of orange and brown and a few hangers on
still greet pop out of the rocks like groundhogs.

This is where you live, a place chosen
perhaps for the wrong reasons, chosen
in a time of drowning,
a time when love had turned to hate
and each lie piled on the other like old stones in the quarry.

It was a kind of burial, the body still alive,
confused and lost and unable to fight back,
unable even to recognize the enemy,
able only to let the stones fall mercilessly.

The thing is.
Nothing ever dies.

I did not know this, lying in the dark,
a corpse, a murder victim
listening
to the elegy of hate being read over my grave
a rewriting of history
made more compelling by passion than truth,
its lies designed, crafted,
to make my existence a dark moment in history,
buried
forever.

The thing is,
nothing ever dies.

And despite the black place that was left
where once I lived,
where I was unable to fight back,
unable to wield a sword,
only able to lay in my funeral pyre,
I grew.

Like the wildflowers in the quarry, I grew.
Like the trees in the quarry, I grew,
my roots stronger than ever,
my colors brighter,
my strength honed in stone and Vermont winters,
in hours and days whispering love songs to God,
tempered in my strange resurrection, new opportunities
to roar my anger,
able, in my survival to tell tales
with sharp edges, to tell truths
that would cut and rip and leave behind me
the corpse, oh yes, the corpse,
of any who tried again to rewrite a story that was not theirs,
but mine.

But instead,
I chose the quiet.
I chose the simple joy of blooming among the stones.
I chose to love the ones that came my way
and let the stones fall where they may,
for I am the writer of no history of my own,
and that is enough.

More than enough.
So you may rest
securely.

There is no vengeance in these bones.
only a joyful truth
borne out in the bright colors across the way
in the quarry.

I smile as I sip the last of my coffee.
My lover awaits inside.
It is warm there, and safe from the coming storm.
More coffee steams on the stove
in this far away place that turned out
not to be my grave,
but my salvation.

The thing is,
nothing ever dies.

About this poem

I have spent the week talking to people whose stories have elements familiar to me, of being worn and broken, terribly broken, by the actions of others, and by their own actions. Their journeys have been tragic….. and triumphant. 

It was thinking of their stories that I wrote this. If you think you recognize elements of this, perhaps you do, but it is not your story or my story. It’s all of our stories. 

Tom 

PS – I will be off the grid for a few days. Not to worry. 

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