Let’s start with how it is.
The canal’s too still. You can’t describe the sky
because your eyes won’t lift.
By the air’s bitterness you guess
it’s clear with a sharpened moon.
Your eyes ache. You have no gentleness towards yourself.
You wander the cottage of ghosts and shadows
with a posthumous numbness.
The windchimes, hollow and restless,
catch the breeze and are shrill.
Neither whole nor young, this sickness
has broken your will.
This pain will be marked in the tissues:
a notch, a scar, a twist in the grain
the body remembers. Now rain’s fierce.
The cat’s howling: wet and pitiful.
You promise if you shift
your aching limbs to let him in – feed him, dry him –
you will put pen to page.
So here’s a note to be found in a box in years:
If only to do, to see, to say –
whatever joy I gathered from today
I weathered this night in November
and if you’re reading this, I found the courage.
I caught myself.
(Kitty Donnelly is a nurse and a poet. Her poems have been published in Acumen, The American Journal of Poetry, The Fenland Reed, The Dawntreader, Mslexia and has work due out in Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Granta amonst other publications. kittydonnellypoet.com )
The Thought not taken
Two thoughts emerged on a darkened place,
And sorry I could not think both,
For one was hidden by indecision,
The other, by lack of faith.
And as I stood stalled a while,
Wondering which best to please,
Forebode to bare, to choose I dare,
For this, I’m not at ease,
Then rapt the thought of less despair,
While staring up at vacant air,
Seeking out Divine direction,
Still silence protrudes without deflection.
The thought slipped and slid around my floor,
Teasing me to chase it more,
Laying low, like a prowling cat,
Shadowed, where he often sat.
But even thoughts on a darkened day,
Can glimpse the trodden light,
Brightened with a trim of hope,
A choice we can incite.
There are always two thoughts and often more-
Resting by a darkened door,
Some thumping in the dead of night,
Or early morning sunrise bright,
Offering you some seeds to sow,
Planting thoughts for you to grow,
For the thoughts you see or wish to keep,
Are the ones you grow for you to reap.
I met Despair on a darkened day
I met Despair; again, on a darkened day,
as I stood, irritating my curious thoughts,
alone, turning feelings, contemplating.
Deep thinking in the shallows,
digging up memories, suffocating.
I watched Despair, slinking into my sliding thoughts,
with practised ease,
half invited by circumstance half by opportunity,
and seeing me juggling my thoughts of anguish,
he carefully slinked some more, with ease,
cold, yet ever so welcoming, placing his shadow next to mine,
merging, sub-merging, with cautious courtesy, he waited,
as he waited before.
I felt Despair, calmly settling, comfortably resting,
and not wishing to provoke his calmness,
though disconcerted, I asked if I could perhaps,
pose a curious question for his contemplation?
Despair, giving a curious glance, though hesitant,
whispered to me an invitation to draw his views,
“Share with me your curious thoughts,
for I am curious of your question,
and will answer if I may, with inquisitive resolve.”
With rhetorical resignation, I asked;
“I am seeking release from pain and sorrow,
is death the escape from my tomorrow”?
I have answered that question, many times, before,
though never been asked, least, in an inquisitive way,
but I shall answer your question as you asked,
Death has many avenues, lined with pain filled sorrows,
it is not an escape, though, it will take away your tomorrow,
and all your tomorrows thereafter, it will not take you, just your breath,
For you will walk and laugh in harboured thoughts,
memories, carried heavy by those you loved,
and those who love you still,
you will breathe in the winters wind,
or gentle summers breeze,
you will be seen in the walk of others, like ghostly glimpses,
your last moments will forever haunt,
always carried, lived and relived,
and questions will keep dissolving into numbness,
disintegrating, echoing unanswered,
you will live in the tears of those carrying your pain,
and some may even contemplate their own curious thoughts.
Alas, death is a curious escape,
though not to freedom,
to be paid by many.
(Joe Lynch is poet hindered and enhanced by being Dyslexic. Joe lives and works in Belfast, N Ireland and started submitting his work summer 2018.)
There's No Place Like Home
Words buried in earth
as footings to support
those lost to the past.
I wince at the flat sound and
almost feel his slap myself.
Abandoning is what I do
feel, huddled alone. After.
The others involved refuse
to remember, so the incident
escapes a little more
with every turn around
the sun and if its reality fades
away then what can be
made of the pain
jagged edge a
in the abscence
(Mike L. Nichols is a graduate of Idaho State University and a recipient of the Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize. He lives and writes in Eastern Idaho. Look for his poetry in Scryptic Magazine, Ink&Nebula, Rat’s Ass Review, Plainsongs Magazine, and elsewhere. Find more at mikenicholsauthor.com)
The Beautiful Space-