When to let go? when do I …?
when does the holding on
stop being pain and become a habit
of always checking the door before bed
always running a fork through my fish
always hanging an ornament given
by someone you don’t even remember
of dusting dog bowls four years empty —
when does it transform from grief to
just something we’re just used to,
like the person, thing, or precious
canine companion that I once held,
holding on as if to let go would be
to forget and erase the memory
a life never lived, a love never shared,
a life that was so long — too short —
wound in my DNA like a third helix,
alien for that experience of being,
and now I’m only human, but for a time,
I was only tears and apathy and nevers
that would never end or come —
but when does it come, how
will I know its arrival, its first
coming and presence in the darkness
will it shine as a light, be joy in the night,
will it be the moment I don’t cry
when a dog that I don’t know
licks my face in a gesture
of benevolence … as if knowing
what I shared, lived, loved, and lost
and in the heat of fur pressed presence
let me know I’m not alone
and have more to give.
Is that when I let go,
or do I write our story, our
history, a chronicle that can’t be
undone, forgotten, or lost —
or do I wait for a sign,
for the illumination of the dog
star bursting through the skies,
for a familiar bark in the middle
of the ocean, just me and him,
or for another purpose to just find me,
as he did, that day, in Poland,
and just make — is — today,
or I do make it be — and just say,
today, it is … I’m moving forward?
Does today, tomorrow, ever come
in the presence, the shadow,
of a past that was a dream that was —
is letting go, a choice, or something
Submitted as part of “National/Global Poetry Writing Month” (#NaPoWriMo #GloPoWriMo).
Today’s prompt: write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. This may not be a “fun” prompt, but loss is one of the most universal and human experiences, and some of the world’s most moving art is an effort to understand and deal with it.
Yes, mine is a bit of twist on this, but I have written a lot about loss — so I wanted to explore this from a slightly nuanced place about what do we do with that loss … and when do we ‘find’ again?
30 Poems in 30 Days
All text and photography © Dale Schierbeck
…. more of my original Poetry on EatsWritesShoots here.