Wednesday, April 04, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 4: Making Sense of Grief After You've Gone


Prompt: Write a poem that is about something abstract – perhaps an ideal like “beauty” or “justice,” but which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of relentlessly concrete nouns.

MAKING SENSE OF GRIEF AFTER YOU'VE GONE

I’ve dipped my pen into this inkwell a dozen times.
Each time the nib loops a trail onto the whiteness of the paper as my hand writes,
No no she is gone she will never come again
the point stutters and scratches, catches on some rough surface spot
and the black ink bleeds, spoiling the careful lines spelling out the ugly reality
of your untimely death.
There’s a pile of crumpled paper balls on the desk. Six, or seven, I haven’t bothered
to count them carefully, or place them meticulously in rows
like sitting ducks, waiting for a bullet to decorate their breast feathers
with a ragged red-poppy splash, a strange bloom in a too-familiar habitat.
Death isn’t careful.

New sheet of paper. This umpteenth attempt, the ink draws me in,
draws me down into its opaque sunless depths
and it’s grief that writes, in indelible black, No no she is gone
she will never come again, it’s sorrow that fills my nib reservoir
gliding across the paper, tracing the smooth fluid lines of calligraphy which
draw out the shape of your absence in stark black letters,
in the negative space surrounding words that tell me you aren’t coming back,
paraphrased words from Shakespeare tumbling through space-time
until they materialize on the paper in front of me through the act of writing:
the TARDIS of words where ‘gone’ is less final than ‘dead’.

Paper balls aren’t tidy. Neither is death.

Maybe one day there’ll be chinks of clear glass as the ink slowly diminishes in its bottle.
Easier to see how much ink there is left, how much more grief there is to spare
for writing a record of your death over and over till the black letters finally form themselves
into comprehensive meaning – words of power in a personal Kabbalah
where speaking these syllables into being – she will never come again - will set me free.

3 comments:

Angela said...

Wow! Very wow.

Shuku said...

Thank you Angela! I love your Two Sides of a Circle as well - it's lovely and the rhythm is wonderful!

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