ricky shore CC
Losing My Lost Sister, Again
—after Anne Riesenberg
This is what families do young
I ran away from mother Father
brought me home tears to return
to her lair at his funeral,
forever alone thereafter.
Mother moved us to the city a cavern,
her brother surrogate replacement, bad
daughter, I ran. Little sister watched
through their eyes dating Black,
a disrupter, trouble-maker.
This is what families do threaten
to send little sister away I would
ruin her tainted split I let her
down disdain a piece of kohl
she did her eyes with. A lifetime
removed I could not return
for uncle’s funeral, or for mother’s.
Far away those final days
she held vigil an angel at their death beds,
our disintegration, her obligation
drained. Her anger
fits our pattern, always when I left
the phone rang and rang off the hook,
empty hollow of family I cry into,
my voice an echo in the void
no one’s fault. This is what families do
run from each other I did only
what I could, circumstance makes cuts
cumulative miles between us
never recede. This is what families do
separate miss what is important,
grow further apart, mood
like a piece of kohl smudged
but on the other side a glimmer,
a bushwhacked trail one’s own life.
Safe Space in Tactile Presence
There are moments settled
when worry dissipates: in synch,
set, grounded solid on earth, a
sturdy elongated spine rooted
up though my lower back.
Then a shock swings in like
Tarzan on a long tendril, but not
to the rescue, a disrupter—with
bad news—I flinch, cringe,
fold inward, the world tilts.
Then the fall—a deep well
cold, damp, clammy skin-crawl,
a wire tightens in my throat,
stability a shadow—I must
slow down, take a deep
breath, touch earth, find the
smooth stone in my pocket
rub it with my thumb, ask for
what I need—something small.
Today when I spilled into despair,
lost my center, uncertainty-flooded,
a small part of me knew my cerebral
cortex would come back—my
my toes, fingers, heart and gut
would return to calm.
Brain fogged, I start with each
finger—feel the pen, the fabric
against my thigh, my cool cheeks,
a hand to hold my heart—back doors
into this body, to the safe space
that begins with tactile presence.
Julene Tripp Weaver is a writer and psychotherapist in Seattle, Washington. She has been sheltering in place since March 2020 when the states started restrictions, and writing about the pandemic weekly. Author of a chapbook and two full size poetry books, she worked in AIDS services for twenty-one years. Her third collection, truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and won the Bisexual Poetry Award. Her book, No Father Can Save Her, is also an eBook. Find more of her writing at www.julenetrippweaver.com.
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