The Geography of Loss
I want to hear every poet read their poems underneath glass sculptures
& I want to stay home while the children are young enough
to not have left home for the waiting world.
The world waits for me to live without contradictions
to not see Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s picture and yearn to see her in-person
while still not missing one minute more of my daughters’ lives with me.
I used to love the word dichotomy, thinking it was brave
to live with a border inside that you couldn’t transcend
to think of my mother yearning to have me live nearby
while I made my home here, in this place with mountains,
no horizon line in sight, no snow to slog through,
no Grandma Schatz love to pour all over my babies.
But now I place dichotomy next to contradiction next to
Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s profile and I know there is winning in choosing
that’s only slightly stronger than the losing
because I still love sitting on the couch next to my mother
the way I love the trees in my new state
the way I love hearing a poet speak her poems out loud
to me while I sit within her audience; the way I love sitting
next to one teen while the other teen sits in her bedroom
close enough for me to hear her laugh.
I have a rift in my heart and it’s no use knowing others
have it worse, to imagine the countries they can no longer
live within doesn’t make my loss less palpable.
But still I swear that breathing big words onto paper helps:
dichotomy—contradiction—Aimee Nezhukumatathil— palpable
like names for landmarks just out of reach:
I place them on my map and sigh.