A Winter of Loss

When you lose someone,

Your grief winds around you like a heavy scarf.

The weight of it tightens your throat and deadens your words.

It muffles the sounds of people passing on the street,

The sounds of laughter, or cars driving by,

Or the concerned and hesitant inquiries

Of friends. It all sounds the same.

Pain— an endless horizon of blank white snow.

You trudge numbly through the drifts,

The monotony interrupted only

by bright pin-pricks of agony:

Drops of crimson blood, blossoming stark against the snow.

Lost in the blizzard, you think the world has ended.

But no, the world has not stopped, has not paused.

Does not wait on your pain.

Does not see your tears or hear your whimpers in the dark.

The world moves indifferently on.

Only your world ground to halt, stopped spinning on its axis.

Only your sun flared and died.

Only you walk in a twilight winter of loss,

While those around you feel the warm breath of spring.

And that is perhaps the worst betrayal of all.

Advertisements

NPM: Cold Iron Words

Cold iron words
Black, twisted, and cruel
Writhe in the pits of our stomachs
We spit them out like venom 
And their barbs tear our throats as we force them
Up and out

Slinging them at each other
A heedless spray of bullets
Ripping wounds into our gossamer souls
We let them fly with fear in our eyes
Horrified at what we’ve become
Even in the becoming

NPWM Day 29: Walls

The first line of this poem is borrowed from Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall.”

 

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

but it is not the human heart.

No, our hearts build walls

without conscious thought or hesitation.

In a desperate bid for 

self-preservation,

we throw up defenses

miles high,

meters thick.

After its first taste of pain,

the heart reacts the same way

again and again,

to keep others out,

to stay safe and untouched.

Walls within walls,

and behind them,

corridors and halls

ever twisting,

labyrinthine,

and somewhere inside

hides

a fluttering, frightened heart.

And yet,

from its refuge,

its self-imposed prison,

it gazes out,

hoping that someone worthy

will scale the walls

and search the halls.

It longs with such desperation

for someone to seek it,

see it, need it,

know it.

The walls it crafted over years

suddenly become confining, isolating.

And protection is not so important now.

If only it could feel again

somehow.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

and perhaps that something

is the heart, after all.

NPWM Day 17: The Weight of Words

You wanted to forget those painful times,
So when I wrote of them,
It hurt you.
You hoped those dark instances
Would pass and be gone forever,
Like a shadow of a dream.
But moments never work like that.
They’re never just gone,
even if they’re not written on paper.
They’re written on us.
They can’t be erased,
But the ink fades over time
And new stories can be written over them
In bolder hues, with broader strokes.
Moments of redemption, forgiveness, hope
That lay themselves over the old pains
Like bridges to cross over.

And yet I cannot help but fear
That I carved those bad moments
More deeply into your heart
With each stroke of my pen,
And no poem is worth doing that again.

NPWM Day 15: Moon

As we drove along the winding, shadowed street

I gazed at the sky, criss-crossed with branches

Flashing by, blurred by speed and motion

And I said I would write a poem

About the moon, hanging like a golden coin in the dark

You didn’t say much, because the thought

Of poems was painful to you

No golden coins could make up for

The price you paid in the reading of poems

I cannot un-write them, cannot un-feel them

You cannot forget them, though you wish otherwise

And the words hang between us

Like a moon in the sky

Like a curtain of rain

Like a frozen memory

And I ended up lying after all

I didn’t write of a golden moon

But of you

NPWM Day 10: Broken

Something broke inside me
as I sat on that couch
in the dark
and you stood in the doorway,
light behind you
so I couldn’t make out your face

Something broke in me
and I’m not sure it’s fixed yet
I asked you not to leave
And you hesitated
hand on the latch
You stayed, but we were still broken
and words wouldn’t come to fix us

You stayed, until you finally left
and the tension was a wall between us
that kept my arms from wrapping around you
and kept your eyes from mine
You left, and the darkness stayed with me on the couch
And it wasn’t until days later
that I felt it, sharp and ragged,
even though we were fine
And I was afraid, because
that broken part inside me
didn’t just mend on its own this time