L’Hiver de la tristesse

perhaps it is the way that life itself seems to disappear

I am a summertime poet;
I cannot wax lyrical about the bare branches
or frosty earth.

Perhaps it is the fact that the blood,
so warm as it rushes through my core
turns oh so frigid by the time it reaches my fingertips.

Or perhaps it is the way that life itself seems to disappear–
to go into a slumber.
How all that is lush and thriving fails to experience the season of brown and white;
it misses the blinding light reflected off the snowy ground–
the only exception being the ever-luscious evergreen shades of pine and fir.

Or perhaps it is the way my hands crack
from the inside dry air
and then my voice cracks
as I try to speak my thoughts
and then my ribs crack
from bearing the pressure of this seasonal sadness
I hold inside me.

My summer self will one day return–
the self that can write about the trees, the dirt,
the self that holds fiery magic in her hands and feet,
the self that exhales vibrant color onto the page,
the self that heals her own limbs, lungs, and bones
through gentle care and patience.

I hope you’ll still be here to see her in all her glory.

Photo by Dimitry Anikin from Pexels

A few months ago, I was having a conversation with the wonderful Alisha J. Steele about this exact poem. This conversation took place during the winter season while I was first beginning to write this piece, and while we were discussing it, I made the prediction that it wouldn’t be finished and ready to post until spring. That prediction turned out to be absolutely accurate, which just further proves the accuracy of the poem itself. I find it so much harder to find beauty in the cold and dark days, but I know it’s there. I just need to keep looking.


Fake Tomorrows

This cycle is too persuasive
and this cycle calls my name.

I long for words I’ve never written
and for songs I’ve never sung.
I long for feelings I’ve never felt
and for bells I’ve never rung.

I’ve imagined these possibilities–
my mind does this when I’m down–
It makes problems out of naught
just like a dust mote on a crown.

Though reminiscing about nothing
and self-berating causes shame,
this cycle is too persuasive
and this cycle calls my name.

Now, my blue skies all have faded
to shades both gray and dark
with no more hope of sunshine
to light the outlines oh, so stark.

I cannot fight or face it–
I’ve already gone too deep
I can’t climb from this chasm
Nor call for help nor leap.

So, please come Serotonin,
please come Dopamine,
please come Vigor for Life,
please come Fresh, and please come Green.

Take me back to my home–
I have somehow lost my way.
I became trapped by fake tomorrows
and by pretend yesterdays.

I’ve tried to end this poem
on a nice, uplifting note,
but today, I just can’t make it happen.

Photo by Aakash Sethi from Pexels

Today’s resource for knowledge and compassion is the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), which lists suicide prevention helplines throughout the world and in various languages. Just use the helpful map on their homepage to select your continent, and you’ll be redirected to a list of hotlines and websites that might be pertinent to you.


That Night

You say that I’m pretty,
But I learned long ago not to accept your drunk compliments.

Photo by Arun Thomas from Pexels

I found a poem that I wrote on a piece of scrap paper several years ago, and I wanted to share it with all of you!

I wrote this poem as a way to process the emotions that I was dealing with when the guy who had broken up with me two months prior called me on video chat in the middle of the night. Dealing with an inability to say “no,” my genuine fear about his safety, and the complicated nature of our exes-but-best-friends relationship, I probably didn’t handle this night as well as I could have. Looking back on this experience, I have several notes for myself. For one, I didn’t owe him my time if he was genuinely making me feel uncomfortable. For two, he probably wasn’t in as much danger as I thought he was.

Since writing these verses, I like to hope that I’ve improved my poetic abilities. If I have, it’s all thanks to time, reading more poetry, and additional experience with writing. If I haven’t then, well, I guess I was just doomed to backslide. Either way, I left the poem mostly unedited because it came from such a raw place, and I didn’t want to lose that by fussing with it. So, without further ado, here’s the poem:

That Night

My heart beats faintly
Threatening to end this life,
To finish the work that you began.
It’s too slow, and I am stuck once again
With all my wordless forevers unable to break free.

You’re drunk, and I’m the person you call.
You list your plans for the next year.
You rip my heart out with that litany
Because I know when you say you want to do these things
You don’t mean that you want to do them with me.

You say that I’m pretty,
But I learned long ago not to accept your drunk compliments.

I mutter out a halfhearted thank you in return.

I keep you with me because you drank way too much,
And I’m afraid that something might happen to you
If I dare to hang up.

It takes hours, but you finally sober up enough
That I am no longer worried about your life.
I finally ask you the question
That has been gnawing at me all night:
“Why am I your go-to drunk conversation person?”

“Because,” you answer,
“you are my person.”