The Geography of Loss

Blue hills

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.

-NSA, 2.12.2018

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