I. Lament for Annie
The pink door on Locust street
sits slightly ajar.
now suffering at the hands of too many strangers
who have no idea where they are going.
The vine covered church across the way
still casts an afternoon shadow on the sidewalk
as if nothing has changed,
yet twenty years and you are gone.
Am I the only one who knows
that there has been a disappearance?
Am I the only one who remembers
what was behind the pink door:
Two rooms on the third floor
filled with the secrets and dreams
of a fragile black girl.
A girl with a distant smile
that never seemed anchored
in anything I could truly understand.
A soul longing to exist in some other place.
There are days when I take Locust street
just to stand in the church courtyard across the way,
searching for a time
that has fallen through the looking glass.
Watching as people walk through my memories of you
carrying away chips of pink paint
on the bottom of their shoes.
that door is always open
II. Annie Speaks
Pink is no color for a door
that must withstand
the harshest elements,
the unseeing eye, the unfeeling hand.
How well I know this frailty,
having always craved the rarest tenderness,
the unattainable heart.
Imagine the pale, pale rose
near translucent with innocence,
too delicate for touch.
Have twenty years flown by so wingedly?
Here within the shadow of this hallowed place
time is nothingness. I am everywhere.
My secrets ride aside the wind.
My dreams ascend the vines toward
Come. Walk with me across the courtyard
and know that I am home.
Please: A Soulful Sonnet
Do not swear you love me so unquenchably,
with verses blooming sweet and blooms as rare as truth.
So rare is truth, dear sir. I fear you do not love me as you swear!
For this, I dare not hold your tender gifts
too close to head or heart,
Or lay too long inside your outstretched arms.
What is this love to you, I ask?
Four letters? An ancient hieroglyph of spheres
and lines to tie and bind my mind, my very soul?
A bid to own my woman-ness,
that deep and cavernous mystery
in me that riles your rest and haunts you so?
I do not know. But I watch your favor turn to dust,
your fervor cool to almost nothingness when I am most myself.
So rare is truth.
Must I forever dance the bewildering labyrinth,
searching for the starry heart?
Sometimes I ride the dizzying pilgrimage to mecca,
ascending sound and the shifting light.
Sometimes the vortex sings my name,
and I wonder if I must answer.
Just yesterday, the vortex beckoned,
swing low swing low—
sowing my name
into the roiling tempest.
I sit at the brink of a reckless world,
listening for the sound of circles widening,
waiting for the labyrinth to flower
Prior to taking a serious interest in poetry, Bernardine (Dine) Watson worked as a social policy writer for major foundations, nonprofits, and media organizations. She has written for The Washington Post, The Ford Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Stoneleigh Foundation. Dine’s poetry has been published in the Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Indian River Review, by Darkhouse Books, and by the Painted Bride Art Center. She was a member of 2015-16 class of The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ the Poet in Progress Program, and the 2017 and 2018 classes of the Hurston Wright Foundation’s Summer Writers Week. Dine serves on DC’s Ward 4 Arts and Humanities Committee and on the selection committee for the Takoma Park Third Thursday poetry reading series. She’s read her poetry in venues throughout the DC metropolitan area with More Than A Drum Percussion Ensemble. Dine is a current member of DC Women Writers of Color.
Image by By I, Wildfeuer, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7671573