Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Drowning

You ginger step
like an old woman.
Every movement
begs for stillness.
Every inhalation
drags and scrapes
like a gravedigger's shovel.

The acorn long buried in the bronchi
is blooming its breathless death,
and every cough and wheeze brings the crops closer to harvest.

I've watched you string along your mortality
like a child's pull-toy since I was a girl of eight.
I've greeted the hooded stranger at the door and
felt the tingle of his till-we-meet-again kiss on my cheek.
I've felt his dry touch against my pig-tailed hair.

After so many floods of grief and terror,
I've gotten pretty good at treading water.

So good,
that I almost forget
I'm still drowning.

Shawna's Monday Melting Pot words
for Open Link Night at dVerse

37 comments:

jen revved said...

What a fabulous poem. You've articulated for me something I've never been able to confront in my work. I watched my father run out of air from emphysema. I know that indelible pain of bearing witness to this. The poem itself is so very strong, your touch sure, each image fits and is compelling. xxxj

Brian Miller said...

dang...the acorn in the bronchi stanza is hard mz...and then the end is another squeeze...evocative write

Brendan said...

This struck home. My dad has been saying bye bye for more than 20 years. How many farewells? Now he just grumbles, "Shit, I'm still here." Same difference, don't you think? Fine work - Brendan

ayala said...

Evocative...excellent write!

hedgewitch said...

Just amazing what you did with the words, MZ. Such insight, so much drowning we all have to do in this life. Third stanza makes the whole poem revolve around the narrator and her intimacy with things a child shouldn't have to know.

Sylvia K said...

No one ever says it better and I guess there are lots of us that have/are dealing with this somewhere along the road.

Fireblossom said...

Can a thing be matter-of-fact and chilling and true all at the same time? Seems so, because you've done that here.

But...no haiku??? :-P

chromapoesy.com said...

Fine, fine work! The poem is like an azibiki saw, it has teeth on both sides cutting precision pieces out of my heart.

Steve King said...

Powerful, moving, and energetic--and I could pile on a few more positive adjectives. Those last five lines are outstanding figures. Very nice job.

pandamoniumcat said...

Wow...this is so good! It's not often a poem like this comes along that just has it... Wow!

poemblaze said...

This is excellent writing. I know any kind of critique is bad form for dVerse, but. I would only suggest tweaks to two words: Make crops singular: crop and delete the "that" in the second to last line. Very vivid, powerful, wonderful poem. All the metaphors are right on.

Shawna said...

I've read this several times now and am captivated by your story. These lines are clever delights:

"You ginger step
like an old woman"

"drags and scrapes
like a gravedigger's shovel"

"The acorn long buried in the bronchi is blooming its breathless death"

"string along your mortality
like a child's pull-toy"

"treading water" / "still drowning"

Sharp ending, in the neverending realm of pre-death.

I'm thrilled that you took up the prompt this week.

~Shawna
rosemarymint.wordpress.com

marousia said...

Powerful words - the metaphors are so vivid

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Great write and about a difficult subject--very evocative!

Daydreamertoo said...

Really gets to the point and hammers it home. Very vivid imagery.
Wonderful piece on a very hard subject.

Heaven said...

Compelling write...very good weaving of the words...and that last verse nails it ~

Charles Miller said...

Wonderful it is to read such suggestive words that hint at hidden realities, calling up shapes and meanings that hint at meanings that words might no be able to say. Great poem.

Pat Hatt said...

Kind of a fake it to make it, yet still stuck there when one opens their eyes from the disguise, nicely written.

phoenixofthelinnet said...

Wow, this one really grabs you then sucks you down under.

Great writing :-)

darkangelwrites said...

This is my ex-father-in-law. Dying since the day I met him. Then there is my never sick, healthy and robust Dad who got hit upside the pancreas with a tidal wave. Gone in a year.

Arron Shilling said...

dense and heavy
mass effect ;)

Wolfsrosebud said...

great description... though sad

Gail said...

Chills!!!

Natasha Head said...

If only the memories could have left too...wipe the slate clean. My troubled and feeble mind found great nuances with this write. Forced to envision the old dude from Poltergeist though...he scares the crap out of me no matter how old I get!

Mary Mansfield said...

sad but powerful!

Fred Rutherford said...

Heavier piece but fantastically done. Love the images conveyed, so, so powerfully written and described. Great job MZ. Thanks

Mark Windham said...

Fantastic! ' till we meet again kiss'. Reaaly enjoyed the whole thing, that just stood out.

Mystic_Mom said...

Start to finish a great read, I truly enjoyed the ending. Getting so good at treading water that you forget you are drowning. Great write.

signed...bkm said...

You pulled the emotion right out of watching aging and slow grieving of watching someone by living die before our eyes....bkm

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Evocative, compelling, the whole piece works well. You've captured and shared something hard and real and made it beautiful.

kaykuala said...

"Every movement
begs for stillness.
Every inhalation
drags and scrapes"

I could almost see and feel the breathlessness. It is so realistically described. Beautiful poem, MZ!

Hank

Eric 'Bubba' Alder said...

The forgetting is the thing... that's where hope still lives.

Mark Kerstetter said...

Great poem - powerful. Love the language, and the last stanza takes my breath away.

happygirl said...

Wow, this one hit quite close to me. I could feel the difficulty in the catching of breath. It made me gasp, a little.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I enjoyed getting to grips with this longer piece from you. You know where to find the pulse of human suffering, and a bystander's terrified recognition of her own mortality.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is absolutely fantastic. All of it, culminating in the most powerful ending........just loved this. Related to the treading water and forgetting one is still drowning. Done that too.

Anonymous said...

Here are this week's words; hope you'll join in again:

http://rosemarymint.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/monday-melting-week-9/