Friday, April 10, 2015

How You Mourn Your Own Life (a Poem for Day Ten of PAD)

My poem for day ten is below. 

Here is the prompt from Poetic Asides:

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “How (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “How to Write a Poem,” “How Mechanical Pencils Work,” and “Howling at the Moon After Midnight in the Middle of a Thunderstorm.”

Photo by Robert Aichinger
You Live in Sepia

How You Mourn Your Own Life
She’s dead
to you,
but still breathing.
You never thought
it would be so
when you were young
and she satisfied
your winter cravings.
You never thought
luxury could live inside
a lonely room, playing
colored markers
like piano keys.
You never thought
you’d cover five hundred
categories of things you loved
about her with a self-
addressed stamped envelope.
You never thought
your lilacs would all turn
to paper, folded and torn
under twenty-something years
of hibernation.
But it’s not her
you mourn
it’s the life
you lost
because she died
in your mind.
It’s the untasted kisses,
the warm curve against
your back now replaced
by a cold sheet, surveillance
on every corner,
searching for the one
to replace her
now that you can’t feel
the sand inside
your bloodless fingers, piece
by piece falling
like an egg timer,
like your life,
your breaths,
the one you forgot
because you were too busy
doing mouth-to-mouth
with something
you could never get back.
You lost yourself
in death.
You lost your life.
And the only things left to mourn
are the wasted parts, less a glass,
more a house. The one she keeps now
with someone else while you keep mourning,
keep lacking sleep. Keep on
unfolding paper lilacs
wishing to turn them back
into the real thing.
She’s dead
to you,
but still breathing.


  1. Linda, this poem is a winner -- deep, beautifully crafted, touching. Truly excellent!

    1. Thank you, Nurit. Your comment means a lot to me. xo

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I only removed it because it was a duplicate comment! I didn't realized Blogger would leave a note behind.

  3. This is SO powerful!! There're so many layers here and I love the imagery especially the lilacs...stunning, Linda!