Face Off

Dropping pretensions is a bit
presumptuous. Prying parts 
that have grown into the matter
with us, gotten under our skin
is beyond the cosmetic surgical
scalpel’s perimeters.

What about that gut feeling which
roils at reminders why so&so made 
a miff in one’s middle organs and along
the long intestinal road – that fortitude
has forgone, forgotten, leaving its host
forlorn, not knowing how to return to 
the lungs for a needed grief session. 

Yet, in that despair is undoubtedly where
with a glimmer of care, awareness can
emerge, the dirge of self & projected 
retributions can flow out and float into 
the cloud of unknowing, dissipated into
no where, the face off. 

—Martha Ward

White Velvet

White velvet petals, modestly 
moist, rest on dark jade leaves 
giving their magnolia fragrance to the 
warm summer morning. 

Browned bodies of jade, servants to earlier
blooms, lie aground in surrender 
& supplication to reigning beauties. 

These seasonless leaves live in anticipation,
await the appearance of the buds they ache to serve,
enhancing the display of each bloom as it swells
to its peak, only to fall at the feet of their successors,
browning among the leaves.

This ritual, redolent, languid yet attentive. 
Faithful love undone limb by limb, 
leaf & bloom. 

—Martha Ward

—Photo by Dennis Fagan