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For some reason, this has been an accumulation of bad news.  Nothing huge, small things really: a rejection letter (well two actually), a change in my work status coming, an acknowledgement from my parents of their aging, a health thing to check in my sweetie. None are full-blown disasters or true crisis. But this has all come pretty much on the heels of my birthday when I like good things to be happening to set the tone for the year.

Maybe I am wallowing a bit.

Nevertheless, there are two poems in this post. One about that accumulation, the other about/for a friend of my daughter’s who took her own life two years ago on the day before my birthday.

Accumulation

Disappointment sits like a stone in my belly
hard and spoked with pain.
All of my life’s moisture
repelled by it,
transferring to tears.

There is too much in one week,
too much news that tips into an
ever growing pool of melancholy.
Small things, stupid things,
things that test my optimism
my willingness to believe that some door
some window is opening somewhere
on other possibilities.

I understand why my mother
got down on her hands and knees
in the face of sorrow
to wash the floors by hand.
Her tears, mingling with
the sodden sponge
working and reworking over
the stains of her sadness.

What else is there but work
when grief threatens to overwhelm you?
What else is there but the tireless
route of one foot before the next
grooving a path to the next
day and the day thereafter,

else you pull the pillow over your head
and succumb to disappointments obstinacy.

 

Remembrance day

this day, this day before my birthday,
tainted with blood.
my daughter’s childhood friend
awash in her poems and her demons

awash in her own demise.
the knowledge of this reminisce
waits in me like some IED
that when I least expect it
blossoms into sharpened damage.

I wonder how her parents are
torn from their only child.
Was it one bullet? Was it quick?
because of course it was a gun.

I tried to contact them.
Sent them notes, parent to parent
to tell them
I was thinking of them. Of her.

To tell you the truth
I don’t know if the words
were welcome, or like
picking at a scab.

Alex was a poet.
Alex was 26.

The shape of her memory
still lives in my mind
though every day it
fades a little
like some worn out photograph
exposed to too much
life.

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