To My First Daughter

(This poem is somewhat inspired by Ben Jonson’s “On My First Daughter”.
I lost my own first daughter on April 25, 2012. Rest in peace, Xoe. As Ben says, “Cover lightly gentle earth.”)

Can I touch what isn’t there
feel some alternate dimension?
Can you feel me from your grave
wishing to just hold you?

I have so long hoped to relive
the day you had departed
wanting to say something more
than repeating my apologies.

More than anything I yearned
to know you as a mother would,
see you grow beside your siblings,
run with sunshine in your hair,
and crawling to my side when you
want comfort
like I want comfort, now.

Tell me Jonson did not weep
when making his children immortal.
Capturing pain is only part of the picture, learning how to weave it is the challenge.

Swallowed By the Beguiling Sea

The advice she gave me rattles through,
shaking the dust and cobwebs
from the furthest corners of my brain.
Such a strange thing, it is, to realize
you are dying.
Stranger still to watch it happen.
Pressed up against the glass,
we peer into your life
pouring hopes and anxieties
sobering our emotions.
Death is painful,
agony’s brilliance, sparking into
all of the scattered memories
felt but not seen.
Removing all but fear,
we grasp each other,
trying to come to terms with your
newfound truths,
whispering and hiding tears,
falling without our consent.
How odd it must be to be grieved
still living, watching as your family
and friends say goodbye.

Waiting for death to finally take you,
and he sits in a corner,
politely waiting for your sister to get here.
He tries to be unseen,
holding still as a statue
cutting the fabrics of time and space,
to collect the ones he needs.

Why do we pretend that life is full of meaning
when none of us really understand ourselves?
Each dogmatic, spiritualistic, and philosphical response
falls short, and few of us are ever
truly awakened.

I feel as if I have been cast
deep into the depths
of a monstrous sea.
Fortune guides me into the eye
and I watch the zypher and the storm
swirling around me, whipping my hair into my face.
I clutch to my small bouy,
upset by the tempest waves,
thrown toward the blackening depths, crushing weight of water, overhead,
and I struggle.
I fight for my life, my will to live, clawing at the water in attempt to surface, kicking furiously.
Lungs are burning, breath is lost,
and finally fatigue sets in.
Gravity pulls me down, further than
I would have ever imagined going
and I am helpless, sightless, and defeated.
I sit at the bottom and wait
and hope I am forgotten.
Nothing is more painful
than watching people you love
mourn.