Wish you were here.

February 12, 2007

They wouldn’t tell us how
though we asked,
and asked, and asked.

They kept the knowledge in them
and words too barbed to breathe,
could only settle into silence-

nearly glimpsed beneath an eyelash
a look away, but only then a guess
at how a set of waves could stop.

In the end,
that you were dead,
was all we had to know. A train,

a knife, those pills. Just hollow wraiths
inside the hole
you perforated in your landscape.

The landscape we were part of.
The hole
we’d always have to walk around.

2 Responses to “Wish you were here.”

  1. This is stunning.

    ‘nearly glimpsed beneath an eyelash
    a look away, but only then a guess
    at how a set of waves could stop.’

    I think this strophe is the poem’s heart. Waves lash too, and along with ‘barbed’ we get the shadow sense of the whip and the unmentioned insult in suicide: why? what was wrong with us? Why did you leave all of us, everything we knew and were and loved? It’s the ultimate rejection and one to which there are generally two responses – the religious condemnation, seeing it as an insult to God’s gifts, and the other response begins with shock and becomes indifference, or rather incomprehension: there is nothing to say or see here. As you say, the words settle into silence.

    And then the almost detached curiosity about death – ‘where does the wave go when it sinks?’, as a child might wonder of the sea.

    endlessly

  2. Naughty Heather said

    Well done.

    “The hole
    we’d always have to walk around.”

    Very apt description, I think…I just can’t get that picture out of my head.

    Heather

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