After Her Prayer: something beautifully strange

Standing quietly, a daddy watches as his son sleeps. You see, it was not too long ago that this handsome child faced death. An unknown form of cancer first attacked his right and then his left lung, however, Johnny survived. The doctors were at a loss to explain the origins of the disease; they knew not from where it came, but the horror had found a host inside the boy’s body. Weeks passed without improvements, and as the child’s condition worsened, even hope, it seemed, was left without a comforting place.

Then one night: something happens, something beautifully strange.

A woman enters Johnny’s hospital room, she is unknown to the nursing staff; and of course, to the boy’s family. She seems demure, but then who could tell, really. Strolling across the floor, she slightly glances over at Johnny, and then makes eye contact with his parents. Un-remarkably, she says, “Hello, I am Joanna,” but offers no last name. A lovely cloak lightly graces her thin shoulders; although something of her assures strength, power, presence. Hello, says the child’s parents, and then asks Joanna what she wants, here.

The physiognomy of this woman is precise; she appears as poured from archaic molds, creatively constructed by the ancients. Nothing seems left to chance. Surely, any man knowing her tenderness is the envy to any woman with imagination. To every eye, fleeting glances are merely phrases.

Speaking quietly, softly, Joanna explains, “Your son’s sickness alerted me, and I want to help him.” Naturally, Johnny’s parents are reluctant to permit a stranger closeness to their son; and yet, after attentively listening to her, and appreciating that the woman desires only to pray for him, Nigel and Julia relent; however, they feel and exact caution. The woman is closely observed.

Leaning nearer to the sick boy: Joanna extends her hands above his chest; after which, she halts, looking to the boy’s father. Holding out her palms, she then asks that daddy rests his palms inside hers. Reluctantly, the man follows her instructions. Immediately, Johnny’s dad withdraws his hands, the woman’s palms are quite warm, although not of a burning warmth; still, the sensation surprised Nigel, caught him off guard, but then shaking it off, he replaces his palms.

“Yes,” Joanna says, “you feel the warmth.” The woman demonstrates such comfort, and confidence, so much so that Johnny’s parents relax, and then believe that they feel, perhaps, what this strange woman feels. Placing her hands atop the boy’s chest, the mysterious woman softly speaks. Some words are unfamiliar, of a different, and archaic language and others are in English.

After her prayer, Joanna opens her eyes, leans closely, and then lightly kisses Johnny’s right cheek; as she gently presses his forid, with her opposing hand. “I must go, now.” “Bless you.” Uncertain as to whether they briefly looked away, and in a blink, it seems, the woman no longer stands before them.

The event occurred three years ago; and his loving parents, his family and friends have the strange woman to thank for Johnny’s health; and because he comfortably rests at home. The boy’s team of doctors remains amazed by what “…appears as good fortune, and luck.” Such events, imply the doctors, have little to do with “… ‘mere prayer,’ anything foreign to medical science.”

Somehow: The strange woman departed, unseen; additionally, the Elevators never arrived to the floor. Nigel, and Julia feel deeply indebted to Joanna, the woman is outstanding, special and because the boy’s parents ‘believe,’ they wonder, “Could she be ‘more’ than special?” In her memory, Julia scripted a poem; it hangs above Johnny’s bed:



Of you, I seek compassion
Your shoulders bear my weight
Eyes forever watching
Your smile endures my fate

To life, you are mysterious
To me a hand to hold
My sunshine every morning
My cover when I’m cold

Troubles are your homeland
Sorrows dark and deep
Your love consoles my pillow
My dreams in restful sleep

The mother to a daughter
Alone you raise the son
If lost and needing hope
To you our spirits run

Hunger understands you
Thirst you pacify
Desire to help commands you
To you all children cry

In church, I often see you
Your stare a glancing gaze
Stillness speaks of wonder
You light my nights my days

In school you sit beside me
At lunch, you share my food
Forever I can call you
You’re always in the mood

Outside: The pleasant roar of the rains, the artistic crackle of thunder wrinkles the fabric. Lightning brilliantly, beautifully paints the skies; and beneath it all a son peacefully sleeps as his father, watches.

Copyright (c) 2003-2017 Delbert H. Rhodes

Lyrical Light

The Mother to hurt, she sings old but enchanting melodies; and as I sit listening, her voice, the sounds of lyrical light, spin, illuminating a mystery of webs. To her every thrill, I surrender; to the rise and fall of nuances, I tremble. Where ends the nervous tide rushing the stream? The preponderance of waters slipping over the falls? Only she comprehends sweetness in darkened light, the tenacious tenderness that is her fingertips.

The woman’s ardent simplicity allures me. She is the flower, the stormy skies, the steamy rains. This ageless beauty whose delicate lines characterize her face. A timelessness without void. The degree of everything assuring one thing, one thing-but take care, the illusion of midnight…did you feel it?

Strangely, such simplicity conjures critical thinking; questions better left to higher intelligence. As such, I could father neither psychological nor emotional critiques as to (even) begin conversations of worth. Yet, here, I sit as she bends and shapes me, molds me, reconstructs this dinosaur into something It could never be, something It would never become. She is Mastress to metamorphoses, Mother to the moment, and this moment and as her creation, I am:


The moments lapse, while next to me you sleep.
Outside, rains feed the starving skies and foliages.
Outcomes, matters of choice or chance? I am better
served by forgetfulness but submit to memories.

Lying here, the terms, like water, flow into my mind.
Oxymorons, palindromes, portmanteau. Willingly,
we don pretentious masks, caring to believe that
without them, we are forgiving, honest, truthful.

Did I ask of you; and did you offer, memory fails me;
for, forever, it seems that loyalty and even support are
not the obligations of crutches. What brand of repulsion
ravishes raindrops; and then makes them cry;
and is it not sad?

Unlike non-negative roots, our radical emotions
negate; degrees of despair whirling wildly, soaring to
fourths, fifths, higher. And then acquiring the nth
degree, we violate critical thinking.

Borne by unknowns, we are rawdata, variables, pieces
adorning Chess Boards; our end games subject to the
Heavens and Hades.

The mirror reconfigures our appearances. Our reflections
regard us deceitfully. Anatomically, and inside the brilliant
womb, we experience metamorphoses, we mutate. Nevertheless,
the bending of our forms fails the bending of our lives.

Healing is relative and time heals, sometimes. Recovery,
distant; discovery: daunting. Like honeybees, sorrowful
tears lure us; they sweeten our lives, they are our lives.

Inside the Cosmos, colloids randomly connect, and
during which, esteemed questions of life arise, choices
are never chances, but and apparently, the answers are

Shortly, the rains pause and then the clouds illuminate;
Science and the Heavens entice me, I am content and at
ease; and then effortlessly; and, almost as if consciously,
susurrating winds disperse the clouds, exposing lost dreams.

Breathlessly, I cannot help but wonder, which of them are
yours, mine…

…Every one.

Copyright (c) 2015 Delbert H. Rhodes


Delbert H. Rhodes

Today, he reaches his tenth birthday, a special day for the boy, and everyone who knows and loves him. Yet his Mother, strangely, feels somewhat distant, she seems just a little left of center. Mr. Reland passed away one year ago; nonetheless, although she terribly misses her husband he is not what troubles her. Tommy is a wonderful child, her boy, and she loves him and he, her, should it matter that he is not truly her son. Still, she has always sensed and possibly, even known that the boy is different from other children; additionally, and although academically he soars above the rest, her feelings permit her only uncertainties.

2-4-07-15Tommy arrived into the care of the Relands ten years ago, and under strange circumstances. Travelers who were looking for a place to sleep entered an old farmhouse. In one of the bedrooms and all alone, a baby lie sleeping in its crib. The child, alas, abandoned, appeared uninjured and healthy. A search for the parents ended in failure; Child Services And Family Care aided the infant.

To his great fortune, the find soon provided Tommy a home. The lad and his newly found family love each other, nevertheless, he really never quite fit the mold, so unlike other children, so different, and including his stepbrother, Kamron.

Nights while his brother sleeps, often, Tommy lies awake staring at the stars. The heavens are beautiful but more than beauty their allure is incomprehensible to him. Then, one night the unimaginable happens, while transfixed by the celestials, the star gazer wonders of his home, his true family.

Remarkably, a shiny coin, a penny, appears beside him on his bed. “Wow!” “But, where did you come from?” Unusually bright and warm to the touch, the coin is wonderful. Resting it inside his palm, the startled boy closely regards its inscriptions and graphics; and as much as the penny appears usual, it is not.

Within moments, Tommy begins to remember things, curiously, he recalls not only how the coin was created but its creators, a team of researchers, headed by his Father. “Somehow, this tiny penny holds,” the boy silently says, “the key to life and my life.”

After a short while, the true purpose of the coin is revealed: it is a Galactic Library, harnessing the histories of every world, every planet, solar system, galaxy and universe; it is a bridge to Tommy’s ancestry and the truth of his arrival to this distant star.

Although centuries older, today, a son celebrates his tenth birthday; in addition to which, his first responsibility is to his people, his family. As the party below takes shape, he calls to Mother. The two alone in the upstairs hallway, she notices that he hides something. “What is inside your hand?” “Mother,” he begins, “I want to ask you something.” Before answering, and somewhat bewildered, Mom, smiling, says, “Of course, honey, what?”

Almost gliding across the floor, Tommy opens his hand, “Tell me, Mother, what do you see?” Hesitating, thinking that her son is merely joking, Mrs. Reland remains speechless for a while. Then staring at the coin, she answers, although somewhat uneasily, “A penny, why?” Placing the coin inside Mother’s right hand and while staring deeply into her eyes, the look on her son’s face causes Mrs. Reland more discomfort.

Instructively: “Look again, Mother; less is the difference between more than plenty.” “Understanding the worth of this penny is to understand the worth of your people.” Returning him the penny, “My people?” “Tommy?!” “But, what exactly do you mean?” “Besides, you are just a little boy, what do you know?” Intently, “I am neither little nor a boy.” Mrs. Reland pensively regards her son; and as though a vision cloaks his face, her chest quickly rises, her breathing increases and her heart races.

Today, on her son’s tenth birthday, a Mother must wrest with an awesome realization and responsibility; she must somehow come to terms with an uncertainty that she has always known, and it not only changes ‘her’ life but life, itself.

Copyright (c) 2015 Delbert H. Rhodes