Tag Archives: loss

Absence

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Even treasured earrings
that have fallen behind a dresser
and become thickly coated with dust
eventually rest unseen and forgotten

Just the same
when the loss was first noted
there was acute distress
and frantic action
significant effort was expended
to recover what was missing

The earrings felt irreplaceable
precious
as much for the sentimental association
as actual value

But, eventually
after failing to locate
what was gone
you had to move on
adjust
adapt
figure out alternative adornments

On those days
when you slip into the lilac-colored dress
and instinctively reach for the box
that always held those familiar earrings
which had once paired so perfectly
the absence inflicts fresh pain

Day 25

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Fated

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The doves woke me
cooing outside my window and calling me out
they weren’t crying but singing in celebration
another morning
of a day that could bring both rain and rainbows
one dependent on the existence of the other

We stand so small on this spinning sphere
generating a light that can be seen from space
feeling like captains when we are only passengers
mourning each loss of luminance
as if it might plunge us into pitch
too close to one another to see we remain ablaze
even though our course is inevitable

 

Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 22

Softly, Bloom

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Once, I had my mouth wired shut for six weeks post surgery on my jaw.
That same week, my dad, David, died.
While I grieved for my father, I struggled with exhaustion,
bone-deep pain, and crippling headaches – byproducts of loss
of parent and solid nutrition.

My brother-in-law, David, came to visit near the end
of my oral-binding phase.
Seeing me gaunt and pale, he asked
what taste I most missed.
I said cookies. Chocolate chip. My dad’s favorite.

David, ever the hospitable, who delighted in discovering
a person’s favorite foods, searching out the best
recipe, practicing a perfect version, and serving
this culinary gift when he next saw you,
was a great amateur chef, but not much of a baker.

Undaunted, he went to the grocery store and purchased
tubes of raw cookie dough, baked up a batch of gooey, undercooked,
heartbreakingly delicious chocolate chip dotted gobs of love
and told me to break off tiny pieces, slip them between my banded
teeth and let them rest on my tongue. Dissolve.

The only thing that possibly could have surpassed the delightfulness
of the taste of my father’s favorite treat at that moment was the sweetness
of my brother-in-law’s thoughtful creativity.

When this kind David, at age 47, suddenly died of a brain aneurysm several years later,
I tattooed a lotus on my wrist. Now each time I extend my right hand and reach out,
I see embedded in the flower’s shape, its flat bottom then arch of petals,
a D, and am reminded of my Davids, and the rare beauty and sweetness
that can grow from the murkiest and darkest of sources.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 21

 

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Boreal Moon

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Last night, 

when the moon 

was yellow 

and low,

I remembered you,

the way you looked

the day before you left

This morning,

when the bathwater

drained opaque

and boreal,

I heard you,

the way you murmured

“I’m sorry” in my ear

Right now,

as the skies

drizzle gray

and cold,

I feel your palm,

a ghost of steady pressure

resting low on my back

Tomorrow, next week,

in a month or year,

the touch of you,

smell of you, look

in your eye, 

I know not what of you

time will allow me 

to keep

March 2015

Exquiste Corpse Poem by Zombie Salon subset: Andrew, Julie, Tricia

Koi

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Behind the cash register at the Royal Farm,
the blond boy with the big smile
and the baggie of pills in his pocket
who will be dead by 2:27 am,
his friends stopping the car
in front of his parents’ house
just long enough to leave his cooling body
next to the masonry pillar mailbox
where his mother will discover it
when she backs out of the driveway
early Saturday morning on her way to
the boot camp she joined
because she’s about to turn 50
and wants to enter
the next half of her life
with the same series of numbers
on the bathroom scale
that showed the day she graduated
from high school.

He took the job at Royal Farm
to show his dad
he wasn’t lazy,
saving up to pay his own way
to Cancun for spring break
since he hadn’t maintained the 3.5 GPA
his parents had insisted as condition
for their footing the bill.

The news of his potential existence
had caused his mother to sink
to the floor seventeen years prior,
sob with relief and a joy too big to hold
quietly,
his father kneeling next to her on the tile,
resting his hands gently on her quaking back.
She’d been trying to conceive for six years,
consulted a fertility expert
to identify any issues,
explore options.

She never ceased to love him
with that very same intensity,
even when he totaled the car,
twice,
forgot her 47th birthday and didn’t get a card
or gift so weeded the flower bed by the pond
instead,
or when he told her he hated her
when she grounded him for a full month
from electronics for buying online games
with her credit card without permission.
$682 worth of League of Legends and in-game purchases.

After his funeral,
she cuts her hair short
and rarely smiles,
drops out of boot camp
and spends most days standing
by the dining room window
holding an empty coffee mug
and staring out towards the pond,
the view of water
now almost entirely obstructed by thistle,
beds full of suffocating thorns,
choking out even the smallest bloom.

 

Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 28

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Shades Of

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pearls

 

To be with you again
on the dark gray spread bed
in your room
with the perfect shade
of gray walls,
silver smoke,
our hands clasped.

Your skin
was like pearls,
light and luminous,
that milky shade,
your undoing.

If only
you could have been
indissoluble
like pearl,
a shell,
bright but durable,
reflecting light
instead of absorbing it.

Sunny alterations
to cells
have led to life
made a drearier shade
as you moved from
ashes to ashes,
haunting gray,
my hand
unclasped.

 

April 2, 2014
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 2

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Baptisms

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natebaptismYou took me by surprise
appearing in this photo beside me
our heads so close together I could whisper something to you
and no one else would have heard
standing on the church altar
more than three decades ago

We pledged to be good spiritual guardians
to our newborn twin nephews
who’d been made fatherless the very night they were born
a drunk driver stealing their more traditional life
with your brother’s blood
my sister the grieving widow
single mother

You were good with the babies
patient when they cried
playing with them on gingham blankets
cooing in their ears
and pushing burps from their preemie stomachs
as you draped them across your knees

My date for the Sade Hawkins dance
as a couple we were uneasy
it felt unnatural
since we’d already spent countless hours raising children together
peeling dried Cheerios off the linoleum
coating diaper rashed rumps with Desitin

And then you died too
in a car
on your way to school
black ice at a stop sign

You took me by surprise
appearing in this photo beside me
our heads so close together I could whisper something to you:
You were loved.
I miss you.

 

December 2012
Julie Ayers