Monday, November 21, 2011

Deep Roots

Oft-seen peaks loom, their unfamiliar silhouettes framed by a low-hanging sky. They seem to shrink, diminishing in scope but not magnitude until their time-jagged ridges fall into focus: puzzle pieces fit to alcoves of my heart that my mind never bothered to explore.

In my childhood, I often felt somewhat left out; I never loved these mountains. I couldn't ever be a true Campbellfull-fledged and five-foot-one and flowered cheeks and flying dark eyes and hair—if these mountains were not mine. I would fly with my cousins in the space where the sky and the snow try to kiss, but I rarely felt the sparkle of that long-awaited touch reflected in my own eyes.

I began to grow. Five-one; five-two; five-three; five-four. My hair is orange and strawberry and grapefruit and pomegranate, and my eyes hold the cold love of the Atlantic. I accepted that I was the "East Coast Branch", distinct and different and distant.

But maybe I'm not that far after all. These mountains are wondrous; their sky as captivatingly dangerous as my sea. Ridges and silhouettes remain alien, yet sometimes the shadows in their pockets spell out the notes of our old family stories.

Can landscapes be passed down through our blood?

I am a true Campbell—you only have to look at the shape of my eyes, or watch the furrow grow in my brow as I concentrate, or listen to the peculiar banter and story telling that's bound to happen when we all get together. However, I am a Campbell most of all when I see the almost identical faces of my uncles fill with an identical mischievous love when they turn at the top of our history and smile: "Take this run with me, Ali."

Next summer I want my Clan to all come out to Maine. I want to share with them all the laughter I've found in the reflection of icy spray in the sun and in freckled faces in antique mirrors. Maybe, the refracted light will fall into focus: puzzle pieces fitting into alcoves of their hearts they have yet to explore.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Traje de luces

We fall so in love
with life that we feel as if we
must dance just shy of
death's dove.

We turn, mocking our beacon
of life; veiling scars and aches
behind stockings and sequins.

Two heartbeats are our rhythm.

As we strut we misplace
this knowledge that we are vanity
holding death in her handshardly hidden,
like our humanity,
behind red capes.

Our movement wed with mistrust.

Can a life be abated?
Held, tense and taut and tight and terse,
only waiting to be tainted?

Dust and skin and sweat and spit
dark eyes, helping us forget
the blood caked across our hips.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The Atlantic in the rain is like an evening gown, beveled luxury folded and distorted, its smooth-rough velvet layered over raw silk, a two-faced love: uncertainty. Pearled drops spatter, winking over navy-olive secrets. The sky is void—lacking depth, color, and reflection, its only life shown in its responses to the kisses of unseen waves framing the horizon. Closer to shore, tanned shoulders dull and blend into the colorless sky, negating their affair, their lover. Turning with anticipation, she dives—the sun-stroked and sky-kissed spine of a bloodied seal becoming one with the secrets of the sea: head to heels.