Phantom Limb – Notes

Background Notes — Phantom Limb

As brief as this poem is, it needed to be even briefer, down to dead silence.

Maggie and I took the lead on it, but all of us worked it to where we were prepared to post it. We would have welcomed many more collaborators on it, yet still it would have come down to one choking cough.

We are about to lose the life of one the members of our group. We will never lose her voice and we will never lose her dream and we know we will always have her love and the light in her eyes. But absent an outright miracle, we now know we are all but certain to lose her life before this time next year.

Treatment? We won’t go into all the details of her private life, but she doesn’t mind it being evident that while the life she is losing does not put the life she is carrying at any risk beyond the next few months of sharing, she would threaten that new life if she tries to cling to her own.

I know from my own experience that her courage is not false when we hear her speaking of her horizon with such glowing terms. To her it will be like losing chains that have felt unbreakable, and she will fly far and high and will sing openly and without end.

To us, until we join her, it will be like waking in the middle of the night to know with complete certainty the word that fits precisely in the best poem we will ever be given the chance to write, then waking in the morning to find we hadn’t written the word down and can’t remember it, and we can feel it out there, but it’s gone.

To us, it will be like losing a leg, then still feeling it cramp.

Sara, we love you.

— alias, for maggie and your other friends

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5 thoughts on “Phantom Limb – Notes

  1. sarachnid December 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm Reply

    Thank you, Adrien. Thank you, Cynthia and Denise. Thank you, my truest and best friend, Maggie. Thank you, my brother, Dean. Thank you most of all, my love, David.

    I have been left with only my words. Only my words have connected me with myself, and only you have helped me know them.

    Now even those words are not enough. I can’t hold on to them anymore, and I must leave them to you to keep for me.

    I do know things from my words that you have tried to keep from me. Like how even when I have treated you like shit, you have tried to grow a flower. I appreciate it, and I wish I could have bloomed for you.

    I must use what I have left for the child I still hope to give you. Take my notebooks and all my other words and use them for me. Please don’t let my words ever speak evil of another. And remember them for me to my child when he will know what they meant.

    All my love, Sara

    • davidelicet December 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm Reply

      I second Sara’s thanks. You have meant more to her these days than you can ever imagine.

      We drive north out of New York City this afternoon. Sara wants us to drive straight into this blizzard they say is coming. So we may do a full day north before we turn east into it. Then as far west as I feel she can do before we turn back south and come in home from the west. We’ll stay in toch here and by phone.

  2. poetalias December 15, 2012 at 3:18 am Reply

    Even the most senseless death will always be meaningful.

    This evening we turn from the pain we feel over the loss we will soon share so closely here, tonight to give our tears to the families who today in Connecticut lost little children, teachers, and other caregivers and carriers of our future.

    • maggie December 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm Reply

      Bottomless grief beyond any word!!

      Like early thunder of the storm our own hearts will weather this year. But unique in its cut, bleeding tears.

      Adrien, a special hug for your daughter and her students and colleagues. May their pain be comforted and their fears be eased.

      • poetalias December 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm

        Appreciated, Maggie, much so.

        Sadly, there have been many days just this year alone when even more children under the age of 10 have been massacred by the Assad regime. We remember this not to devalue last Friday’s tragedy nor to desensitize our hearts. Far the contrary. We continue to work actively to heal broken lives and reach out to those in need and fight intolerance and brutal evil, in all its forms and in every land, not only our own.

        A special hug back for your own daughter. And for Allie next time you see her. Protection, peace and joy for them and their wee friends.

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