The dead woman didn’t know she was dead.
Didn’t know she’d stopped breathing, there at the border
where cold sea meets fire.
The dead woman couldn’t quite remember
when it had happened.
When her dreams had become no more than steam
rising and drifting off into nowhere.
The dead woman remembers trying to be what was expected.
To meet the needs of those around her.
The dead woman remembers how exhausted she often felt
at the end of the day, when she knew it would all begin again
The dead woman remembers how hard she tried to be whatever
was demanded. And how small she felt when she missed the cues
that weren’t clearly offered, or not offered at all, but still expected.
The dead woman remembers the day she curled herself on the couch,
exhausted. Turned her back to that room behind her and felt the black
cloud of depression descend to surround and enfold her.
More about the dead woman at the border.
The dead woman remembers leaping from that curled up position.
Leaping away from that black cloud come to hover, to forever smother
whatever color of life might still be breathing within her.
The dead woman remembers breathing deeply in and out. She remembers
how it felt to set aside time to explore whatever might capture her fancy.
She remembers how it felt to simply be a seeker, looking for that one thing
that would bring about her very own sense of satisfaction.
And how that satisfaction let her know that she wasn’t dead yet.
Could stand up, breathe deeply, in and out. Could finally fully appreciate
standing firm at the border where cold sea meets fire and how the steam
of dreams can bring life back to almost dead things.
Elizabeth Crawford 5/7/2020
Notes: Image is from the Soul Cards, created by Deborah Koff-Chapin.
Her site may be found here: https://touchdrawing.com/
I know this piece is a departure from what I have been doing here, of late. I went looking for something in my files and tripped over this old form I had tried almost ten years ago and really liked. It is based in Marvin Bell’s “Dead Man” series of poetry. Not sure I even came close to doing the form justice, but really enjoyed trying it on again.