dark side table with tea cup

Listen to me read this poem here:


For Those in Crisis over the Holidays
a poem

All the twinkling lights seem sad,
seem mocking. Like the time
you said, “Good morning,” to your co-worker,
and he said back, “What’s so good about it.”
There was nothing to say after that.

Given a designated time to be grateful,
to give thanks, to be joyous,
the cruelty of circumstance is unflappable.
Faced with windows full
of presents topped with glittering bows
and in the presence of phrases like “holiday cheer,”
the wall seems impenetrable. By which
I mean the wall that,

once bumped up against,
causes bouts of weeping. The wall is a virus.
The one that makes you bolt upright in bed,
breathing too fast.
Where am I? Where are you?
You only know the fragments of things now:
the feel of an elbow, the rain, the silence
of snow, your own wet face.
The beat of your heart,
its duty, its steadfastness, rabbiting
beneath your palm too fast with hand to chest,

a well-known pose,
occurring when the hero/ine’s world shatters.
But what wonder, such commitment:

the thrum under the palm,
the endless drum of it,
murmuring: Here. Here, like a compass,

a blip of sonar, marking your place
as you tread water, for now —
an anchor, a touchstone,
a talisman.