Warren LeMay CC
In But Not Of
The acrid taste of emotion held in, flattened.
I remember hot afternoons in our house in Pittsburgh,
my mother’s depression, how it walled her off.
It’s like a kind of sea, she told me.
I have felt the sucking.
Some feel depression as an endless falling:
When your life is sliding down a mountain,
you can’t always find a way to stop or climb,
though you yearn to go back to the start.
You close your eyes and try
to accept, to just feel it,
but this motion is not a dance.
Yet I can be in the sea but not pulled under.
I can swim. I was taught.
Listen to the hiss and crashing of the waves,
Can’t Help It
I can’t help it: tonight, random grim
fears flood my head. My son and I have been travelers,
through years of eking out, stacking pennies, movers in
my old heap to cousins’ couches. A streaky dawn,
from a Greyhound chugging down Rt. 96, skies
chopped by smokestacks, dark halls in apartments they
never tend–these things we’ve seen,
but always had clothes, Christmas, PO box for the
checks. Tyler finds clovers, bugs—small beauties.
This year checked all the boxes. August makes
three family dead and one car. We’ll stay in Lansing, forget them
(I almost hope). My fears will dry up, and his nightcries.
I’ll pretend I’m going on a long ride--but in my head. Inside.
Note: This poem is a Golden Shovel, using these lines from the Bruce Cockburn song “Grim Travelers”: Grim travelers in dawn skies. They see the beauty, makes them cry inside.
Naomi Thiers grew up in California and Pittsburgh, but her chosen home is Washington-DC/Northern Virginia. She is author of four poetry collections: Only The Raw Hands Are Heaven (WWPH), In Yolo County, and She Was a Cathedral (Finishing Line Press) and Made of Air (Kelsay Books). Her poems, book reviews, and essays have been published in Virginia Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Colorado Review, Grist, Sojourners, and many other magazines and anthologies. Former editor of Phoebe, she works as an editor and lives on the banks of Four Mile Run in Arlington, Virginia.
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