YOU DON’T GET OVER ANYTHING
It hits you
when he comes for a visit
and you want to put
your lips on his smile,
loosen it a little.
The way he holds his elbows
tucked in at his side
it takes all your fears
to keep from reaching
for his right hand, the one
he used to put in yours.
As it is
he puts his arm around your shoulders
and you let yourself answer,
your arm along the small of his back.
It’s a walk in the park—but windy
no one else around—and bitter cold.
You are out of place here
and nearly out of time.
Two ducks trace pond’s edge
under a willow. The same sun shines,
but sharp through bare branches.
I lost my wife four years ago,
And I was charmed.
When he put it that way,
it was like he just can’t see her.
It’s not as if she’s GONE.
I lost my keys once in the rain.
Traced my steps on strange sidewalks.
Examined gutters until my shoes were soaked.
Last year I couldn’t find my new set,
but they appeared four days later
under the cushion of my favorite chair.
I lost my mom and dad years ago.
I expect one day I’ll find them,
maybe somewhere in a kitchen.
I’m sure my rainy-day keys
are out there somewhere, too,
maybe dangling from a curb.
It was just too hard to find them
in the middle of the storm.
HOW TO FALL ASLEEP
is stuffed with rocks.
Thoughts too literal
bump behind your eyes.
The sheet is a net
tangling legs that long to wander.
Plots in stories read propped up
put you on alert. No nodding.
Peek at the alarm;
another hour’s gone by.
Only two things left to do
inside the fading dark.
Think about what you’re missing,
so you can cry.
Or just cry. Why
will come to you.
TEN YEARS TO THE DAY
What else can the heavens do
to get your attention,
to drag you to this anniversary
from your ruminations?
Tonight’s eclipse complete,
supermoon in perigee
turns red as a heart, your heart.
Still you do not act, just stare
transfixed. You forget earth’s part,
and credit only sun and moon for awe.
There’s no recovery from inertia here,
no promise kept, except in the sky.
Loss, failure, regret, even simple change, can be heartbreaking. Love itself may never end, but all loved ones die one day.
For me as a poet, tragedies are natural tributaries of love. Exploring them reveals gems of memories and nuggets in the present. Turned over in the hands, they evoke feelings that ask for the words to recreate them. Forming words into poems can make the heartbreak worth the pain.
Love is as intimate as a secret. So is heartbreak. Details are important in a poem, but not all the specifics. Poetry expresses heartbreak without burdening others with the poet’s whole story of a particular pain. Readers and listeners are freed through the poems to feel and explore their own.
Sandra Storey is the author of the poetry collection Every State Has Its Own Light (Word Poetry, 2014), a finalist for the May Swenson Award. Her poetry has appeared in Windfall, THEMA, and the New York Quarterly, among other journals. Sandee was founder, editor and publisher of two Boston neighborhood newspapers for 20 years. She is a monthly columnist for the Jamaica Plain Gazette and is a member of Jamaica Pond Poets and co-director of Chapter and Verse Literary Reading Series. She has given many featured readings of her work and enjoys teaching poetry workshops for adults.