Saturday, July 22, 2017

Grackles

"Why?" she asked,
holding a headless sparrow
that the grackles had killed.

The sun was out,
but could as easily not have been.
I could have been someplace else.
She could have never been born.

Here, it is like
stepping off of the unfurled tongue of a devil.
For hell, it's cold.
People work here, collect checks like anybody else.

Once, she was spinning.
I caught her in my arms.
It could have been someone else,
but that day, the sun was out.
That day, the sparrows were thick around the backyard feeder.

At a certain age, she started locking
her bedroom door. There I'd stand, blind in the hallway,
holding laundry warm from the dryer against my arms.
Here, they let you look, their faces a question.

His eye is on the sparrow, so they say.
I was someplace else, collecting a check like anybody would.
I came rushing through the front doors,
from a window to a hallway to an elevator, one level down.

Someone caught her in their arms.
Now she's here, oh Jesus.
Oh God oh sweet Jesus, yes that's her.
My knees buckled, the floor came up. It could as easily have been someone else.

"Give her some water," someone said.
"Is her husband on his way?" 
Oh oh oh oh no no no no.

Every day of her life has run through
every day of mine. Once, she was spinning,
dancing to some song in the living room. 
She was smiling. Her arms might have been wings.
_______

For the Real Toads mini-challenge. Write about a building. I wrote about a morgue.
 

17 comments:

S said...

Because of the timing, this poem is hitting me so hard. My daughter has recently decided to cut me out of her life. She basically wants me silent. As a mother, you never see it coming --- the loss --- however it comes. Thankfully she isn't hurt or stolen or dead; only growing up. :(

S said...

I love this line break:

"At a certain age, she started locking
her bedroom door."

Locking, as in ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AifQ64khhY4

Blogoratti said...

This poem has so many layers, like skin erupting it dishes out vivid emotions and a longing for answers that may never be answered. Well done you. I'd re-read to find missing connections but these were my first thoughts about it.

Martin Kloess said...

Amazing write. There are layers upon layers of things going on. In the end she has found a resolution. (but in my mind: has she)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You paint a scene that hits the heart. I especially love the image of her dancing, her arms like wings. And every day of her life running through every day of the narrator's.

Kim Russell said...

A difficult but beautiful poem;I had to read it several times as I found something new in it each time. It made me cry, even the headless sparrow and the question 'Why?' Particularly:
'Once, she was spinning.
I caught her in my arms.
It could have been someone else,
but that day, the sun was out.
That day, the sparrows were thick around the backyard feeder'.
And although this scene is long past for me it is oh so familiar:
'At a certain age, she started locking
her bedroom door. There I'd stand, blind in the hallway,
holding laundry warm from the dryer against my arms'
which makes the following line hard to read:
'Here, they let you look, their faces a question'.
Most of all I love:
'She was smiling. Her arms might have been wings'.

Sarah Russell said...

A beautiful, poignant inner dialogue that is seldom revealed. Yes, many layers.

Dani H said...

this is the most terrifying, sorrowful poem i've ever read of yours. so powerful, SP!

Old Egg said...

What a significant and telling poem this is. It is beautiful but horrific writing of so sad an event. How thankful are we parents that found our own children turn into adults.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have come to believe that so much about life is merely random - events one might have missed, or that happened with no good reason. Relationships particularly - a child that may not have been born - a lover one may never have met. Your poem really speaks to me of this and brings home that every chance should be seized because who knows how long any of it will last. The awful realization of loss at the end of your poem struck a hard blow.

hedgewitch said...

I love how the last stanza is like a rewind to play the theme again, to pull us into a spiral that includes life, death, eternity and whatever freedom or autonomy the spirit holds. So many knockout lines here but I am especially drawn to these: '...stepping off of the unfurled tongue of a devil...,' '...Here, they let you look, their faces a question....'--indeed, that whole stanza, and of course the refrain-like repetition of 'it could easily have been' someone, some place, else, as all sparrows are interchangeable. (As Kerry says, the heartbreaking randomness of it all.) Original and vivid writing, Shay.

Mama Zen said...

The use of the word spinning . . . the way the poem itself spins . . . the feeling of trying to catch life, some bit of clarity, as swirls around you. This is terrifying and powerful writing.

Susie Clevenger said...

We live in the spin and try to grab life, loved ones and hold on. There are times the letting go, the wing flight brings them back home. Other times we stay spinning hoping we will land on love's doorstep. Beautiful writing.

Toni Spencer said...

Oh how sad...starting with that headless sparrow and ending with the dead daughter. A very poignant write.

Gillena Cox said...

The early question posed is so compelling "Why"
so many times we ask and are asked of us, yet the answers continue to evade us, so we couch ourselves in scripture and quotes, hoping one day for the light to shine on our soul's ignorance

Mine is HERE

much love...

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Fly away, grackles, fly away. la la mosk

Lynn said...

So sad.