Sunday Morning Rituals/Yesterday Once More

From your bedroom

This morning,

This ordinary Sunday morning

In September

As I holidayed at home

And watched from the window

The saucy shadow of winter

Teasing the sun’s final rays from the garden,

The scent of your hairspray came

Floating through the air

And transported me

Through a lifetime of living

To that other life we shared together

As mother and son

In the place that once meant home

In the very truest sense of the word-

Where family and friendship were both

Born and battered,

In a place called riverside-

Though the banks of that brook

Were rarely as poetic

As the postal address suggested.

I was 12 again,

Watching you from the hallway,

Tossing and twirling the comb around your curls,

The pink chiffon scarf with its gold trim

Caressing your shoulders-

Catching the glittering flakes of uncaught spray

As you froze your style into place

And etched its vision into my memory.

That smell has become, over decades of time

And an ocean of deep distance that parts me from it,

Forever tied to your Sunday morning ritual

After the peas had been left to steep,

The shoes polished

And the soon-to-be eaten roast had been

Dried, dressed

And doused in as much formality

As we ourselves

Were adorned in

Before we took off,

Along the riverside,

Flaunting our finest

In the face, and for the grace, of God,

Though inside we knew the truth-

This pomp and ceremony was not,

As once suggested,

To serve any invisible deity-

The community’s communion procession

Alone was more fashion on-show than

Faithful conversion of body and soul

But amid this parade of pressed pants

And fall’s favorites,

Crying kids

And Mum’s perfume

I dreamt my life away.

I still remember the boy-

Two rows ahead,

Boxy jacket,

Patient leather shoes and

Quaffed fringe of blonde hair.

He was my Sunday dream

In that house of worship,

I wanted to be him,

To know him,

To love him.

It was he who I prayed to

And knelt before,

It was he who I asked

To be saved and held

And protected-

Not the man in the white robes

Sipping the last splurge of wine,

Standing there above us all-

Looking down but rarely seeing,

Removed from the crowd-

Speaking out but failing to hear.

I already knew

What it was like

To carry a cross

Alone,

Unaided.

This man of the cloth-

With his pious parables from the pulpit

Could not save me,

His words were as foreign to me

As if he had been talking in that very oldest of tongues

That pompous priests once used to preserve for themselves

Their palaces of power while

Leaving parishioners ignorant

To point of the performance.

So it was the boy ahead of me,

The one behind me

And the other one

Two rows across from me

Who became my heralded heroes,

My momentary muses-

My glorious gods of worship-

Men in men’s clothing

Walking in men’s footsteps,

Not vicars in vestments,

Angels on high,

Demons below

Or celestial forms.

My dreams of that neighboring boy’s

Compassion for me

Had just as much obtainability

And promise

As that Boy in the Bible

Who was born for my betterment-

If only I could be like the others,

Act like I was told

And defy the devil within me,

Whether I knew those deemed

Demonic deviations

To be of my

External making

Or a part of my

Inner essence.

Just hours later,

Sunday afternoon rituals

Were setting the fire

With real coals-

Damp from outdoor storage,

Foraging around the local DIY store

While Dad watched the match,

Mum playing records on the radiogram

While I hummed along to

‘Its only just begun’

As I sat by the front window,

Nestled on the back on the big green sofa,

Watching the rain fall

And wondering when the boy would call

To take me away

And let it all begin…

All these memories

Came back clearly to me

This morning,

This Sunday morning

And just like in the song says

‘Some can even make me cry’.

It’s yesterday once more

But altered slightly,

Similar but not the same

Familiar but without the frustration.

It’s still Sunday morning,

We’re still mother and son

In another home we’ve made-

Far from a riverbed

But closer to comfort

And finally

At peace in a place

Where there’s room to grow

In honest understanding of each other,

Those around us and everything that combined

To make us who we are

While allowing us to keep in our hearts

The memory of who we’ve been.

photo-46

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