Free Fall Separation
Find your voice.
Remember your path.
Examine your choices.
Falling out of love with yourself happened
all at once when he took another lover.
You thought you had to accept that
because you had left him.
Silently, you shrank in horror from everyone,
you lost your purpose.
All at once you were alone-
repulsive and repulsed
at the same time.
Come spring lady slippers
will show pink and purple-
bright against green and brown.
The First Weekend After We Talked Again
The smell of the sangria-colored rose
that I pick next to the mailbox,
that I put in the deep blue
blown-glass stem vase,
the vase that I tuck into the dirt
in the pot with the rubber plant
which has clusters of red berries.
I move the pot from the windowsill
to the top of the wooden library steps,
the steps in the corner
behind the navy leather loveseat.
The show that I binge-watch in Spanish
about young women in Madrid
struggling for their rights in 1929,
manipulating for their lives,
finding love and deceipt,
having and losing pregnancies
I don’t need you to know.
Is it because my daughter came back
just when you left?
She tells me about the Spanish series,
we laugh and eat tomatoes from the garden.
Even my mother is behaving
I can go on like this for a long time.
As I finish these thoughts,
a fleeting impulse to call
I wave it away,
to myself, instead.
Missing you but loving the space
I never asked for,
the unexpected blossom.
This time I see Hermes:
he shows me two cliffs
and the rift between.
He has the only wings.
black trees, scorched by fire
still visible on the red rocks (that rise)
behind the retreat center.
Swallows dart –
I remember I saw a hummingbird
and a large yellow and black butterfly
as I walked in silent meditation.
What will happen to this cliffdwelling?
Will flashfloods take it all down?
Can the remaining trees hold it?
A black bear rummages in the trash.
We are told not to walk alone today.
Poems come to me in odd and various ways: as I see the light reflecting on the trees, from an image or a strange sentence that comes to me as I wake from a dream, or even in a song fragment that just won’t quit until I sing it. Sometimes I journal or complete a writing prompt, allowing my fingers on the keyboard to wander where they will, like I’m on a Ouija Board discovering what’s coming up next. In the three poems featured in this issue, as in many of my poems, there is a turning point where my focus shifts or the mood changes. Sometimes there is a release of what was tightly held.
My favorite writing prompt is the Daily Detail, in which I start with an awareness or observation in the room or outside to get me grounded in the sensory world. This leads to a writer’s record of a mindfulness moment which can then take off and fly.
“The First Weekend After We Talked Again,” “Complaint Poem,” and “Free Fall Separation” are to be included in my forthcoming book October Light.
In addition to writing poetry and songs, Sara Epstein is a clinical psychologist who integrates mindfulness practices including writing in her psychotherapy work with children and adults. She is currently working on a book of short poems for children learning to read and speak all the different sounds in American English, Sounds of My Life. She reads some of these short poems on the Junaaccentcoach app, designed by her friend Ann Bartholomew to help people who want to improve their American accent.
Sara’s poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Amethyst Review, Pink Panther Review, Silkworm, Mom Egg Review, Chest Journal, and Literary Mama, and in the anthology Coming of Age, among others. A short story was included in the anthology Sacred Waters. She has raised three children, one dog, and has written from the perspective of a daughter, a mother, sister, wife, friend, patient, and therapist. She has not yet written from the perspective of a dog.