Last time you see someone and you don’t
know it will be the last time.
And all that
you know now, if only you’d known then.
But you didn’t know, and now it’s too late.
And you tell yourself, “How could I have
known, I could not have known.
You tell yourself…
Missing Mom, Joyce Carol Oates
Now we will count to twelve,
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.
“Keeping Quiet”, Pablo Neruda
thinking of how you light up the dead parts of me
i seem to know how to pick them
out of a bunch I picked the darkest one
who’d call up cancelling whatever whenever
just to watch me dance all night
my then insecure boyfriend asked what’s going on
i don’t know, kid
i didn’t. but i knew i was
in for trouble
you stared and stared and oh that gaze, i wanted
those eyes staring at me for the rest of my days…
these stories, they come to me in dreams the first time I fell asleep since they told me you’ve fallen into flatline
I dream you
sometimes in colours, green and oranges, purples and blues, and not bleak nor dark, we are not in the shadows
in these dreams, our children they’re born. they’re not sucked to death, they’re not stillborn nor bled away
they live and we give
names to their innocent loving faces
the eldest has my eyes, her brother has your smile
in these dreams we’re not bitter
we’re not numb from pain
in these dreams you are standing tall
little daughter dances on your devoted steadfast feet
her brother clung to your arms, his head rests on your secure and sturdy shoulder.
he’s falling into another dream.
in these dreams, I dance with you under the chuppah
and you recite a long vow, a song we used to hum
before we went to sleep
On birthdays that are wiser,
On Letters to Lovers Lost.