—poetry by Catherine McGuire

Lares. Roman: “Lords” – household ancestor spirits
Once the guiding spirits of each house –
souls risen from ancestral bodies buried
deep in the sacrarium, the altar room –
now even the name is unknown.
Over centuries, our dead were banished
first from house
   then yard
                        then town
backed relentlessly away from the places they protect
deeded the useless soil of surrounding hills.
Is it surprising the once-sacred land feels empty?
Any wonder we can hop like fleas
from town to town,
free to leave our homes
to strangers, and the dead
to manicured graves, their next step after nursing homes?
Professionally managed, expunged as guardians,
the dethroned Lords come to us only in dreams,
holding the fraying thread of our ancestry,
the unacknowledged geas – another word
we have left behind in our blind stumble forward.

Catherine McGuire is a writer/artist with a deep interest in Nature, both human and otherwise. She's had poems published for 3 decades, in publications such as New Verse News, FutureCyclePortland Lights, Fireweed, and on a bus for Poetry In Motion. She has taught workshops around Oregon. Her chapbook, Palimpsests, was published by Uttered Chaos in 2011 and her first full-length book of poetry, Elegy for the 21st Century, will be published by FutureCycle Press in 2016. She has three self-published chapbooks.