Terri Drake

Thin Veil Through the Thinning Trees

The Parsonage Garden at Neunen in Winter by Vincent van Gogh

limb upon limb wretched bereft fingers
from the other side of who knows what
you are now if not some web of memory
etched deep in the hippocampus
horse-shaped bit of brain trying to arrange
your absence into making any sense
olfactory hallucination when the smell of lavender
reaches in from the breeze ….

Your picture on the altar mostly altered
from who you were in those skeletal last days
of opium dreams that made you say
the most amazing things half here
half there bone down to bone
rib to rib of human beginnings
begin where you tempted me

Sweet flesh, dear ghost photo
captured for all time I won’t say
eternity which curls and fades
against the drapes opening and
closing as the light rises and
fades pays homage to the lyrics
of your hours and years
Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos
your life’s score drifting its ghost
notes through the silenced room
where the dogs curled at our feet
room where the light crept in
from summer’s wheat-colored hills
room where your last breath lingers

here are my offerings my suffering
my path of marigold petals
guiding you home fragrant and
brief once blazing their way
through your days your bouquet
held tightly then let go


About the writer:
Terri Drake is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her collection of poems, At the Seams, was published by Bear Star Press. Her poems have appeared in Quarry West, Perihelion, Fearsome Critters, and From Whispers to Roars, among others. She is a practicing psychoanalyst in Santa Cruz, California.

Image: The Parsonage Garden at Neunen in Winter by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Drawing. Pen and brown ink, lead white on paper. 1884. Public domain.