Across Water

Currents move you
When you don’t know
Where to move yourself

In childhood,
Moments of crisis,
At the end of one chapter,
Beginning of the next

Familiar in their pain
Longing that returns
Over and over
Like waves, the tide

Trying to ‘be good’
Meet expectations
Of your parents
You can never meet them

They are the shore
Currents constantly
Pull you away from,
Where you started

These people
Began your life
They are not the end


-Copyright C.M. Mounts, May 2016

High Water

When the flood comes into the house it leaves mud and mold. You try to clean up. It’s a bad day when you must throw the refrigerator and the flooring out- but what can you do? You have your life with you, the stuff of what remains- your mind, your experience, your willingness to move on or not.

Maybe that’s the real tragedy of it all. That the tragedy derails you for years. That passersby look on at the unfinished roof and are annoyed at your laziness. They don’t know that dad fell off the ladder, hit his head, and died trying to fix it.

And you can’t face it.

You can’t face the pain. Bills must still be paid and the collector doesn’t give a shit that your heart is in pieces. That you can’t think clearly enough not to pour spoiled milk on the last of the cereal in the box.

No one remembers your trauma and you are never over it fast enough for their taste. They’ve moved on to the next episode, the next season. As if life is a television series and they are sick of watching you.

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, January 2018


It starts out okay

Until the dissatisfaction
Creeps in
The boredom
The blame

You love so you try to fix it
There is no fixing it
They came broken

Only they can make
An unbroken self
Only personal healing

That takes time
Hard work
It is quicker,
Easier to blame others

So, the water felt fine
You got in
Not noticing the fire
Lit underneath

And slowly, slowly
What is abnormal
Becomes normal

Your definition of abuse
Becomes extreme
To support your denial
Denial of the abuse

You cannot face it
You cannot look
Look into the mirror

There is shame in
Tolerating it
Receiving it
Admitting it

So, as the world boils
Around you
When an old friend asks
“How are you?”

You respond
“I’m fine.”


-Copyright C.M. Mounts, October 2017


Magic in the moon
Early morning
Sub-zero walk
No one is about

Ground crunches
Sky is clear
Nothing blocks
View of space

People are home
Snuggle each other
Snuggle the cat
Snuggle in blankets

But I am out
Walk to breakfast
Hot coffee

A tramp outside
One warm inside
To another

Winter in small doses
Reminder of childhood
Play, romance
Simpler times in my life


-Copyright C.M. Mounts, January 2018


“Excuse me, is that your bag?” she asked. “No,” I replied, “that’s my wife.” The woman’s face wrinkled in the familiar expression of disdain I have become accustomed to from that same said wife. The stranger scoffed and walked away muttering, “Jerk.” I guess most people cannot appreciate my humor. My wife can’t. I stared at the woman’s back and wanted to call after her, “Hey! Why don’t you mind your own business, you busy body!” I held my breath instead. I looked for my wife.

She had wandered off from the shopping bags to browse some antiques. She expected me to stand there and protect her purchases. It was just another example of how disconnected we had become. She didn’t notice when I was gone. I didn’t notice when she was gone. Yet we stay married. I think she hates me because I never gave her children. I think I hate her because she is chronically ill. Just another detail that makes me a jerk. You heard the lady.

This flea market is the one habitual activity we meet up for every weekend. She likes to shop and get bargains which she fills our house with and gives away as gifts whenever family comes to visit. They don’t come often. I think she is filling up our home as an external attempt to fill the space in her heart where she wanted her children to be. Too many trips in and out of the hospital. Too little energy to chase a toddler.

I work too much to have been any help to her. I thought more money would make her happy. I thought taking care of her frail body so she never had to work would make her happy. I thought buying her all this crap would make her happy. All it has done is make me old and bitter.

If she left me to find another man because I’ve turned into such a jerk, I would likely never find another companion. Because I am such a jerk. And she is an old bag, stuffed with crap she doesn’t need but won’t let go of.

Maybe that’s why we stay married.

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, July 2008


Is it your history
Your failing health?

It is impossible
To guess
What lies in the folds
In the hearts of others

So many of us
Do not advertise
So that strangers
Will take no notice
Pass us by

Cannot exploit
Our weaknesses
Safety perhaps
Isolation as well

For long times
We cannot take it

Pain clings
Must be washed off
Again and again and again

We are just not ready
That is OK
That is a perfectly fine choice

Regardless of what others think
You should and should not
Do with yourself

Look at them
Be kind
The mess of their lives
Make it obvious

They do not have it
Figured out either

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, June 2017

Summer Wind

Early summer
Not too hot
Strong breeze
From the south
Crosses the wide river

Through the trees
Into the window
Billowing curtains
Dancing shadows
Beige pill carpet

Wind on water
Wind swept leaves
Shimmering cacophony
Natural windchimes

Liquid against liquid
Liquid against life
Life must bend
Or break and snap
Against the invisible

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, February 2017