Jay Young Gerard and Lisa Nielsen

comingandgoing

Jay Young Gerard
“Coming and Going”

Response

Tempering the Loss
By Lisa Nielsen

Inspiration piece

I look in that same spot I last saw you:
a rickety chair
on a rickety porch, your rickety bones
curling around a face that said “I’ve had enough”

I circle the yard, every
shadow lighting up hope.
Maybe you will make one last appearance
You know, just to give me closure?

I angled my heart to your withering
Following your decay from station to station like a humble servant
offering water and sympathy, while you struggled to maintain your dignity

I called you the rebound
believing that would forever shield me
But rebounds, are not cloaks of protection,
but waves that knock you down as you look out at the world,
dragging you across the ocean floor, so
rocks and the bones of debris can pockmark your skin and salt your wounds

Each loss generates a procession of every loss, and
I am a silhouette in the parade of ghosts making their way through my brain
bowing towards those I miss,
shrugging at those I don’t

and that’s where it’s at,
the long answer to how are you

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