Make Believe; Visions; Legacy

Make Believe  

Seeing a dense spatter painting 
revealed by my older brother 
when I was in elementary school was 
filled with life changing decisions as

his invitation was to sit down
take time to look at every illusive detail

it felt so important
I believed what I saw mattered

I opened my eyes wider than ever
I saw dark colors striking canvas
like fists and pleas and storms  
I saw bursts of dazzling light poking
through like sun and berries and bees

and when he told me to step back
to see the wider view
to look for any people that I knew
to see what they were doing
I saw one yelling at another

I saw one leaning on another
in a loving way
one way of being in the 
strokes of noticing

	The woman in the huge raccoon coat
	with her face sticking out of the
	raccoon head, ran toward me 
	in the freezing parking lot
	with wild desperation in her eyes

	she grabbed me, wrapped her shaggy
	coat around me in my silk blouse
	swaddling me, so close to her 
	I could barely be seen

	whimpering at me, it's so cold

	from my enfoldment, with twisted
	mouth and muffled voice
	I explained that I didn't want her
	to forget the psych eval I wrote 
	for her son, I wanted to save her

	a trip to have to come all the way
	back for the papers she needed
	for the psychiatrist appointment

	but, some warm part of me wanted 
	to say, let's throw the analysis 
	in the river, cancel the appointment

	take your son out of school
	and just bring him to your den

	away from all the red lights flashing
	so you can keep bathing him 
	in your instincts, keep teaching him 
	how to see all the life-giving colors
	you so clearly see in the darkness
	You told me that you were the least
	favored daughter of three who had to
	wash the floors while the others 
	found their shine out of the house
	wearing the dresses you ironed

	you smiled when your mother made
	you do her bidding so she wouldn't
	feel bad because you knew that she
	had been thrown down the stairs 
	from the pedestal of her high hopes
	by her own mother's pick for her
	arranged marriage
	and you were glad to take her in 
	to your new family, with your one
	daughter, next in line, who spent her 
	very first paycheck buying you a Lladro
	porcelain sculpture of a serene mother
	holding a dreaming baby

	a monument to new beginnings
	knocked off the shelf by accident by the
	old woman who had never been allowed
	to stand whole on her own

	we three watched the head fall onto
	the floor, and you and I
	hugged my grandmother

	glued the mind back on, stood back
	realizing that we could all see the
	line of repair on the little figure
	a fitting and somehow proud reminder
	that we were all still looking for belonging

	and we could put the pieces back 
	together now


Susan Shea is a retired school psychologist who was raised in New York City, and is now living in a forest in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Since she has returned to writing poetry this year, her poems have been accepted in a few dozen publications, including Across the Margin, Vita Poetica, Feminine Collective, Persimmon Tree Literary Magazine, Ekstasis, Military Experience and the Arts, and the Avalon Literary Review, as well as three anthologies.