not a poem

I am not a poet. When I was young and when I was younger than I am now, I did not even have the patience to read poetry. Too few word, too many thoughts left in breaths, too many questions in spare phrases, too much for me to unwrap. I wanted prose that left no nuance unexamined and unexplained in long wordy paragraphs. I thought I would read poetry when I was old.

And so, now I must be old. I have favorite poets. I even know a few. I cannot do what they do, but I admire their work the way I admire what painters and sculptors do. I think I understand their craft, to some small extent, because every so often, words come out of me when I sit to write, that edge closer to what poets do than what I usually scribble down.

And that happened this morning.

Sometimes I have to hold my sorrow at bay.
I take it gently from deep inside
cradling it in my hand and feeling its weight,
recalling its size and color,
its sharp pointy parts
and those parts that fold in on themselves with gyri and sulci.

And then I hold it out, arm’s length away from me
It is just sorrow.
It hurts and it will not kill me.
It hurts and I cannot change it.
It hurts and I cannot walk away from it.
It is just sorrow.  It belongs to me and is not all of me.

And so, I agree, with whom I do not know, to bring it deep inside again
And it distributes itself—
a big bit in the heart, slightly smaller bit in the soul,
probably something in the stomach
and the rest weighing down my gut.

It is just sorrow.
It hurts and I cry.
It hurts and it will change with time.
It hurts and I lean in to better understand it.
It is just sorrow.  It belongs to me.

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