Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lost With You in a Poem I'm Writing

A few key moments
Reside in my memory
Differently from the others.
Strong.
Stubborn.
Tenacious.
Relentless.

Permanently preserved—
Perfectly preserved—
By the intensity of emotion
Of a single, tragic moment.
Chemicals, I suppose.
The same stuff that makes you fall down
And faint
When they knock on your door
At 2 a.m.
And a uniformed voice asks you if you're you.

Others reside deeply,
Intensely,
But vaguely...a hazy blur of emotional swirl
Of memory
And feeling.

I feel them in my gut, yes, but softly.
Tenderly.
A strange blend of nausea and euphoria
That eats at me in a delicious way.

I savor these moments,
The beautiful ones.
I call them up into my mind
and feast on them sometimes.
Just "hang out" there,
Remembering.
Reliving.
Reveling.

Like the first time your hands cupped my face
And your lips touched mine.
Urgent and tender.
Long-awaited connection.
Like the look on your face
when you saw me hiding on that bunk bed.
Like the night after you said, "I will" and "I do."
I still feel the golden rope being carefully fastened
by trembling hands,
The hair swept aside from my longing neck.
Your lips finding me from behind
As I gulped and sighed and burned with longing.

A little hand reached up to that same face
(Only older. Always getting older.)
And touched me.
And he whispered,
In the bedtime darkness of
once upon a time,
"Mama, you're my best lady."
I could live in that moment
Like the bass line of that one William Ackerman song.
Breathing, touching, living—
just barely—
thanksgiving.
And praise.
And worship.

But life isn't all good moments
And they're not all clothed in hazy mist
and smiles.
Some haunt me by stubbornly refusing to be hazy.
By being sharp and clear and focused and terrible.
Relentless.
That pink beach ball of a baby
Floating face down in sparkling blue.
The cry of our sweet Dog Mom,
Bursting through the door,
Screaming that Little had been struck by a car.

And now, your face.
That look on your face.
Disbelief and grief.
("Oh God, what's wrong?")
First-morning news that there was a message
(Has any middle-of-the-night message
Ever been good
In the history of the world?)

Grief and disbelief.
Your eyes meet mine.
Your face is scaring me.
(And those damned chemicals have
Burned it into my brain
Forever.)

"There's a message from Rico
(You are shaking and visibly shaken.)
That there's been an accident
(Your voice is strange. Weak. Halting.)
And apparently Mark Rodriguez has been killed."

Hands on my face again,
This time my own.

I place my trembling hands over my mouth
As the guttural cries of "What?" and "No!"
Burst out anyway.
I've lost control of my body.
If I weren't on my bed I know I'd be falling.
The pain in my chest has climbed to my throat
And I think I may throw up.
The pit in my stomach grows
And I try to make sense of the words
But I can't hear you
And I can't breathe
And these damned tears blur the texts
That were sent my way as I slumbered.

Yes, some moments are burned into my memory
Like scars on nail-pierced hands.
How do we do this, Lord?
You, who lost a son,
Who gave a Son,
How do we unclench the fist
And let him go?
How?