• The Unlit Heart

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    “People who have recently lost someone have a certain look, recognizable maybe only to those who had seen that look on their own faces. I have noticed it on my face and I notice it on others. The look is one of extreme vulnerability, nakedness, openness . . . Those people who have lost someone look naked because they think themselves invisible.”—Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

    how are losses measured on a face?

    the last time i was a friend of Sadness
    it slapped my face with such force
    the welts it left seem imprinted for life,
    the pain that passed a reminder that
    life follows loss after loss after
    still another loss

    the scarred, the widowed, the benumbed
    heart wears layers of protective gauze,
    the sort i’ve seen in pictures of women
    with lotus feet.

    the wounds inside oft rise,
    making their selves visible
    on the thinning hair of white,
    on the grooves of the forehead,
    in the unsparkled eyes,
    on the downturned lips,
    in that auto-generated
    response of “i’m okay”
    to every “but how ARE you, dear?”

    the lie of surface wellness becomes
    necessary for we who must in
    our day to day survive life’s jokes/
    riddles/curve balls/ironies

    the sun
    won’t touch
    the coldness
    the soul
    decides to keep
    after years
    of love

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