She moves like the world leans hard to the right,
a ship on a circular sea,
she's chained to the memory shrouded in mist,
the blood-red desire, and me.
Her voice is a reptile shedding its skin,
a bird in a rib cage of gold,
she makes a sound like a tick-tocking clock,
as the memories around her unfold.
She slept with her head at the foot of the bed,
her dreams lost their way in the dark,
they wandered around the bedroom at night,
erasing the day's gilded mark.
She's hidden the past in a small wooden box,
it's empty, except for a key,
it opens the door to a room full of mirrors,
There's a stone on her grave in the shape of a heart
from the land of the long white cloud,
I can hear her whispering fragmented words,
wrapped in the earth's muddy shroud.
She rides a black horse through the fires of hell,
the devil is calling her name,
her heart is a prisoner tied to a stake,
burning alive in the flame.
She moves like the world leans hard to the left,
her bones tumble out of her grave,
they dance with the devil on seven-inch heels,
since this is how bad bones behave.
The world spins around like a merry-go-round,
it's hard to stand up at the poles,
I'm waiting for all of the bones to come up
from their luminous underground holes.
This poem was inspired by my mother, Trudy Small, a fantastic artist. I was with her when she was having a stroke, but I didn't recognize the symptoms, until they were too obvious to miss. We'd been out for a walk in the village, and she was having real problems walking. Then she started to lean to the left, then she seemed o.k. when I finally got her home. After dinner, I went into the kitchen for 1 minute to get some blackberries and ice cream for dessert, and when I came back, she was lying on the floor. She looked comfortable, like she'd just decided to lie on the carpet for a nap, but when Dad and I picked her up, it was obvious, finally, what had happened. She passed away 4 years later. In the painting, she's "dancing with the devil on seven-inch heels, since this is how bad bones behave". She had a slightly wicked sense of humor, and if anyone would do something like this, it would be her. The stone on her grave from the land of the long white cloud, is a heart-shaped stone from New Zealand. Because her left side was weak, and the bedroom was too small to move the bed to another position, she slept with the pillow at the foot of the bed, to make it easier for her to get in and out of bed. When I start a poem, I have no idea what it's going to be about, or where it's going to end up. The nightgown was made by stenciling paint through an old lace curtain.
This is the whole painting, with the text.
This is the beginning of the image.