Grief: Climbing Skyfall (#5 Na/GloPoWriMo–Villanelle)


The laboring was hell–

Meandering byways, animal highways,

I made my way to heaven:


June green nosed with sentinel pines warming to vanilla. Having scaled

with my grief-stricken heart, nothing soothed me. Looking to sage mountains?

The laboring was hell.


Then sky. Just air. I was clouds—my belly swollen with rain,

winds wisped my edges. My anguish drifted, dirigible inert, explosive.

I made my way to heaven,


having worked, bleeding under lash tongue. I rested: brilliant

sunset. I rested: pillowed on a cloud. Cliff, climb,

The laboring was hell—


a slog, switchback after switchback, becoming aloft. Let aeroplanes circle

moaning overhead, trekking from darkness beyond.

I made my way to heaven,


the heart clung tight—bruising, purpling under the thrashing pain.

I am climbing again, not stagnant. I gnash—ripping the aortic creature free

—the laboring was hell,

I made my way—skyfall—to heaven?


*”Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead” comes from W.H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues”


Sister (heartbreak) (#4 Na/GloPoWriMo)


I don’t know when my sister will die.
I know her diagnosis and statistics.
I fly, she works, and we go to chemo.
The usual: Taxol plus two. It takes forever,
if only it could take forever.
I get take out and she naps.
That high school friend pops in, how random is that?
And massages lotion on her feet.
My sister lives every single day,
As if it were her last.
We make plans for this summer, but
Not for next year—it seems as if it will stop,
time I mean. As if we all will stop when she does.
I don’t know when my sister will die.

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