Wednesday, May 3, 2006


(edited, rewritten, and reposted)

Standing at the Seashore
feeling the empty

My head is concrete with the knowledge:
my son is gone -
a long six feet out of reach.

But inside my chest,
it's like standing in the ocean.
When I'm still,
the waves steal the sand
and force me to shuffle,
regain my balance,
remind myself,
lose him all over again.

when I have sunk into disremembrance,
he's still here, and my breath catches
somewhere around my belly button
and waits to meet my heart
as it falls backwards into realization.

He is in everything,
everything but his crib and my arms,
and they ache
with the acceptance of
beauty and emptiness.

I close my eyes, and count
the rises of his chest, forgetting
he's gone, remembering
the warmth that reality stole.

All that's left is
the empty.



  1. You know me, you know my intent. So whenever you're ready, and it seems you are doing just that very thing, I have some suggestions on polishing this. Let me know. Until then, I'm always here.

    Unless I pretending to be smart in front of people somewhere else. But then I'll be right back here.

    always, James

  2. James~
    When the hell did you start needing my permission to make suggestions. You know how I feel about my poetry, and about a good round of constructive criticism - have at it. I'm all ears.

  3. God E, this is so damn hard to give a crit to. I mean, there's just so much ache in it.

    If it were mine, I think I'd consider changing the line "and force me to shuffle." Shuffle just sounds so passive. I understand exactly what you're saying, but isn't it more like careening off a very high cliff? I dunno- I see shuffling as more of a lazy, not picking up your feet sort of dragging walk.

    Also not big on the "somewhere around my belly button." Belly button is so, well, cute. Breath seems to catch in your gut, maybe even in your womb, or anchors itself in your navel...
    and does your heart fall, or does it plunge?

    Just one non-writer's thoughts. Who am I to judge? Overall, this is such a solid and painful to read piece of poetry.

  4. Beautifully written, Erin.

  5. Alright. I am writer. No doubt. And I do not judge, but offer a helping hand. First things first, omit "the" from the first line. It sounds so much more poetic without it. I hadn’t thought about the shuffling thing. But now that it’s been pointed out, I agree somewhat. But a simple solution would be just to omit the word, and end that line with “to.” That’s all I have. It looks great . . . and will always hold its own place in my heart.