Failure of Imagination (Letter to Patricia Lynn Reilly)

Your poem adorns my wall

gifted by beloved

with whom I was supposed to grow old.

 

Countless times read and re-read,

I imagined myself centered and self-assured.

In reality, I longed for much too much

from others.

 

The rhythm of your words

chanted in my breath

whispered mouth to ear.

 

I imagined myself willowy –

bending, uncracked,  –

in life’s buffeting winds.

In reality, I shattered

myself and others alike.

 

The magic of your call

woman to woman

reverberates in my soul.

 

I imagined self-love

honoring elemental needs

with grace and dignity.

In reality, I eschewed neediness –

lost everything.

 

Your canticle of sisterhood

passionate in devotion

warms my heart’s frozen cockles.

 

I imagined I sat encircled

by those women of whom

you speak.

In reality, I had seated

myself awry, with remind-ers

of foibles, not truth.

 

I imagined myself as the woman

of your timeless verse.

My imagination faltered,

floundered,

failed.

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