By Retta Lewis

The Memory of Mother

Will anything be said or done
To ensure the memory of mother?
The whole world witnessed her rise and fall,
And now the rise again.

Who will do as much
As we know she did for us?

Who will speak her truth,
And not make lies of it?

Who will do for her
What has she done for time?

Who will speak her name?
Who will do these things?

What will they say,
Or attempt to say,
And how will we give it meaning?

Grace Period

After this pause,
Maybe I’ll want to perform
In the circus
That sponsored this new edge
To my insight;

Maybe the words that slid off the tongue
To shape three thousand of my nights,
Won’t seem as sharp as a blades
Slice through flesh,
Or as deep,
Or jaggedly drawn.

Maybe the day will begin
To yield to day,
And maybe I will concede,
And begin to yield to it.

And Among Its Ruins I Found

Denied a life
I did not seek,
I vowed to seek
Its opposite;

And among its ruins I found
The same uneven truths;
The same denials,
And phony access
To all I did not want.

The same rejection and deceit.
A fame of margins and degrees,
Outside of which I lived and breathed,
And vowed, but found no opposite.

A Line Drawn in The Sand

When truth became more than a line drawn in the sand,
And a fearful knowledge,
And terrible wisdom came,
Perhaps it was to be expected
That the natives would become restless;

That men of many theories,
And fraught conspiracies,
Would reach for heights
Beyond the human journey.

Enough to rival a catalogue
Of ideologies,
And yet, it was not beneath them.

A reign of questionable worth,
And of ignobility
Would follow in their wake.

Every narrative a grift,
And each century a fire—
In their own way blazing trails,
In their own way making history.

The New Ones

With their theories on life—
And no use for its symbols—
New starry-eyed hopefuls
Are beginning to signify,
As chaos stands poised to engulf them.

Their voices will not whisper,
But roar.
Defending none with lies,
They will speak loud,
And without forgiveness.

They will not bow,
Nor be defined,
By a way that is,
Or used to be.

A million dreams will crash and burn,
A million stars will shudder and fall.

They will build without a blueprint,
They will fail and learn no fear.

You will see their ways,
You will know their methods.

Every story will make it in,
Or they will build upon the ashes.

Retta Lewis’ work has appeared in past journals like Onionhead, Free Focus, Wide Open Magazine, and Up Against the Wall, Mother, and more recently her work has appeared in Children, Churches & Daddies, Caveat Lector, Rigorous, Ephemeral Elegies, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal,  and Penumbra Online. Lewis’ day job is working in a field devoted to the prevention of Domestic Violence.

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