Lost Password

I’ve lost the password to what used to be my life.
The air is strange and I’m losing my sense of balance.
I search through remnants in the home I sold,
wondering what to keep, or sell, or trash.

I listen to the chatter of family discord:
recent losses, expected deaths, while mangled hopes
fall like tears, splashing on me,
where I sit, creating a new password.

Anger & Grief

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Anger

What is anger?
The conflicting stories
and silences?
The moments blocked?

What is anger?
The empty spaces
where I turn away,
wanting?

What is anger?
Is it this anticipation of loss:
the burnt-out remnants
of old miseries?

***

Grief

What is grief? Stumbling by haunted spaces
and turning away from your empty chair?
What is grief? The evening silences scratching
the scabs of your amputation from me?

Sackcloth and ashes pool behind my empty eyes
imprinting memories where your smile fades
Where is the  garden you have abandoned?
What song is playing as you pull away?

Bleakly I walk and walk on muddied paths.
My stories now lost; their endings destroyed.
All sunsets are grey; all voices not yours.
There’s nothing I want and nowhere to be.

Then comes my scalding tears in their scarring tracks:
a slow stinging that solaces me in this deadened time.

A Poem

Occasionally I write a poem I’m proud of – here’s an old one:

Approaching Sixty, I See That…

Courage at eighty is different from at twenty
But both ages carry their future constantly –
A fearsome thrust into an unmapped wilderness.

A fearsome thrust carrying life forward blindly
At eighty requires enough love to endure
Despite loss, and endure because of loss to come,
And endure because of the sweetness still here, if
Courage persists. And, despite (because?) the compass pointing
Through the wilderness to the edge of the map,
Tells a tale seen over and over about endings, despite this,
To work through today knowing
too much, and not enough, about tomorrow.

To carry your future at twenty is to seek
The wilderness because it must be mapped
And shaped. There are roads to clear and homes
To build, and no one has given you a plan
For your wilderness, (just the one they didn’t use in theirs).
So you thrust forward, knowing too little and enough,
Building blindly wherever you find a clearing, lifting
The log of your childhood so it bridges your fears,
Confident that it might not collapse on you.

Courage at eighty is different from at twenty
But both ages carry their future constantly –
A fearsome thrust into an unmapped wilderness.

Joan Vinall-Cox, October 25, 2002