The Shadow of the Lost Object Falls Across the Ego

My poem appears in the new issue of In-Flight Literary Magazine.

 

A faint image, so vague you hardly know
if what you miss so much was there to begin with.
Other times, what once seemed so present
sucks the breath away, you gasp for air—
but only for a second.  You don’t die, not yet, anyway—
that’s a long way off, though at this moment there’s
darkness, the tight grip on the belly, the dank sheets,
the narrow bed traded for the old, accommodating one.
This wave of absence edges out hunger, and the need
to stand under the pelting water
of the morning shower. Nothing is as it should be, or
as it was. Freud, who got almost nothing right,
explained it: The ego bends under the weight of loss,
flattened, wanting to sink into stink and hunger.
This is all insupportable. You take a decision,
climb out of your sweat-soaked bed,
plod down wooden stairs in slippers,
pretend there’s something to get up for,
if only a nod from the man who every trash day
combs the overflowing barrels.

“November Sunset: 4:14 PM,” in Bear Review

I wrote this poem, a broken sonnet,  as part of a poem-a-day series I did last fall,  on the approach of the winter solstice. It appears online (and in print)  in Bear Review, out of St. Louis, Issue 3, Spring 2017.

November Sunset: 4:14 PM

As I cut the skinny branches of the smokebush
I hear a loud rattle in the sky. A black helicopter
descends, disappears. The noise of the chopper
carries from the playground at the end of the block.
I snip branches into small pieces, toss them
into the leaf bag with the rosebush clippings.
A woman walking by with her young daughters
tells me the helicopter med-vac’d someone,
deposited the accident victim with the EMTS.
The afterschool director ran out to investigate.
I drag the last leaf bag to lean against the retaining wall.
All that’s left alive: the rosemary, hellebore, a lone red cabbage.
The solstice approaches, a fixed point in the middle distance.
Inside, the black night shows itself in tall kitchen windows.