Household Gods

We might have been Taoists
those early summer months
in the house, the loving energy
of chi guiding us room by room
as we unpackedand arranged
our new life.

Each evening we floated
out to the wide front porch
and rested on a pair of rattan
chairs, delighted by ornate
fragrances from the forest
wafting through the warm air.

Smoke from your cigarette swirled
toward cottony clouds building
in silver billowy mounds. Gentle
showers danced upon the ground,
and glowing rainbows sang across
deepening celestial blue.

We followed the path of paradise,
the way of heaven reflected
in the meadow that was our front
lawn, blossoming with wildflowers
in softly whispered tones
of violet and gold.

Mysteriously, the clouds
followed us inside, and the season
changed. You became a little Thor,
thundering and threatening,
your baritone voice suddenly
bellowing and abusive.

We argue about nothing at all.
You blame me, and I, like a fearful
peasant farmer, ask, What have I done
to incur the thunder god’s wrath?

I cower in your presence, become
penitent, plead for a second chance.

 I get no answer, none I can
understand. A daily expression
of rage is his reason for being.
I no longer try to guess how
I might please him or ask why
he’s angry. He just is.

I make an altar and sit upon
red pillows because red gives me strength.
I light many candles,
and the white flames comfort me.  
I chant to the dark universe
to invoke a benevolent spirit.

I am visited by Kali-Ma,
Lady of Light, divine protector,
destroyer of evil.
Her brilliance shines
through me as I part the dark clouds,
dance upon Little Thor’s chest,
and find liberation.

-Grace Richards




PoetryJulia NusbaumComment