I could not name it, a feeling
like a sloshed mother, a spoiled
birthday party in a bowl, the batter
mixed with gravel & dust. I tried
to find it. It hurt like
a woodpecker beak splintered
behind my ribs. No words
for it when I found out Zoey
died. It’s not because I’m
not used to it; I collect losses
like pennies in a cigar
box but the news
hit me hard. Not sweet
Zoey, barely 30, the last
person you’d expect
to decamp. I couldn’t find
the words for such abrupt
devastation & I was left
with brief gusts of her — long
hippie hair, light blonde & down
to her waist, the way her mom,
when she was a baby, tucked her
inside a rolling tentlike contraption
that hooked up to her Schwinn & she
pedaled them together, chains singing,
to the only laundromat in town.
Love this in part because it’s so visual. You take us through these memories of Zoey the way memory works, fragmented and highly selective. The phrase “chains singing” leaps out at me, as does that last surprising, strangely devastating line.
Your description of your grief really hit home. So sorry for this devastating loss.
only so long
This is so full of strong, building, and heart-rending detail
All sooo good, Sylvia.
And heart-wrenching, obviously.
Deeply felt, all the more so due to those line breaks and enjambments 💔
Not a clue why I typed Sylvia 🤦🏼♂️
I blame multitasking (working the Julietta Market currently and sneaking in readings).
No problem. I make that kind of typo all the time.
Loved this poignant picture of Zoey and grief. Great word choice.
agree with Kevin – the visuals are lush…. they feel to me as well, as the woodpecker beak in the ribs, the gravel and dust batter in a bowl. so grainy and painful. this is beautiful in its agony.
wonderful writing here!
a grief that goes back generations
Love how the memory that comes to mind is Zoey as a baby – a life so full of promise. A happy memory that somehow is also a punch in the gut. You really captured that intolerable feeling of loss.
Last lines sing. Also like the metaphors for loss/grief. One small suggestion: make clear early in the poem that Zoey is female? I imagined male, probably from Zooey in Salinger’s Franny & Zooey.