Archives for posts with tag: loss

Lost

The official letter
she had been holding
trailed to the floor
and she fumbled
with a bowl of aphids,
suddenly lacking her
usual appetite for them.

Feeling clumsy,
she set them free
by a windowsill.
The world outside
seemed unreal—
slow and dream-like.
“I must be in shock,”
she mumbled inaudibly.

The letter bore
the usual formalities
and some kind of fancy
seal that meant it was
from someone important,
someone who would
know what he knows,
and bears the responsibility
for conveying only
necessary information
and unfortunate facts.

“Ms. Ladybird,”
it began. “It is with our
sincerest sorrow that
we regret to inform you:
your house has completely
succumbed to fire, and
we were unable to locate
most of your children
in the blaze.”

The impersonal black
words on the white page
were burned into her mind’s eye.
Everything inside her railed
against the horror.

It continued.
“We were able to save
but one, who was hiding
at the time of the incident;
she will be in our custody
for the time being,
and you may retrieve her
at your earliest opportunity.
She is being attended by
our fine counselors and
receiving the utmost
professional attention
deemed helpful, as
she awaits your
return.”

“Ann! Ann!”
She cried aimlessly
into the summer air,
her eyes blurred by tears,
frantic and frozen
in her helplessness.

“We offer our
heartfelt condolences
for your terrible loss.
It is our duty at this time
to strongly urge you
to fly away home
at once, for the good
of your surviving child,
as well as for your own
welfare.”

In a daze,
she read the words
like a foreign language,
barely comprehending.

“Home…yes…home,”
she resolved, still shaken.

“But where is home?”

Claire Juno, © 2017

…inspired by the English nursery rhyme, “Ladybird, Ladybird”.
…dedicated to all who feel displaced in this world, whether by calamity or circumstance.

Advertisements

The Sun Will Still Rise
…a verse to my mother.

The sun will still rise
after you are gone,
with the noise of workday
traffic in the distance,
the drone of the masses
of the living, going about
their day, unaware of
your sudden absence.

The sun will still rise,
sending its indiscriminating
rays through my window
to this bereft new world,
blinding reminders
of the ambivalence
and continuance of things,
in spite of a loss that seems
to suggest, at least to me,
that everything else
should cease to exist,
in memoriam.

Just Doing My Job
...a verse in defense of the Sun.

I rose that morning
like any other,
only to find her glaring at me,
as though I had committed
some grave betrayal.

Why are you here,
she demanded to know,
and suddenly it dawned on me,
it was not that I had no reason
to be there, it was that
she could not face the day
I had brought to her.

Claire Juno, © 2015

Muse

In dreams she appears,
telling him there is love,
still love, and to find it
for himself once again.

He shuts his mind,
out of eternal loyalty
to the one who claimed
his heart, and to whom
he surrenders it still,
even in her absence.

He will not allow any
alteration. This must be
a false message, a cruel
sprite urging him on
toward some mischief.

He tries to put it out
of his thoughts. This
is not she, he supposes,
and yet as plain as any
cherished snapshot,
she appears, the moon
in her ethereal eyes,
coming to him

night after night,
crossing the celestial
chasm between them,
ever-attendant, bringing
a message he refuses
to consider. Love,

brushing against
his cheek in a manner
he might mistake for
a night breeze—
she implores him to seek,
even as love seeks him,
not yet knowing
his name.

Though she is gone
many years now,
she loves him still,
and so she slips through
the cracks of his spartan
heart, long in need
of love’s repair, gently
inspiring love’s return.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Mind’s Value

This disembodied love
gently retires to the
spirit-corners of his mind,
the way a grown child
lays her beloved doll to rest
for a seeming eternity
in its little bed,

now a container for love’s
history, a personal context
perfectly preserved,
glass-eyed and unaltered
by the years.

That it is there, waiting
for him, ever-expectant,
was a needed security at first,
then a familiar comfort.

This relic of his heart
remains undisturbed
beneath layers of dust
and seasons, like a truth
even tender children
eventually learn.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Collector

He surrounds himself
with art, as his way
of bringing her back,
or at least finding ways
to be close to her again.

Free-form sculptures
become a silent homage
to the one who inspired him,
who breathed life into his
once-nascent understanding
of everything.

The halls of his home are full
and empty at the same time,
a solemn procession of tributes
to the very one who cannot
return to see them.

All are cold, smooth,
motionless— just like her pale lips
on the last day she was here.

Claire Juno, © 2016

 

Ex

You were once my are,
my yes, my always.
You were for all time,
until death divided.

You, now my former,
no longer my present,
a stranger to my future;
no more climbing up calendars
together, the seasons blowing
past us in rotation.

You, once my why,
now my nevermore,
I am a fading phantom
on your cold arm as you
migrate to the opposite pole
of our sphere.

You, once my will and my be,
now gone and done.

Claire Juno, © 2016

 

His and Hers

Take them all,
or leave behind
what you no longer want.
You can always rip
the cover pages out,
the spaces where I signed
my name, or that I loved you,
or Merry Christmas.

The recipes are as good
as they ever were, regardless
of former sentiment.

Although I would be careful
about the coconut layer cake
from the birthday that ended
on an especially sweet note.

I would also caution you
on the maple oatmeal scones,
since I’m sure the last thing
you want to be reminded of
are those Sunday mornings
on the deck with the birdsong
and the breezes and hot
coffee, an entire luscious day
to ourselves.

Other than those,
you should be fine.
Oh, one more thing.
Steer clear of the chocolate pots—
those will take you down a lane
you swore you would never
traverse again.

Claire Juno, © 2014

Fairy Godsend

You are just a pair of boots, I realize,
and I shouldn’t really be this excited about you,
but I wasn’t expecting you to arrive in the mail today.

And then this package came and I was afraid
to open it and see you for myself, afraid
of what my impulses had rendered that night
in the online auctions.

There was something about the tension
and the thrill of it, and attempting to believe
that my status as winner or loser did not depend
on a ten dollar used shoe purchase.

This emotional vacillation led to confusion
as to whether I really, really wanted you
in the first place.

But secretly, I did — in my other life,
the one in my mind, where I am happy,
because you transform me out of my rags
and into my ball gown self.

So when I pulled you from the tissue paper,
I marveled at your velvety brown smoothness,
and those pretty buckles, and even though
I was wearing old socks, I couldn’t resist
trying you on right then and there.
I slipped into you so perfectly,
I let out a gasp.

It was as though you had been always intended
for me, from some little shop with a cheery cobbler
who makes only Very Special Boots, far removed
from the cruel deprivation of Cinderella realities,
of the nameless and unheard.

Though the rest of me was still very much a mess
inside and out, I felt transported in that moment
to the other side of a magic window, where the life
I had gazed upon was finally mine.

It was hard to watch that night as the minutes
counted down, but impossible to look away.
I had done all I could do, made my best offer,
knowing there were no guarantees.

And deep down I knew if I lost you to another,
it would be a crushing defeat too hard to bear,
after the near-daily reminders of other losing bids;
the finality of auction endings, clocks winding down,
and no second chances.

Claire Juno, © 2013

…inspired by the folk tale “Cinderella”.

Relative Value

See me on my pinnacle,
with blessings to excess,
all these beautiful gifts cascading
gently along the slope that descends
from where I now stand, overlooking
all I have been given in this life:

the doe-eyed, rosy children;
the gentle wife; the cozy shelter
where so many Christmases
have been celebrated, where
babies were born through moans
of labor, where fighting words
flew through the night air like
poison darts, only to be followed
by tears and apologies and forgiveness
and love in its myriad forms.

This, all this, I now hereby forever
forsake in the name of the only thing
that truly possesses me; the ultimate
pilot of my conscience.

See the doe-eyed children tumbling
from their mild grassy slopes, crying,
in their innocence not understanding
why I am never coming home again.

See my gentle wife, on her knees
before her God, bewildered, grieving,
incredulous that all she offered
could be so roundly discarded.
See her unable to meet my gaze.
See her hollowed cheeks, her spirit’s
defeat; see her plodding forward
with maternal duties because
the children need the safety of routine
more than ever, now that I
have become a stranger, and this
by choice.

See the cozy home we shared slowly
sliding off the edge of this precipice,
holding within it all the memories of
children and fights and Christmases
and love and every once-precious thing,
all that I now willingly disown.

I watch it all with the glazed vision
of one who is cruelly enchanted,
this falling away of everything; and I had
everything, didn’t I. But as it turns out,
in the end, that is not what I wanted most.

I watch it all crumbling downward,
the cries growing fainter with the distance.
I am only vaguely aware of the haunting pain
left in the wake of my steps, but by now
it has been too long, and my selective
impairment prevents me from any
saving acts in this final hour.

What I want, what I must have,
comes at this price: the deserting of all
most men could ever dream of, which
has become inexplicably disposable to me.

Someday I may regret this, but right now
I am under the trance of what rules me
and blinds me.

Claire Juno, © 2014

The Invisibles

Walking I became aware,
there they were,
everywhere.

Bands, legions, lines:
arm to arm,
the invisible ones.

A thousand moons,
ten thousand sons—
a strange comfort,
I wasn’t the only one.

Monochrome,
the shades are there
but few can see:
they float in on the gray,
undetected by you and me
until loss shocks us
out of rigidity.

What lies between
is just a membrane,
a pale sheath to peel.

Traverse the lane
among the invisibles,
ever palpable, ever present.
Once polarities relent,
no sweeter hour was ever spent
than walking in the gray.

Claire Juno, © 2012

…written in remembrance of a brother.

For Day of the Dead, when boundaries soften between life and death.