Archives for posts with tag: daughters

nick-kane-VZ1Gjc5MP-Y-unsplash copy
My Lockdown Mask
by Carolyn O’Connell

I’ve not walked through the woods with you
heard the chime of bluebells, or passed
the garden where the wooden dinosaur rises
over the young trees planted last year.

I’ve not had hugs from you or sat at your table
while you prepared dinner, your girls
winding a path of chatter through the house
as you juggle being teacher, mother, and daughter.

Enclosed like a vestal in some far temple:
a hostage in a blue mask to the Pandemic God;
as the sun wakens earlier each morning
and others congregate below my window
like the blackbirds chattering in the hedge.

My mask sits unworn for everything’s delivered
and I’m seen only on the video of my computer
it’s the window of my Anchorite’s cell
where friends appear seeking my words.

While you in a handmade mask travel to teach
to children who’d rather be at home –
though they’re teens they know they’ll never get an “A”
they don’t know the meaning of social distance
but you’ll support them as you’ve always done.

I’m waiting for the day I can walk with you again
when arm in arm we’ll walk beside the river
and look back upon these days when you
came to me, when we only spoke as I stood at the door.

There I can sometimes see your daughters,
who sit quietly on the far step I cannot cross
for you have taught them how to social distance.

Photo of a walk beside the river by Nick Kane on Unsplash

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is a reflection and conversation with my daughter on how it feels living in Lockdown and not having gone further than the front step since it began.

oconnell

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carolyn O’Connell lived in London but now lives in Cheshire U.K. She has been published in Envoi, Reach, and other magazines, online and print, and in anthologies. Her debut collection Timelines was published by Indigo Dreams 2014. Her poems have been translated into Romanian via The University of Bucharest Translation Café/Poetrypf.com PoetryR/O project. Visit her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, at Goodreads, and here.

bhatia
Me, in a HAT, Without Her
by Megha Punjabi

The thoughts of despair, often termed as unjust
What is fair and what is not
Who is to decide, when one gets what one deserves.
As I walk by the canal, the wind passes through the strands of my hair
I take out the hat from my bag
The hat, which was a gift from my mother

I had turned 18 that year, last birthday with my mom
Because then I was an adult to lead my life without her
Or, so did my fate conclude, I was left alone in this world
Never hugged her enough, never kissed her enough
And didn’t love her, the way she deserved
Only sobbed enough, in her absence, when the emptiness never
     seemed to be filled

Hat, you are a very precious thing to me
Last token of love from her
I wear it when I miss her the most
Only end up, missing her even more
Also, sometimes reliving the memories, I never want to fade away
Tears might have found their place, and doesn’t roll down the cheeks
     anymore.

But what do I do about that empty part in my heart
Which never seem to feel the same, without you?
Sometimes I see you in my dreams
And then you vanish into a land
Where I can’t reach or see you.
I wish I could rewind and live those days with you again.

PHOTO: The author in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (July 2016)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My first visit to the continent of Europe, took me to the beautiful city, Amsterdam, Netherlands, it was like “love at first sight”. The place took me to another world, which is nowhere but, inside me. It kind of helped me connect with my inner soul and my mom. The black hat which I wore was my mom’s last gift to me, who passed away 9 years ago in 2007.

bio_bhatia

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Megha Punjabi was born on 28th September 1989 in India, Asia. She has done her masters in Finance and Human resource. She has a spiritual bent of mind with a keen desire of writing poetry. Currently handling her family business of readymade garments in Lucknow, India, she also aspires to write a book.

leotta beach photo
Shells of the Summer of ’62
by Joan Leotta

The soft ripple of low tide
rolled in to chill our toes.
Dad said the damp sand
was good for walking.
He pulled up the collar of my jacket.
Wind was pushing dark clouds our way.
There’d be no afternoon of sun and sandcastles.
We hopped over lines of soft white foam
zigzagging across the strip of brown sand
between our place and the ocean.
Gulls screeched, “Go back!”
I never looked up. My eyes were set
to hunt treasures in dawn’s tide.
At last I spotted something!
An orange fan! A perfect scallop shell!
Surf crashed with sudden interest in my search.
Foam fingers fastened on my prize,
pulling it back out into the ocean.
“Dad!”

Without even rolling up his pants,
he chased the wave back out toward the rocks.
He bent over and put down his hand.
Another wave swelled up.
“Dad, look out!”
In another second he was completely soaked.
But he had my shell.
I have it still.

SOURCE: First published in Older Eyes, Younger Tongues, Anthology, Northwoods Press (1990), and shared with friends on Facebook a year ago for Father’s Day.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me (right) at the beach in Hyannis, Massachusetts, but a couple of years after the events of the poem—with my cousin, also named Joan.

shell

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Our family took a one week vacation every year. In 1962, when I was 14, my mother wanted to go to Cape Cod for our vacation. So, we drove 12 hours to Hyannis from Pittsburgh. I announced I was going to get up at dawn to hunt for seashells because I had read it was the best time to find them. My father gave up his vacation sleep-ins to get up with me. Every day.

gabriel dileonardo

After he died in 1987, my Mom found a box of seashells in our basement—my collection from that 1962 vacation. It was then this poem came to me. The actual incident never occurred, but the poem describes my dad so well that anyone who knew him, thinks it’s a real story until I explain. When I talk about poetry to school groups I often read the poem and then show the audience the shell pictured above right. Yes, I still have the box of shells. My Dad? Well, he is always in my heart. (Photo: The author’s father, Gabriel DiLeonardo.)

joan-leotta2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta has been writing, performing, and collecting seashells since childhood. Now that she lives near the beach, in Calabash, North Carolina, her husband thought she would stop collecting. He was wrong. Joan’s picture book, Rosa’s Shell (coming out in 2017 from THEAQ LLC) is based on this poem.