I don’t know why

I have been trying to write this poem for at least a year. Last week, after the loss of a particularly beautiful soul, it began to tap on the inside of my skull with urgency. It’s all I have for you right now. I’ll be back with more soon. Stay safe. May you have both the strength to embrace your grief and the dexterity to put it down and walk away sometimes. May your body survive your mind, again and again.

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I don’t know why you shouldn’t kill yourself.

Tomorrow is the most terrifying day
of the week and even sleep, if it comes, leads you
unwilling, to stand in the ring on the packed red dirt
tired as you are of bowing and raising your heavy head
of putting on the show of stomping, of charging.

It will get better,
but the worst in your past vows to rise
in thick columns of smoke
again and again
stinging your eyes and enveloping days.

Ahead lies paperwork, and consequence,
and more nights of gravity without ground
I can’t promise you anything, can’t live for you, can’t quiet memory
or stem the flow of hot panic.

I can’t tell you how many pills or poems until
the heat of this fever has passed
and you regain your taste for
the metallic sweetness of frosting dissolving on your tongue
the insides of eyelids turned amber by sunlight
the pleasure of noodles spooled around a fork
while outside rain falls
the way your daughter’s laughter and tears burst forth
with equal sudden commitment

But maybe if you can train your grief to lay down by itself
after you gently rock it to sleep,
you can tiptoe away for just a moment
and then a moment more, to discover the lightness
that still exists in your outstretched arms
maybe you can begin to imagine another way

and find a reason not to do it today.

2 thoughts on “I don’t know why

  1. nate

    Seema,

    I was one of your Soldiers; this past year. If you recall me at all it would be from the improv sessions.

    I love this poem. I have something I wrote that I would like to do something with… It is not well crafted or particularly original but it goes some small way towards capturing an insight, a position I have fought and fought to establish and continue to fortify… I think I may spend the rest of my life in it so it serves me to make it strong.

    Anyway, my bit of writing. I want to email it to you; I don’t have your address. The idea of it reaching you and you reading it makes the writing of it feel good all over again, ex post facto as it were. If you want it, you can have it; use all or part or nothing but an idea or print it out as an example of what not to do. I can’t think of a better way to get it reviewed and have the worthy bits – if any – make their way into the proverbial marketplace of ideas. And I like you, I think you are funny and it makes me happy to do things for people I like.

    Also, maybe it could help someone. That’s a nice thought.

    Can I send it to you?

    • seemareza

      Nate–Of course I remember you, and am so glad to hear from you. There is a contact form under “about”, you can send me a message there so I have your email and I’ll email you right back. If that doesn’t work, please reply here and we will figure another way. Can’t wait to read your work!

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