Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Beyond My Poetry Year (or, Spoiler Alert: I Keep Writing)

In which Your Humble Blogger demonstrates in verse the somberness that she's felt for the past few days:

"A Head Full of Stars"

As she collapsed on the floor, she imagined
Sunlight following the bullet through the wound
Along a surgical line of shadow until
It found the thoughts at the center
Of her daughter's gray matter.
Sunlight scattered like bone chips,
Sunlight refracted onto the skull's tiny dome
So that a thousand stars appeared to shine inside.
A thousand possible lives, as empty as wounds.
She screamed her daughter's name to the heavens,
And the heavens, trembling in her hands,
Were close enough to hear.

* * *

This isn't part of the writings from what I've been calling "my poetry year." This was written a couple of days ago. I've otherwise been on a quest for fiction for the past few weeks (long story for a much later post), so this isn't polished, nor has it really seen a good rewrite. But it just seemed like the right thing to share.

It's easy to lament the loss when the person slain is a child; the void that takes the place of possibility and hope, for both the murderer and the murdered, is acutely felt. But I do believe that the killing of anyone necessarily extinguishes a chance, even the slightest, smallest, sliver of a chance, for good to be done, if not by the slain, then by the killer or for someone else even remotely touched by his or her existence. I say this as someone whose thoughts would probably turn ugly if someone she loved were harmed. The idea of vengeance or retribution, however, doesn't make me happy. If anything, it makes me grieve a little more for what we lose by it in the land of the living.

(In case you need a chaser for this post -- I'll admit that I kind of wanted one after writing it -- click here.)


  1. That went down much more easily with the chaser, thank you! Powerful stuff! The only disconnect I felt was between lines 5 and 6; somehow the imagery of the bones shattering didn't quite come across? Just me, perhaps. Othwerwise, really very good.

  2. Ah, I can see that. I think I might have been focusing too much on the idea of the sunlight, which meant that the shattering bones themselves ended up being an idea that got utilized poorly. Or something like that. Perhaps if I watch more baby anteaters, a better way to do it will become clear!

    Thank you, Raf. As always, your feedback means a lot. :)