Tag Archives: dying

Empty Cup

Empty Cup

You would think there would be some remnant left,
but death was simple.
You were there and then you weren’t.
After one deep ragged breath
you were so gone that even your body
seemed to miss you.  That stillness
so irrevocable. So not right.

Our friends all came
to see the place where you had been,
bringing offerings
to fill the void.
It was a full-packed house–
your sons, their wives, your daughter–
eight of us filling out every hollow corner.

I slept in the bed meant for two,
trying to convince myself I was enough–
trying to fill in the space you left.
That empty cup.

The Prompt:  Cut Off–When was the last time you felt completely, truly lonely?

Poem written after the Celebration of Life for Nina and Eduardo

 The ceremony for Eduardo and Nina was full of the loving thoughts of friends, details about their lives given from many perspectives, a few tears but even more laughter from remembering the good times.  It was only on the road home that the contrasts in the peaceful happy setting I saw around me and the events of a week before hit me.  The first lines of this poem ran over and over again through my thoughts and I had to pull over by the side of the road and write this poem.  Part of me wonders if it is exploitative to write about this sad event, but I’ve found that many of my writer friends who were friends of Nina and Eduardo have been driven to do the same.  It is as though I no longer know how to think about things unless I do so through my writing or my art.  Somehow, the only way to process a hard truth of life is to make use of it creatively and to try to create a message that makes sense even though the deed never will.

After the Ceremony: Driving Home

The streets are filled

With ice cream and cerveza

and the wildly patterned legs

of senoritas.

It is a day

of sunlight and red flowers

and fuschia flowers and blue.

A slight wind

 strums the swaying branches

of the palms,

but no other sounds

compete with the passing hum

of oncoming traffic streaming

 from the city to our shores,

 seeking safety, quiet,

the gentle lap of water against willow,

hypnotic bobbing of the pelicans

between the undulating liria––

a lazy day away

from the cares of urban life.

I pull to the side of the road to watch

 these visitors to our world.

 Have they not heard or

have they just forgotten

the breaking glass,

the knife, the club,

the red screams

slicing the midnight air?

The ones who were the screamers

 are very quiet now––

part of the calmness

of this afternoon.

Their darkness

is dispersed by sunlight.

Yet all of their fear and pain––

the terror of their leaving––

now gone from them,

is kept like a souvenir

within the hearts of friends

whose turn it is to remember

for a while what we, too,

had forgotten.

Our happy world

lies like a blanket

over a bed made messy

by pain and loss.

It is the world’s bed,

and deny it as we will,

we all have lain in it

and will again.

                                                                              –Judy Dykstra-Brown      February 24, 2014