Between Words

Because my wife’s job keeps her surrounded by the dying, she tends to have a unique perspective when it comes to the end of someone’s life and how a family grieves.   The most eye opening thought she has ever shared with me is how unfair it is to have to grieve while the world is still going on around you.  Your whole world stops, but the cars outside your windows keep driving on at the same pace.  I wrote this poem in honor of those people, in honor of this idea.

“Between Words”

The day I woke up to a sodium hypochlorite alarm clock

My mother was cleaning the entire house with bleach

She sank into her over-sized armchair and lit plane crashes with nicotine fingers

Chasing shots of cancer with regret

The polyhedral glow of the morning’s disaster made shadow puppets on the wall

I rubbed dirty vision from my subtle eyes

She told me that the sun is not the east or west, but the all-encompassing leader of dreamers

It made me think of John Lennon and the holes in our chests

Because this is where my heart used to rest

Before the end of innocent smiles

Before the death of good intentions

Before I stopped believing in love

Settling into the day melodies snapped like barely lit firecrackers pushing against my eardrums

Between words I wondered how we reach for the sky with machine guns anchored to our ankles

I wondered if my father could still feel, laying on the floor in our living room

The shattered pieces of his heart still twitching in his chest

I wondered how anyone goes on after death, anyone

Time is a brutal enemy to the broken

The clock still spins in mocking circles even after hurt walks through your front door hands you its luggage, sits in your easy chair, kicks up its feet and asks for a drink

It’s been a long journey and there is a deep shadow in the corners of heaven no one ever talks about

Filled with mother’s wiping away their tears with bleach

I wonder how anyone goes on after death, anyone