Gary Palmer © 2003
Penelope Doing and Undone
Faith or fantasy, this tapestry? Every day I weave it.
Remembered passion is red. Heíll come back,
heíll come back, the clack of the loom. Sometimes
my fingertips crack and bleed
as I weave yellow, sorrow, hopeful blue.
At night, it all comes undone. I feel his hand
on the small of my back and sighing, turn to find him.
The stranger takes me to his mouth,
pulling me by my hair. Deeply
asleep, I cannot escape the cries scraping
from him, from me. When it is finished, he pulls away
and I am betrayed by my own undoing.
Iím waiting for him to come back from the war.
I know the war ended years ago. But does it end?
Some men just disappear, even after they come back.
A woman I know is waiting, too,
weaving her own thing. Her manís been locked up
longer than she can remember,
when she can remember,
but sheís got the children to do for.
Some people call me virtuous and others say Iím crazy.
Yellow turns into a bird, the sky is bold.
Persimmon houses appear everywhere
and the rivers are red. What if I didnít wait, what if
he returns from whatever he has done, whatever
he has become, and finds the empty loom?
Sometimes I want to set this on fire, go home.
But I am wed to beauty, to the colors
of life under my hand. I must wait,
and weaving, create this world.
Copyright © 2003
Deborah Tobola has published poems in dozens of print and on-line literary journals and anthologies. Her poem "Hummingbird In Underworld" was named one of five winners of Kalliope's 2002 Sue Saniel Eklind Poetry Contest, and her chapbook Breaking the Plate won honorable mention in the Concrete Wolf 2002 Chapbook Contest. Her work has been nominated for two Puschcart Prizes and has won awards from the Academy of American Poets. She runs the arts program in a California prison, where she also teaches creative writing classes.