This is not a cut that makes me wince, a bruised muscle
that makes me too stiff to move in the morning,
or a joint that sends stabbing pain through a nerve
making me cry out in pain.  No, those are now nothing
in comparison to what has happened to my body.

A fire burns deep into layers of skin and muscle
spreading like lava to places the scalpel never touched
searing white hot, a soldering iron held to my chest,
and I slip into darkness.

Glass shards grind along every nerve, churning like waves.
My nerve endings scream when I cannot. Steel claws
rip at me, a beast sporting with my limp body and I have
no will to survive, only a desire to escape the cruelty.

I rise and fall to the surface without will, unable to see
past the blackness that everything is. Falling back into
nothingness is surrender, freedom, not knowing,
not feeling.  Let the claws rip at me, let the fire burn.
I will sleep, unaware, unconscious.

Copyright Mar 2017
by csherar


The Piper

Who follows the Piper on the greyest of days?
When far off, the wind carries the notes that he plays?
Calling those orphaned, forsaken, or lost amid tides,
Those who’ve been shunned, disparaged, or cast aside.

Lonesome notes drift, then swell in their veins
In soft bleeding colors that haven’t a name.
An ancient, melodic, passionate story is told
For those willing to listen a promise unfolds.

What have they to lose in the grey spray of mist?
Where now the sinners and sailors both coexist?
So they follow the Piper across moor and sea
Trusting, and trading their heart for eternity.

Copyright Mar 2017
by csherar

The Mists

Trees disappear into mist
The road winds into fog
I fall, off-kilter, into both
Not knowing where I will land

Dream-like allure
Can only beckon so far

I grab for your hand
Bare branches that break
Snapping off like icicles
Cold, rigid, brittle

Where is the color?
Quests for palettes of satisfaction

Every time I find my way
To the sun, the color,
I’m mesmerized by the mists
And let them draw me back in

-copyright csherar, Jan 2017

The Glass Cutter

January, cold and bleak, the shore again imprisoned,
The lake, the house, the memory, the dream I once envisioned.
Neither animals nor I ever heard the metal snap,
Crimson blood on pristine snow, fooled by a father’s trap.

There were schools, Father said, down in Thunder Bay.
If he didn’t bring me, they could take me anyway.
I am métis, from the North, I am neither here nor there.
I didn’t understand their laws, and I didn’t really care.

He ignored my mother’s pleading cries,
Made it clear there was no compromise.
Family had become a burden, his was a trapper’s life instead.
He harnessed up the dogs, filling me with dread.

Father took me to the boarding school and told me to obey.
They would teach me to be white, to read and write and pray.
Cardinals appear to us when a loved one passes o’er,
I saw the Cardinal that day in all his red-robed splendor.

I learned his Catechism, I learned to read and write,
And what the Cardinal prefers when he calls for me at night.
I was scared and broken.  I hid the fear and bleeding.
I looked for solace in the moon, as my ache began receding.

Star shine danced upon the snow and it beckoned me with light,
The flakes like fractured bits of glass called me forth into the night.
Winter into spring, then with summer on the way
I said a word to no one, I just walked away one day

Many nights the sky was graced by northern lights displays,
A Superior reflection all the way to Grand Marais.
Electric hues that lit the sky, arching pinks and greens
Like a whispering collection of colored figurines.

I came to stay in Grand Marais, a quiet little place,
For in that pine-draped sleepy town, I found my saving grace.
A man of silence, skill and sight, a man whose name was Kirk,
A glass cutter by trade, he explained to me his work.

Church window panes, he said, as he cut and cracked the glass,
As he soldered the lead, to make it worthy of High Mass.
He fused the light together, he captured colors of the sun.
He created brilliance, love, and beauty, for the Father and the Son.

The colored hues inside me bled, like a prism in my veins,
Planted where the flame had fed, then purified by rain.
There must have been a reason our lives had intertwined,
Where colors come together, white light starts to shine.

Through Kirk I came to see small shards of redemption.
Patterned after love and hope, and nurtured with attention.
Like a cathedral calls us home, Kirk had shone a light,
And my dark and withered soul found colors in the night.

copyright Dec 2016
by csherar



Midnight River

No one understood how deep the darkness was.
This darkness was not the redeeming darkness of night.
It was a darkness that crept across the page, between words.

River water ran through her blood.
It renewed her soul, flowing both deep and muddy
in places, and rippling with sparkles in others.

She looked for redemption in these waters of contrast.
She tried to let water wash the darkness away but it was too heavy.
Words and water alone were not enough this time.
This was a darkness she fought with everything she had.

The road out of town she followed was not others’ road.
Her road was a solitary journey, of discovery, of quietude.
She stood for a moment in silence, just breathing,
absorbing the energy and history people left behind.
It’s what made places holy.

She had always wanted to fly.
To spread her arms and effortlessly take flight,
bending her fingertips just so to catch the breeze and glide,
to follow her heart without blinking,
to feel weightless again, but an open cage door
is of no use to a bird with a broken wing and though
glass birds sparkle in the sun, they shatter when they fall.

She knew some paths were meant to be lit by the sun
while other paths were better lit by the moon and stars.
Moonlight changed her when she breathed it in.
It seeped into her veins and silvered her soul,
awakening her anew to the wonders of night,
helping her see things she couldn’t,
helping her understand things she didn’t.

She inhaled the night like a bouquet,
Taking comfort in landscapes darkness hid,
the glaring imperfections of a man-made world
overtaken by soft purple shadows of dusk
and even softer grays of moonlight.

She wondered what was out there.
Fearful but aching to fly.
Because when she felt the wind in her face,
she could see, she could create, she could be.

She looked for rain to wash down on her,
baptize her soul with color.
So she would always have an artist’s eye,
a musician’s ear, and a poet’s soul.

Her poet’s voice urged her to write,
her inner fears held her back.
Voices within argued over her pen.
She wrestled between opening her heart
and keeping it safely closed, protected.

Allowing herself to be loved was so much work.
She wished she did not understand…
– what it felt like when a heart stops beating
– that love cannot conquer everything
– that the night does not hide everything
– that she could not fly like a bird.

copyright Nov 2016, Cynthia Sherar

Halfway Heart

I nest on anger and guilt
Hiding it, shielding it
My song feels empty
Knowing what is beneath me

Anger and guilt leave no room
For grace and forgiveness
In a halfway heart

Like leaves that stir on branches
In hot summer breezes
I want to reach out
But I stay rooted, unmoving
Only flutters, small gestures

Because underneath still
I am unraveled, undone

I cannot pick up my pieces
Because I do not know
What is left, who I am

My halfway heart
Tries to beat whole
With grace and forgiveness
But I am unraveled, undone