The Poem About A Poem

Mon, 07/15/2013 - 17:33 -- lanceg

When I was twelve years old my two year old niece took her last breath in my older sister's arms-

Heart failure they called it.

Her heart's inability to function- work properly,

But those words didn't comfort me.

Her heart stopped and I had mine ripped from my chest still beating and pumping blood laced with anguish and memory and suffering and longing.



So at twelve years young I engraved on a tombstone notebook my final goodbyes-

Lead teartrops from a number 2 pencil streaking across paper-





At twelve I found myself digging a pencil into paper in order to prevent myself from digging into my own wrists,

Standing on a bridge, falling and having them think I just slipped,

Hanging up certificates and pictures instead of nooses.


So I sat, carving out a poem from the dead bodies of trees like my life depended on it,

Like some life support system attached to faulty wiring,

A faultless death-

No one to blame but a broken heart, right?

Not mine, but hers,

And then, not even the fault was hers because after all, her heart was given to her at birth, 

A loan with too high of interest,

And when she couldn't pay, her heart was repossesed.


So I wrote a poem,

A poem capable of containing my volatile thoughts,

A poem that I could hold on to like a life jacket,

A poem where I could speak of her death without that feeling of emotional seasickness-

And I wrote that poem- not for an audience, not for applause, but for myself and for my own salvation,

That poem saved me.


That poem substituted for the suicide note I had forming in my head,

And I turn to my poetry when I get that churning in my stomach,

Or that itching on my wrist.


Poetry is my salvation. 




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