Home > 2. Unknown Poems, 22. Local Poets, Local Heroes > Molly Hunt–Local Poet, Local Hero

Molly Hunt–Local Poet, Local Hero

File:Egyptian - Royal Seal of King Sahure - Walters 571748 - Side A.jpg

Molly Hunt is remarkable, a poet struggling to overcome some of the bigger obstacles the world can toss in our way; she has kindly volunteered one of her poems for The Rag Tree. By all means, visit her web log, Maple Warrior, and read more of her powerful work.   RT

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HIEROGLYPHIC

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1.

Papa has red hieroglyphics on his forehead.

We study them closely—

*****A cross.     

*****A bird ascending to a cloud.

*****A flowering plant in a pot.

We’re a family that loves ancient mysterious symbols,

and we all see something different.

I am anxious for a pic

in his striped red shirt;

he’s crazily handsome this evening.

Even with the bobby pin to keep his hair away.

I do sometimes think he’s a saint,

but if it’s a stigmata, there was no ecstasy with this new mark.

And when I’m not admiring the bizarre aesthetic,

I am still terrorized.

*

2.

It’s only been twenty-four hours.

Mom rushing into my room, saying something urgent; I

can’t quite comprehend through my ear plugs.

Until I do.

*

My debilities be damned,

I am a homing device for my father.

*

The pool of blood on the front walk

looking precisely like a spilled bottle of ketchup

in a cheesy horror film.

(He and I had been at the fridge the day before

looking for oils to soothe my skin.

He’d joked about using ketchup; I’d shuddered.)

*

Mom whisking him away,

but I had to get a glimpse,

hear his voice before they disappeared.

*****He spoke reassuringly and calmly,

*****but I could not see his face

*****behind the dripping towel pressed to it. 

And the brand-new flattering beige shirt Mom had picked out for him,

that we’d delighted in and played with earlier in the day

(me teasing him while he explored all those secret pockets boys love)

was now splattered with leopard spots of blood.

(Car engine. They are gone.)

*

3.

Dizzy, alone, I pick a careful route back into the house.

Close the door. What next?

Breathe.

My illness-compromised brain thoroughly addled, I deliberate.

*****At the sight of a blood-drenched rag on the floor,

*****impulse takes over.

*****I disappear it into the garbage;

loosed, I attempt to carry out his evening chores,

her morning chores, as if

that would bring them back;

and we could resume as if little had happened.

*****I ricochet from one painful-to-use phone to another for

*****updates from Mom trying-to-sound-soothing—long line,

*****power outage at the hospital,

need for CT scan, stitches, broken nose.

It would be late, at best.

Midnight, I force myself to bed, but

find myself catapulted out at dawn,

nearly crashing into Mom coming to tell me she was off to pick him up.

*

4.

Upon their return he was not yet handsome again.

Dried blood everywhere, wan, glued to the couch.

An unusually bad fly season had begun;

I hovered, ridiculously waving away the ones on his wounds,

and picking the loose hairs from his face.

The three of us huddled together in the living room,

the way people do after a trauma,

sharing our respective experiences,

me overriding all over-stimulus signals.

*

Their bodies have dimmers like some lights;

they could doze.

My dimmer is broken,

it is only set to increasing electrification.

So all I know to do is retire to my cave and write this poem, as

if that might help.

*

5.

Papa is eighty-two. When did that happen?

How do you carry your undeserved crosses every day, Mom and Pop?

It appears as if Papa’s is now emblazoned on his forehead;

Mama, don’t you dare do the same.

(How blithely I had imagined a different future for all of us—

including my caring for you two, one day.)

*

We never can really know one another’s experience.

That seems lonely. Mom once sagely pointed

out we nonetheless love.

True, yet ultimately we have to do our own suffering,

as much as love may want us to take on that of another.

*****It seems the heart can’t help but love,

*****like water can’t help but flow downstream,

though eddies and rocks in the river sometimes deceive or distract.

Papa’s hieroglyphic evolves, a display of colors,

and settles finally into a scar—

*****a reminder, a

*****sign of honor, a mystery.

Will we decipher anything?

*****Or do we keep going, without the key?

*

–September 9, 2013

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 ••

Copyright © Molly Hunt, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Published w/ author’s permission.

Photo: Royal Seal of King Sahure; Walters Art Museum. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

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  1. Nada Westerman
    November 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Dear Molly, I have found all of your poems posted on Rag Tree incredibly moving and . insightful. Your poem after Frank’s fall resonated, since two weeks ago David suffered a similar, but from the photo, somewhat less traumatic, fall on West 77th St. It was dark, but thankfully, a woman who witnessed his accident proved to be a Guardian Angel, who, on a chilly evening stripped to her camisole to cushion David’s head and staunch the bleeding from a deep forehead gash, while awaiting the quickly summoned ambulance. He, too, was thoroughly scanned and stitched and is now recovered. So glad to see the “after” photo of your dad without the embellishments. With love, Nada and David

  2. November 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Dear Nada and David, how wonderful to hear from you. And I’m so glad you liked the poem. I am sorry to hear of David’s fall, and will be holding out thoughts that he recovers as quickly as Papa did. We love those guardian angels who look over us in a pinch like that woman who witnessed David’s fall. I take it you must have looked at my blog, then, to have seen the photos of Papa. This is the only poem on this blog that is mine, btw. I’m sure you understood that. This is a wonderful blog, and I am grateful to its owner for posting my poem. I take it people are having trouble leaving comments on my own blog. Don’t know what’s wrong there. You can always send comments to Mom’s email address which we can post without any problem. All over my head at the moment! Say hello to NY for me, but not by falling! We here all miss our dose of New York life. Much love, Molly

  3. December 22, 2013 at 10:35 am

    re-reading your poem tonight Molly ~ feeling you and your parents close here in this heart. In this place that knows no time, only love and gratitude. May this river of creativity keep flowing ~ thank you for sharing your gifts ~

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