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Strokes of Sunset
Father found God
in the sweeping strokes
of his Dominican sunset;
God, in the round luscious lips
of Mother, who wore
Our Lord Christ on her breast.

I searched, too, for the flutter in my breast
soft psalms on my lips
small palms clasped when sunset
rested on the horizon.  I wore
her Jesus Christ and stroked
its form, gently holding God.

I couldn't forget what made my father stroke
his feet along the floor until he wore
a threadbare path in the carpet abreast
their marriage bed.  From his lips,
a broken cry escaped to her God
as he paced every night at sunset.
But I forgot his eyes (which were grief and wore
out joy) when, by a stroke
of luck, or chance, or God,
there was a man who took me into his sunset.
I left my father's broken lips
for the flutter in my breast.

Father died of a stroke,
perhaps he clutched his breast
as his heart stopped, his lips
reaching, not for God
but for the women who could not stay, who wore
him down into the embers of a dying sunset.
I can forget when a lover strokes
my breasts.
Moaning in a god-forgotten
rhythmic tangle of arms, legs,
and across the room, are the sunset
colored clothes I wore.

If God exists and I could place a prayer on
my lips,
I would ask to know what mother wore the
day she left
and that my breath catch more lightly in
my breast when I see the strokes of sunset.
Stephanie Bachar
Published in Issue 32