Three Wishes

This day,
as I lay musing with my cheek upon the chopping block,
I may as well wish for anything.
What's to stop my REM-eyes from following
what they will while they can?
Who's to tell the old bird
that she cannot sing while circling
earthbound on one good and one broken wing?

I have three wishes, and the first wish
is for the Amish, the Amazon,
the changeling who bears the mark of my tribe.
Like me, she wrapped herself in plain disguise
before trying talons and flight feathers rare and serious.
What wish might I find fulfilled
while looking into 
her eyes
my eyes
eagle to eagle
eye to eye?

My second wish is a southerly desire,
a migration my lighter self yearns to undertake.
Could I just let go and fall, find myself in gulf-warm waters,
where what is spoken is often sweet but never simple
like the bible hidden under the bed,
filling with better psalms by proxy,
strung out and sung on the heard sighs of women instead of
ladies, promenading and proper,
privately contemplating sultry summer on the church steps 
while holding folded gloves empty and colorless as a northern winter?

My third wish is as southern as the second,
though a hickory wind has swept out the ashes of the morning
to be built back into fire all the way to the match tip strike.
Silver is a fine color for the sky in such dreams,
and whenever I spare a girlish glance at the expected blade,
and shift my unkissed cheek as the executioner sets aside my hair,
I think that surely now is the time
for dreams that can never be,
desires that laze just out of reach,
because, after all,
if my wishes are worth the quicksilver they are drawn upon,
a girl could find herself together again
with the wished-for squeeze, and why not?
If I'm to be mistress of my own madness,
let it be all that I imagined. 
Let it be soon. Let it be sweet.

for Real Toads mini-challenge featuring artist Lisa Graham. The image at top, "Wishing Sisters" is hers, used with permission.

Process notes, only for the truly curious. If my poem pleased you with no explanations, then skip this!

After a month of living my life unencumbered by having to go to work, tomorrow the salt mine beckons. Hence, the images of pending execution. But while a girl sits daintily on a hard bench in Hell's waiting room, she can dream, can't she? And so my three idle wishes involve my three celebrity crushes, in ascending order.

First, Kelly McGillis (on the left above, with Jodi Foster), who is as tall as I am, and who is also a lesbian, making her doubly "one of my tribe".  She starred as an Amish woman in "Witness", and so there's the Amish and the Amazon of it. The "plain disguise" is because she says she didn't think she was attractive as a girl, and in fact was teased for being "fat". I didn't think I was attractive, either. But we grew, into nothing so predictable as swans, but rather, birds to be dealt with!

Second, Sela Ward, who is from Alabama. She's got that whole southern charm thing going on, and is just ridiculously sexy, seemingly without half trying, which I think is an art. I went into deep mourning when I ran out of Once & Again dvd's to watch, and have been reduced to watching her on CSI:NY instead. Nonetheless, her Once & Again character Lily Manning is my favorite, though I never know if I want more to be with her or just be her. Yes, I know, she's fictional, but we're talking wishes here.

Third, and most ardently daydreamed over, is singer Emmylou Harris who was born in Alabama and grew up in North Carolina and Virginia. I referenced some of her songs, "Hickory Wind" (also associated with Gram Parsons), "We'll Sweep Out The Ashes" and "Together Again." Silver is a fine color for the sky and also for Emmylou's gorgeous hair. She said she started going gray in her 20s. 

My life of freedom and happiness may soon be over, but perhaps one of my honeys will swoop in at the last minute and support me in the style that I wish to become accustomed to. What, I'm the only one here with rescue fantasies??? Send me my Dyke In Shining Armor, even though two of them are straight. Damn. But hey, my wishes, my rules! :-) 


Sioux Roslawski said…
Shay--The Movie "The Accused" is one of my favorites. Both women did a wonderful job in that film (in my opinion).

I hope your dream comes true, and someone on a horse rescues you and takes you away before tomorrow...
Other Mary said…
If you're gonna wish, wish big! Really lovely with and without the note following. :o)
Er, good luck on Monday.
HermanTurnip said…
"a hickory wind"

Why did this bit of imagery strike me so profoundly?

Yet again you've produced a great piece. Here's hoping that at the end of all things each of us could think to clearly...
Maude Lynn said…
You are so crazy! I think this is just incredibly clever and proved doubly so by your explanation.

You simply can't go back to work tomorrow. I've had too many damn crises (and snow days) to properly enjoy your vacation.
hedgewitch said…
Each wish is more beautiful, light and silvery than the last, the cheek on the block metaphor works so well, and the whole package is full of the sort of infinitely preferable realism that we acquire when confronted with things we can't change one way(in fact) but can the other(in fantasy.) I personally am a strong believer in a rich fantasy life. I just wish you being rescued from your return to work was as real as the gift for words on display here,and you would be swooped up by any of your three fantasies or even one you haven't had time to dream up yet. Of course, they would have to swoop you back down a LOT,at least to somewhere with internet access, or I would miss you way too much.
Grace said…
Those are crazy wishes but you can always dream big ~ I wish I can take a break from work and dream a bit ~ Cheer up & happy week ahead ~
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Oy, that damned work! The best thing about being old is not having to go to damned work every damned day. And there must still be a ton of snow where you are too.

Your poem is eloquent and fantastic, as all your poems are - I especially loved the wishing while cheek is pressed to chopping block - I so relate - we make our wishes In Extremis, if at all.......if I were wealthy, I would be your patron, as in days of old when brilliant poets or classical composers would be sponsored to free their time for composing. I loved your process notes as much as the poem. Sigh. Yes, "let it be soon, let it be sweet."
Unknown said…
I may visit only once in a while...but I'm still 'in love' each time I drift in on the wind ;)
Jim said…
Shay; I like Emmy Lou Harris a whole lot for a singer of her generation (Judy Collins was my generation, my favorite was her "Someday Soon" song).
Your lines, "shift my unkissed cheek as the executioner sets aside my hair,
I think that surely now is the time for dreams that can never be,
" is the utmost for dreams that cannot be.
Finally, since this is Beatle Day in America, your last two lines had me going one more time through their "Let it Be" song,
"When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be
Beatles - Let It Be Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Anonymous said…
if wishes was fishes then love would be.... hell, I don't know. Good luck back to the mines. I'm still hunting for mine. ~
Cloudia said…
"If I'm to be mistress of my own madness,
let it be all that I imagined.
Let it be soon. Let it be sweet."

Thanks for making me feel that I am not the only beautiful misfit.

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

Susie Clevenger said…
Why make wishes small? May your deliverer arrive soon :)
Unknown said…
It's good to dream big! Hope your day back at work is better than the idea of your "cheek upon the chopping block"!
Unknown said…
As always, your imagery is impeccable. And the process notes add to the piece. When references are personal, the poem has two distinct meanings... one with awareness and one without. Both are worth the read.
Kerry O'Connor said…
You time off has given me the greatest reading pleasure and I thank you for that. This is a wonderful exploration of dream-time vs impending reality, which speaks to me in a big way.. you explanation makes it all the lore fun. A healthy crush on an unattainable beauty is, of course, the essence of human nature. I can't even begin to list all the leading men I've fallen for (and yes, I still imagine the chance meeting, the swooping off to fantasy-land).
Number two person is my Honey's favorite and number three is mine big time. Plus I loved the movie, The Accused. You had my interest but your background made it richer. Thanks.
G-Man said…
Fire Blossom....Be careful amongst the English.
Lynn said…
I was about to comment and say "chilling and beautiful" - but the explanation gives me more insight.
Sara said…
LOL I love it when you dream:~)

Okay, I absolutely love these words..."If I'm to be mistress of my own madness,
let it be all that I imagined." I'm sticking these words in my file of quotes, attributed to you, of course:~)

Tell Lisa her picture is beautiful and haunting. There are tons of stories in it.

Hope your day wasn't too crazy.