The Poetry Project

Two Poems

E V Starkey

Letting Go

Between watching her go with eyes glazed and labored breath, and that awful panic when the nurses rush in to declare death, there is yes, one last breath if you can see it, but also something else, a softening before a hardening, an escape of air, or spirit, or hope. Was it a wisp of becoming undone at last, now dead and past, a slip over to the left? Wait, is she still here? You say no but I am not sure. She is still warm you know. This is not life, nor death, not yet, but a pinch in the folds, there, where you cannot feel it, between her birth and whole life reduced to a dead stop. This is fragile, fleeting, so subtle my sister missed it even though she stared at her flickering eyes the whole night long. This fragile puff of pause, is that a final letting go? I don’t know. I can’t even hold on to what happened let alone discern the mechanics of meaning. I wish she could’ve told me about it. Her life so hard her death so soft. I wish she had told me everything. She slipped away like a gentle Norfolk beach tide. I am left floating never knowing.

Secret Text

Unfurl the evening hour
Twist and loop again
What waits to be undone.

Slide out of view and stay
Stone still, weathered,
Nestled to the underside.

Dashes, slashes, sideways
Frighteningly fast, it
Slips past, retreats, repeats.

Fragments are left out to dry,
Shadow of preforms.

Shh, it was here. You saw
More sound than shape?
What waited is now gone.

Source poem: ”Adder“ by Robert Macfarlane

Work from Smooth Ghosts with Jared Stanley