Twin trees grow side by side, sap pulsing to the same rhythm, roots entwined; they are more one than two.
Then the wind… Furious storm engulfs them, ripping, tearing, rending-
The survivor slowly gathers up shredded roots and cradles them as the dregs of life drain away.
Maria wrote this in remembrance of all the trees that were destroyed in this year’s derecho. These two trees are real, and the one that made it still looks lonely.
Anxiety forces another beam of steel through my belly,
apprehension caps my lungs,
and tangles them in wire.
Electricity jolts my chest
yanking a mechanical heart to life.
Oil slicks my throat
choking me into silence.
Perhaps terror stole my voicebox
and only the gears in my brain
Maria copes with stress by listening to Steam Powered Giraffe, and writing strange poetry.
He sits before the door expectantly, tail swishing. The door doesn’t open, will never open. Inside is off limits.
I sigh, empathy swirling through me. “Come on, bud,” I mutter, lifting my protesting cat up and away.
He’s not the only one to obsess over what he can’t have.
Maria is fascinated by the similarities of emotion across species, time, and place. She misses her cats a lot.
Familiar kitchen sounds,
the blender’s roar and faucet’s trickle,
ground me here.
Illusory clouds of coffee
sting my nose,
an inescapable reminder
that summer is going fast
that vacation is nearly over.
I swallow hard,
and try to remember
how to not feel like a visitor
in my childhood home.
Maria is about to go back to college. She loves being home, but every once in a while, she’s overwhelmed by the understanding that things are changing.
plays over stained glass
as I sink to my knees
before the God who made me.
My eyes fill when
I lift them to meet His.
We glow as
love burns a bridge between us,
and I am consumed
but not destroyed.
At long last,
I am home.
Maria is blessed.
She smiled sweetly, her fingers brushing mine, and my breath caught, heart swelled.
But the smile was mere politeness, the contact accidental as she held the door open and I moved to take it. She didn’t know who I was, didn’t know I loved her, would never, ever know.
Maria is inspired by everyday events, and odd coincidences. She’s excited for the time she’s able to high-five people again.
The first spring storm weeps my larger family
back to life.
My silent siblings smile
and stretch branches in the wind;
I hug every trunk hello.
Grandmother Sky pats my head
with loving, watery fingers.
All my raindrop cousins
want to play tag;
I am It
a thousand times over.
Maria is coping with the current crisis by planting sprouting vegetables, taking silly pictures of her cats, and binge-watching The Chosen.
Her hands were a blur
of harsh bitten nails
smudges of ink
and the assurance that comes
On her arm there were
scabs and paint
and one ancient hair tie,
She was a mess,
and I loved her before my eyes ever
made it past her elbows.
Maria doesn’t believe in love at first sight, but her muse keeps trying to change her mind. She’s delighted to announce that her poem “Swept Away” was recently featured in The Coe Review.
Maple is flirting with me.
I glimpse her at windows as she ducks out of sight, catching only a swirl of scarlet skirts. She leaves little crimson-wrapped gifts outside my door.
I love her. I wish I knew that she loved me… but Miss Sugar Maple never says a word.
Maria speaks for the trees and, of course, those who love them.
The girl stood when Death walked in. Her coat was on, her bag was packed, and despite her tears, she wore a look of determination.
Death shook his head, understanding mingling with regret.
“Girl, wait until you’re older,” he said gently, and dodged around her to take her father’s hand.
Maria attends college in the midwest, and is becoming a proficient juggler of class, club, and those silly customs we call adulthood.