As I compiled this week's poems for this post I found myself noticing that these were possibly among the most personal I'd written so far in this project. Each one felt like an emotional outpouring. Looking back, not only at the twenty-eight poems I've written for this series so far but in all the poetry I've written throughout my life, the tail-end of January always seemed to drag that kind vulnerability out of me.
This year saw the thirteenth anniversary of my brother's passing. We had to say goodbye to him on January 24, 2005. I was eleven going on twelve and suddenly my life was split into before and after. Januaries became less about new beginnings and more about dark days and emotional turbulence. It's hard to tell if such feelings, that repeat every single year like clockwork, will ever go away. In thirteen years they haven't. But, I'm grateful to at least have an outlet through which to channel these feelings.
And wasn't that the point of this project? To write one poem a day, and use this daily writing as a means to understand myself. I've mentioned before that I have difficulty understanding my life without writing about it. That has been true my whole life, and I feel these seven new poems reflect that more than any I've written in this series so far.
There's definitely a different tone to these pieces than there have been over the last three weeks. Regardless, and without further ado, here is A Year in Poetry 2018: Week Four.
I HAVE WOKEN TO A SHY SUN | January 22
I have woken to a shy sun,
veiled in storm clouds,
head ducked beyond the horizon-
hesitant to rise,
to bring this day to light;
the rain grants her sanctuary
in her seclusion,
an escape in thunder claps
and lightning blasts
and drum-beat symphonies.
When she is ready,
the sun will stretch her rays,
part the clouds,
but for now,
a quiet rest
as the rain takes over.
IN THIS SILENCE | January 23
This is the silence I have settled into;
the kind that rings,
that makes it feel less quiet.
The kind wrapped up in
soft breezes and cricket songs,
and the illusion I still cling to,
that you may still be here,
may still be home,
may still be waiting,
for the morning to come.
THIRTEEN YEARS | January 24
Thirteen years since the last goodnight and I am still waiting for dawn to break. Waiting for your next sunrise. For thirteen years I have waited for the morning. And for thirteen years the dusk has stretched and darkened, and night has yet to fall away.
And I do not have the eloquence to fit thirteen years into words worthy of the mark you left behind. Worthy of you. I have searched dictionaries. I have summoned the Bard’s ghost to beg him to come back and light upon his tongue a word that might encompass the love I have stored in this heart, and how deeply I have missed you for all these thirteen years. But even he could not find the language that might suit you. That might suit this. That might suit us.
And I may live for thirteen more without a word to add to our vernacular. That might make the dawn at last arrive. That might make leave this world, cross into yours, on roads of stardust and comet tails.
There has to be a phrase stronger than ‘I miss you’. There has to be a feeling louder than love. Though I think you have might have taken it with you. Kept it. For thirteen years.
SHADOW DANCER | January 25
The shadows move
and in them,
in their nightly moonlit dance,
I see you.
How I wish to dance,
MISSING YOU, NO. ? | January 26
How many ‘missing you’ poems can I write before I wash the feeling from these bones? From a heart that has ached ten years strong. Will it ache ten more? If I keep writing, does that hurt grow stronger or weaker? I’m afraid I can’t tell anymore. I’m not sure if I ever could.
I just know that sometimes I stutter in poetry, hesitated with a hovering pen, because I am afraid that one day I will write the last poem about missing you
and then you’ll be gone.
LET ME BE MORE | January 27
Let me be more than what has happened to me;
more than these scars, which arc across my chest and back and mark haphazard maps of all the hurt the heavens have dealt me.
more than the sorrow I keep in my heart, in my head, that replays like black-and-white film reels on all these quiet nights.
THESE WALLS WON'T COME DOWN EASY | January 28
These walls won’t come down easy,
they will crumble at your feet
and you will find the bruises hidden beneath,
the scars I’ve yet to show you,
for healing does not come from
but from the careful degeneration
of defenses long-held,
from a hand offered from across
from the connection of two points
and the silent reassurance of our togetherness,
from a joining of one soul, two souls, three, four,
over drinks and stories from ten years ago,
and the warmth that spreads from the inside,
out - as bricks are pulled from mortar,
chipped and worn and rotting,
and oil spread
over scars long-hidden
and a heart