Streams of Themes

Though we might be different in the details, we are all so similar in the broad strokes. We all have interior structures that help us to understand new information, to navigate the world and absorb fresh perspectives. We all have streams of recurring themes in our lives: something we never learn, topics that always fascinate, mistakes we always make, concepts that we always struggle to understand.

When I was working on building a relationship with my father he became a common topic in my work. It wasn't conscious initially, I just had him on my mind. Frequently. I sent him every poem I wrote about him except the last two that I wrote when he died. Those poems became portals for us to reach each other. Here is one of them:

A Visit With Grandpa

My kids surround my father

They’ve grown, he’s lost, 3 inches

Photographs pass back and forth

My father’s stories hover over and underneath

Soak into them

A gift of belonging

I pluck at the pictures, hopeful

“He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me…”

He walked with giants and ran with horses

And weathered the ebb and flow of me

Courage passes easily

between them, these people

who bookend me

Things I should say

And questions—unanswerable

Slip back down my throat

And since I cannot do the words

I make a lemon pie.

                              —Michelle Winter

Do you see it? I didn't at first.

The bridge between us, the portal towards one another?

It's in the lemon pie.