Poems by Tia Paul-Louis

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BROKEN WAVES

Some place where waves are broken
I’m still

like a rock
at the bottom of the sea. It’s the only way you’re found:

where you’re missed

and found again. I watch from a bubble — hushed thirsty

breathless—you, becoming a newborn;
a noisy drifter.

I’m envious. But I love you best
this way. Yes—me. The sinker. The sunken.

But somewhere underneath,
where waves are broken

you raise me.

And I start swaying—
lullaby into ballad—

and you love me best
this way.

GINGERBREAD TEDDY

I’ve never tasted gingerbread.
I hate the little houses because
they mock the dollhouse
I lock myself in.

I love December but if only I could
crush the bells it plays. They
excite the buzz I’ve had in my ears
the past couple of years
that mimics crickets at a feast.

I never liked red—especially green.
To children, Santa’s jolly. To me,
he’s mean—
kindly mean, and I never got my Black
Asian-Native American-half European
porcelain doll or tap-dancing
shoes that ring.

I never liked turkey. Too dry.
It’s like a taste of mid-July, and I’ve never
tasted eggnog. My grandmother always
brought gingerbread with it.

I’ve never tasted gingerbread
because that brown little man reminds me
of a teddy Grandma bought me for my
birthday in June that laughed
and smiled only at me
and was given away too soon.

IN MEMORY OF THE SUN

He sits near the hunched fire
and begin to sing
in memory of the sun.
Too many things have escaped
his eyes — some hard to imagine
like the anger beating
in rhythm with his daughter’s
heart after her mother’s death.
To her, she left.

His song crowns the fire.
His song — invisible but touchable,
like a name to a person.
After singing, he spills a bottle
of cherry rum on the ground
which receives it like an infant.

He stares at the eastern skies
and a glow sprays the horizon
but it’s not the same
as when he’d open his eyes
to her stretching, yawning
and humming their song
while she brushes her teeth.

He closes his eyes to imagine it
but only the monitor is there
with a pitch that deafens
all his senses.

Wrapped in the fire’s warmth
and the wind’s lullaby, he sings
his song one last time,
gorges two ounces
of cool liquor and grabs his rope
then starts to wander
the woods for the strongest cedar.

UNLIKE YOU

You see rainfall.
I see fire has lost its flame and color.
And yes, I call it natural. I warned you

I’m not typical.

When it’s light out, you
call it day
but I say a day is when
the owls leave the beeches
to join

every unknown thing that gathers
as one big shadow under the moon
and call themselves darkness.
And of course,

there must be a song. A soundless
song that flickers and electrifies
all minds—what you call nightmares,
which, by the way, are only a burden of wishes.

You see fog. I see radiance
at birth. White light soon to thin into daylight
and it is more than natural to me.

I warned you: I’m not typical.

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Tia Paul Louis is the pen name for a fiction writer and poet from Florida. She’s the wife of a U.S. Army sergeant who also happens to be a preacher and philosopher. Through many battles with foreign and old traditions, Louis finally found a voice through writing.

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