Note: I am interested in the ways we lose people—not just directly in the way that death takes them from us, but also slowly, through long illnesses or through life changes. This poem is an attempt to sort that out.
Gone, leaving only a swift river speckled with used things:
leftover tools, a physics text, a map of the world.
People who live in books live better,
never sick or dying, unless
And then, no one has to watch the slow fade.
For you, whose stroke has stolen your ability
to pilot by the stars,
to chainsaw a woodpile
to drive to the library—
the world has shrunk
to the weather, what’s for dinner,
to memories grasped
like the string of a kite
tugged by the wind.
© 2018 Laurel Peterson
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