i write this letter with sticks and mud

dear h,

the geese are sinking.
there are no feathers left.
nothing is permanent
so it’s okay for me to write
this to you, here,
on my knees in the damp earth,
while the swans cry and
turn their heart-shaped necks
into question marks.

is it cliche to wish
someone had carved you wings.
or gills. or a vest made of life?
the water closes over us all,
but that’s not what we fear.
it’s the slow sink, the permanent
going down.

i won’t pray for you. i’ll wait
at the edge of this place you chose
and i’ll write you a letter
and drink of the water
and hold up the birds
and remind the fish
that they too are part of you.

and if something greater waits
just below the blue
i hope you have found it,
that it floats softly
in the feathers of your hair
and writes love letters to the
pull of the moon.




Four years ago today, my sister-in-law committed suicide in the pond at Laurelhurst Park, in Portland, OR. She is often on my mind.


This entry was published on February 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm and is filed under February, Poems, Seattle, Self-Portraits. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “[40]

  1. This post really touched me thank you.
    I have a friend who, for the past few months has been on the brink of suicide and she is in my thoughts everyday. And everyday because I am a person rooted in Earth, and because we took walks almost daily for half a year, I think of wings and river and sky.

  2. ancient lensman on said:

    Stunning pathos, Shanna.

  3. Thank you both. I rarely write poems based on real-life events, and I find them incredibly difficult. I always feel like I’m not doing justice to the people and experience.

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