Poetry Corner

(Sometimes, I write stuff that’s neither a narrative blog post, nor a snarky facebook update, nor a legally binding IEP document.  Sometimes, if it seems to belong on here, I’ll post it.  This is a poem I wrote several years ago.)

“with  all the metaphors in the world at your disposal, mourn.”  -sherman alexie

for tasia

 

this is what happens when a child like you dies:

we stand outside the chapel with punch that’s too sweet

pulling out the metaphors and showing them to each other

until “heaven” replaces “special” as your mom’s least favorite word

 

after the loss came the memories

and i found myself walking past your closed coffin

with my mind reaching back to your first day of school

your wasted arms, vestigial legs, a throat that couldn’t even swallow

all at sharp angles–geometry of pain

the tube in your stomach, the smell of your breath

(“she can’t eat, drink, or have her teeth brushed–even a teaspoon of water could kill her”)

non-verbal, medically fragile, profound retardation

i smiled at you, i stroked your hand gently

and when you left, i shut the door to the supply closet and cried myself sick

mourning then for your life

like i mourn now for the loss of it

 

because everything

happens

in stages

over time

 

like the way your spine shifted in on itself

the way that your family stopped hearing the doctors

or how i learned

much too late

how to lift you

without fear

 

i sit now

in the corner

made deep with your absence

and remember the feeling of you in my arms

that day in the park, and all the other children

stretching and bending

beyond possibility

your body a calm, brittle bird in my lap.

 

(can you fly now?)

have you become a metaphor?

an angel

a bird

a trial

a lesson

your very existence a fist thrown at god

why is it, now, that we’re praying?

 

i am looking for answers

like they looked for a cure

but all i can see is a clean purple cushion

unmarked by the weight of your inconsequential body

and surrounded by things that you couldn’t touch, or use

 

paintbrushes

spoons

running shoes

and plastic letters

negative space

when the metaphors fail.

 

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One Response to Poetry Corner

  1. Niki says:

    I’ll remember this always.

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