Friday, October 07, 2005

Purple My Heart

purple my heart
at nine years old
watching the man I love more
than anyone in the world
sitting in the blue-red light
coming through
the picture window
holding in his strong hands
the case
that held
all he had to show
for all those hundreds
he’d taken
that brought him countless
sleepless nights
or in and out
of the other side
night sweats
the wake up
with violet faces
of his ghost sickness

purple the heart
my father won in Korea
trophy case shattered and split
dried seeds of blood
on still clenched fist
all his medals torn apart
ripped and wrinkled ribbons
resting on splintered glass
meaningless medalions
tossed aside in disgust
repeating over and over
I did this for what?

purple the oath
loyalty my father pledged
his life
to defend his country
from the Reds
but after all was said
the faces who looked up
from the charred field of death
his big guns had buried them in
mirrored back faces of kin
who claimed him more
than the racist white-man did
when he returned from Korea

purple the smoke of
burning cedar and sage
of lavender oil rubbed
deep into head, chest
hands and feet
elders predicted
there was not enough
their medicine could do
no amount of ceremony
could wash away
that much blood
the sickness would have to fade
like the signs
of fire, flood or earthquake
with the years
he’d have to pray
away the madness
await his destiny

purple the sorrow cloth
lining his coffin
covering the mirrors
after his death
rain through
street lamp glow
the sunset
ripple clouds
amaranthine, amethyst
heliotrope, lavender
lilacs, lupines, irises, crocuses
dried flowers on a heroes grave

purple the night light
through my window
candles in the dark

© Odilia Galván Rodríguez


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