Woman In A Fire

"You've changed," she said,
and so I have.
Oh my love, get up, put on your clothes
(if you want to make the sun stutter in the sky;
if you want the swallows to go stunned and still)
and go outside.

Everything that was dead a month ago has sprung from the ground
or from the ends of branches.
Everything that was here a year ago is dead and sleeping,
forever, in that same ground.

You thought I was like an old lamp, always there,
always unnoticed and beloved at the same time.
I thought that too.
Now, though, starlings have found a way in, 
and I can barely keep my feet on the ground.
They call me;
they are a cacophony,
reminding me, so much, of--in those first days--you.

I had a dog, my whole heart, Mercury on four legs.
How I loved him! Now, he is gone
and I see a ginger cat in the garden every morning.
Goodbye, my love.
How it twists my heart to say it.
The starlings call, the ginger cat watches the birds,
and I change, rising on an updraft
or the ashy exhalation of a favorite book, now burning.



hedgewitch said…
There is such soft power in this Shay--how everything, everything changes, yet somehow we are not destroyed, only altered--not burned up, only lit like incense. They say matter can be neither created nor destroyed--perhaps the soul, immaterial as it is, has a similar resilience--it feels so here, at any rate. Just exquisite poetry.
Susie Clevenger said…
Life goes on and it changes as it must. There is such a deep sigh of acceptance of that in your words. The ginger cat has brought sunlight. This is so beautiful.
Cloudia said…
Make me cry Shay
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Oh, the sadness, resignation, acceptance of a new normal there is in this heartwrenching poem. I love what Hedge says, not burned up, but lit like incense. Yes. I just dont know if I can accept no more love poems written by Shay. But I expect there will be. The lines about your dog, Mercury on four legs, just kills me....but there is sweetness in the sight of the ginger cat in the garden every morning. A new soul come to you for nurture, which you do so well. Sigh. This poem went deep enough for tears (though in my dotage they come so often and easily now I can barely stand it.
. said…
I don't see sadness here. It's pure joy. The last stanza gave me the biggest grins. (More notes to come later, when I'm not on my phone.)

Best advice ever: Go outside. I've been taking the nicest walks around the neighborhood and to the playground with the kids (and pets) in the evenings. But I am craving the sun more and more, as summer arrived in the South some time ago. :)
. said…
I will say this now: brilliant phoenix poem.
Ah yes, the going on. Which will happen inevitably anyway, like the seasons, and so we eventually see this and choose to move with it. It happens that your beautiful last verse describes where I find myself at this morning, too. (Substitute one black cat and another for the dog and the ginger.)
Mama Zen said…
This is remarkable, beautiful work, Shay. I wish that I had this kind of talent just for a day, just to know how it feels.
Sioux Roslawski said…
I'm with Mama Zen, but I'd be happy with your talent for just an hour. Care to rent it out?
Kerry O'Connor said…
There are times when I feel so in between... and your poem takes me there.
Jennifer Wagner said…
Oh, wow. Phenomenal.
TexWisGirl said…
the sorrow is heartfelt.
Cloudia said…
friends with paws will find you I predict. Rescue each other and live in the suburbs of paradise together

Popular Posts