Poem From When We Were Warmer   Leave a comment

Photo by Lindsay Arnold. Somewhere in our neighborhood, recently.

Photo by Lindsay Arnold. Somewhere in our neighborhood, recently.

I wrote this last April, about two weeks before my father died. I haven’t been able to write much since, not because of his death, but just because. But on December 14, 2013 I finally found a fraction of my voice. At least the draft poem is written, at least it is the truth of that moment, which is a start.

What artists do

You tell me you are hiking
waist-high in snow somewhere
in Wyoming. It is 80 degrees
here and raining blossoms.
The tourists have flooded
the stations again. Again

we are covered in humidity
too early. It’s too late
to tell you what happens
when I fall asleep with
the windows open.
But here’s what happens:

I become a watch, telling time
by the hours we are missing.
I become a straight key, turning
my blood into Morse code. I send

you only three words at a time.
On my worse nights, my SOS
misses your rely station. By morning,
the enemy has already taken me.

But mostly, I am a hope chest
storing our best memories
for someone else to open.

Mostly, I look down at my palms,
notice how fragmented my lifeline is.
The reader told me I have too many
false starts. She is right. She tells

me to keep only the ones with the strongest
grip. The one whose hands are as deft
as my tongue, but not as striking.
She tells me a piece of my heart line
is missing. She says obviously

it is with you.

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Posted January 8, 2014 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

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